Welcome to my new website at Randy George Music dot com! It has been a long time since I have had an open home on the internet. For a couple of years it remained a static page with only a few links. Here’s the full story.
Well, this version is actually the site’s fourth iteration. I originally launched randygeorgemusic [dot] com in September of 2008. Since then I attempted two redesigns, and both of these never saw more than 50 percent completion. I was not willing to pay someone for the task. High quality web design costs a small fortune. After having done my fair share of web design I know exactly why it can be so expensive. So much can go wrong in a modern design. This is why many websites come in pre-packaged themes integrated into content management system frameworks. Many web developers are in the business of creating themes so that less experienced designers can build website’s quickly. The trade off is that it takes a lot of work to customize a website to exacting preferences.
My goal was always to do something different so that the website visit would not only be informative, but memorable as well. There is so much on the internet that lacks personality. I think the main reason is that the primary web programming languages were built with box-like styling in mind. The really creative stuff in web design required a web developer to know how to manipulate screen elements in the browser to make them interactive or animated. It would otherwise just be a cold block of text or square image… flash back to the 90’s when browser based internet was born.
The challenges in rebuilding my site the last two times was compounded with a bevy of distraction from a lot of things going on in my life including travel and work. The main challenge, I suppose, was that I wanted to build everything myself. If I were to hire someone else, I would not be able to put my personal stamp on the design. Fast forward to today, I have finished finally, and not only have I imbued personality into the site, but I know it inside and out in case I want to update some core functionality down the road.
My main goal was to make the user experience simple, while at the same time creating a layout that inspired visitors to explore the site. I have three areas of work where I divide my time now: theremin playing, teaching, and software development. As these three branches get populated with a ton of leaves soon, I didn’t want the user experience to change. In my opinion, it’s a good design when visitors can find exactly what they are looking for, but also find themselves unexpectedly stumbling upon something pleasant along the way.
The design that I settled on was built using a WordPress theme from a professional designer. It was however very broken, somewhat limited and needed some tender loving care if it was going to work out for me. If anyone is interested in seeing the starting point, google: wordpress theme Travel by UIUEUX Studio.
One of the things I brought back from my original site was the guestbook. If you are arriving to my website for the first time (and if you feel like it) please sign! I decided to import all the guestbook entries from 2008 to 2010. If any of you have signed it previously your signature will still be there, but you may sign again if you like.
I would like to take a moment to send out a huge thank you to one particular group of people. About two years ago, I had a fund raiser to help me pay my web hosting fees to keep my website running. That was a time when I was down on luck, work was slow, and I really needed help. Only because of the generosity of these friends (you know who you are) could this new version of the website be made possible. THANK YOU!
The website will evolve from this point forward. I’m not going to totally redesign it for a few years. This is officially the first update on this site. Thanks for reading!