Once upon a time I was a pretty fair web designer. I learned HTML when it was just code and not a WYSIWYG program like Dreamweaver and would routinely work in code rather than text to fix problems. I retrofitted sites for CSS and converted both personal and work-related sites to updated designs.
That was then. Now … well. My skills have atrophied from disuse and from not keeping up with scripting for PERL and Java, among others. I can do some basic things but at this point, the web has kept moving while I did other stuff.
This was brought home today at a demo of a new internal portal page for the law school that debuts tomorrow. I know enough to identify a content management system design but couldn’t begin to figure out how to design or set one up. The new stuff is very cool and much more flexible and customizable, and I’ll be able to use it just fine. There’s some sadness in realizing something I thought was a useful skill set is less useful than it was.
Of course, not everyone needs to be a web designer and I have skills and experience in other things. It just feels a little, I don’t know, as though I crossed some kind of threshold of senior-ness that I’m letting go of something I used to do often and well. I can still play in the shallow end of the design pool but getting caught up enough to swim in the deep end would take more work for smaller results than are worth the effort. I like making pages and playing with it all but not enough to apply myself to get caught up on the things that have kept going while I stood still. (Sorry for all the mixed metaphors!)
I enjoy blogging more than playing with web code. It gives me a chance to focus on content, on words and expression, rather than design which was never my strong point anyway. Time marches on.