WEBSITES YORK

T: 07913398254

E: martwaring@gmail.com

Web designer York

Freelance Web Designer

I am Martin Waring, a freelance web designer living in York, England.

I started my career in IT in 1979, working on IBM mini computers. My first coding language was CSP (Cross System Product) and I was building systems to manage spare parts for FRY's Chocolate Factory in Keynsham near Bristol.

With the skill set I had learned in CSP, I got a job with Welbeck Financial Services in Bristol in 1985 and remained in the financial services sector for the rest of my IT career until 2012. In fact, I didn't move companies again after that move. The company just changed around me. First, it became part of the Burton Group and then it became part of General Electric, the American company headed up by Jack Welch. Around that time GE was often voted as the number one most respected business and Jack Welch, the most respected business leader.

Working for the most respected company in the world.

Friends and family often wondered how I managed to survive in that sort of highly dynamic and super-charged environment. In fact, I loved it. GE recognised and rewarded innovation. I built a spell checker on a mainframe in the days when spellchecking was something that you had a handheld device for and I was rewarded for it. Quality was the watchword and quality was all about eliminating waste and doing things in a smarter way. Integrity was respected and I developed my style of working with people in those formative days at GE. I developed a reputation for no bullshit so when I turned up at a business meeting I would be greeted by business customers with something like ' Thank god you're here. Now we'll get somewhere with this problem'. I learnt then how to translate from IT language into English, how to say "I don't know" when I didn't know the answer and not to promise something that I couldn't deliver.

I became the IT expert on data migrations. At the time GE was busy buying up portfolios of store credit card accounts and converting them to GE systems. Although it wasn't a full-time job, whenever there was a data migration to be done I headed up the IT team, first of all, to do due diligence on the business selling the portfolio of accounts and then hire a team of analysts and developers to build the one-time software to perform the data migration. These projects usually lasted 9 months and finished with the team camping out in the office over a weekend whilst the software was run, results checked and issues resolved.

I learned the importance of data analysis. Understanding what the data meant was critical for the success of a migration and I was the only Systems Development Manager at my grade in the business who still wrote programs to analyse and understand data files.

In the final three years of my career, we were taken over by Santander and it was obvious from the time of the take over that our days as a Systems Development department in Leeds were numbered. In fact, in the last six months, I literally had nothing to do. Santander didn't want us to build anything new that they would then have to take over. It was during those six months that I began to seriously study the art of SEO, by learning from experts on LinkedIn, what were the key factors involved in ranking a website.

I applied that knowledge to the first few websites I was building and helped several people to get a first page ranking for local businesses without having to do too much work with external link building. I focussed primarily on getting the content right for the audience. I was working for several therapists at the time and a common theme was that their website text was full of jargon. They were trying to show to their colleagues in the therapy world, how skilled and knowledgeable they were which just left most people on the street seeking help feeling completely missed. I encouraged them to talk to their prospective clients rather than other therapists in their writing in a way that a person seeking help could relate to.

My path into web design

I had been building websites since the 90s using Frontpage but it never really gave me what I wanted to see in terms of good design or flexibility. I made the switch from PCs to Macs having got tired of constantly trying to fix my PC operating system and then discovered Rapidweaver. At first, it was a tool that could build responsive sites from themes where there were a few options about fonts and colours but you were basically constrained by what the designer had built in terms of what you could do. It can still be used with themes today but I found that I was constantly buying new themes, because of the limitations of the ones I already had. 

When Foundation, (now Foundation 6) was launched it opened up a huge range of possibilities because I could start with a blank page and build almost anything that I or my client wanted. I could take an existing website design and fairly accurately replicate it or make it even better. Foundation 6 has been a steep learning curve because it gets close to coding in a lot of places so one really does need to start thinking in terms of the code being generated by it sometimes. 

One huge benefit of Foundation 6 is that you only need to add the parameters you need to get the job done and unlike other pieces of code, you are not faced with a huge list of parameters to fill in. This makes the volume of code generated smaller and more efficient which in turn makes the website page load faster.

International support forum

One of the biggest benefits of using Rapidweaver and Foundation 6, in particular, is that there is a global group of web designers who support each other. At most times of the day, I can pose a question on the Weavers Space forum and get support if I have an issue, or a 'how can I do this?' type question. Of course, this is reciprocal so if I see a question pop up that I think I may know the answer to, then I will chip in with my knowledge or experience. 

Accessibility

Foundation 6 also scores big with a key metric for Google which is called 'Accessibility'. Your website has to be accessible to multiple people on multiple devices. in simple terms for most people, this means that they need to be able to read what your website says, on even the smallest device. The text needs to be of a certain size and it needs to be of sufficient contrast that it stands out from the background just as one example. 

For partially sighted people there is even more reason for your website to be as accessible as possible and this generally focuses on making it possible for a screen reader to be better able to understand what the website is about.

Online Auditing

Online auditing is a big part of what I do. I use a tool that can run against a website, find all the pages and then check some key metrics. I use this because, with the best will in the world it is impossible to judge how well designed a website is, as you build it. It may look great but underneath performing dreadfully and not achieving its full potential because of some oversight on my part. I use various tools to check my work, especially with regard to whether the pages are correctly optimised for SEO purposes.

One of the tools I refer to to check on how well my site is designed is called Lighthouse and has been developed by Google so my guess is that if you can score well using Google's own tools then a website is more likely to well in Google searches.

This screenshot shows the Lighthouse scores for this page you are on now taken on 4th August 2022, measured on mobile. The dots captured are actually confetti that you see when you have 4 straight 100 scores.

Martin Waring - Web Designer

Martin Waring

Web Designer York



Email: martwaring@gmail.com
Tel: 07913398254

© Designing websites in York since 2010 - WEBSITES YORK, 6, NORFOLK STREET, YORK, YO23 1JY

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Websites York is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should I ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

Websites York may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from 30th April 2018.

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You may request details of personal information which I hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee will be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held on you please write to Martin Waring, 6 Norfolk Street, York, YO23 1JY.

If you believe that any information I am holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email me as soon as possible, at the above address. I will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect. You may also ask me to delete any emails that you have sent me. I do not store data that you have given me on any other system other than in emails.