About Me

I love web design! Hours feel like minutes when I'm in the zone working on a site. My other obsessions include real estate design, restoration and investment, nature, sustainability, reading, my two dogs, Jenny and Olivia and aquaria.

About This Site

Site Stats

  • Created: August 2007
  • Designer/Developer: Holly Fortenberry
  • Development Environment: MacBookPro OS X/Apache/MySQL/PHP (MAMP)
  • Editor: TextMate 1.5.6
  • CSS Editor: MacRabbit CSSEdit 2.6
  • Browsers Tested: Opera 9.23, Firefox - 3.5.5, Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8, Shiira 1.2.2, Camino 1.0.3, Sunrise 0.86, Safari 2.0.4

Site Performance

The first step in using the web to spread knowledge is to improve the chances that it will be available to the most people possible. Thanks to organizations and projects like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, AMDs 50X15 program, One Laptop Per Child, and others, more and more people all over the world are gaining access to the World Wide Web.

In addition to having the internet infrastructure and computers available, web content must be designed and written using methods such as accessibility, usability, web standards and advanced information technology. In that vein, I have implemented the following site enhancements.


Accessibility is the ability of children and adults with disabilities to find and use information technology, thereby gaining independence. Increasing the availability and accessibility of barrier-free information technology solutions is the mission of the award-winning organization, Knowbility, Inc.. Accessibility also refers to increasing the ability of devices such as PDAs and mobile phones to access the web. As a rule, designing a website for accessibility means it will be optimized for efficiency overall and available to the most users. I have used the following accessibility features throughout this site to enhance the experience of all users.

  • "Skip to Main Content" links have been used in all pages to provide easy navigation for text-to-speech browser users.
  • Relative size values have been used where necessary to allow window re-sizing by users.
  • Colors have been chosen to provide high contrast to aid color-blind or other sight-impaired users.
  • Alternative text has been provided on images for text-to-speech browser users.
  • Semantic markup using XHTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) have been used to allow better access by mobile devices, search engine robots and to provide ease of navigation through the site for text-to-speech browser users.
  • Descriptive hyperlinks and link titles have been used to provide meaning for users, especially those using text-to-speech browsers.
  • Links are text too for readability in text-to-speech browsers.


Usability.gov defines usability as "a measure of the quality of a user's experience when interacting with a product or system - whether a web site, software application, mobile technology or any user-operated device." Usability also implies the use of a user-centered design and the measure of "ease of learning, efficiency of use, memorability, error frequency and severity, and subjective satisfaction". When a site is usable, people are more likely to visit again because their experience was satisfying, even pleasurable. I have designed this site using the following guides to make it as user-friendly as possible.

  • Content is self-evident and self-explanatory so users do not have to guess meaning
  • Content on each page contains a clear visual hierarchy.
  • Links are made obvious using underlines or visual cues like button designs.
  • Pages are broken apart into manageable, congruent chunks.
  • Conventions are used, such as consistent heading, navigation and content placement and the logo is linked to the home page.
  • Visual noise and clutter is minimized.
  • Fluff and verbosity are omitted.
  • Navigation is simple and straightforward and a site index is included.
  • Page names match respective page content.

Web Standards

Web standards are the guidelines created and published for web technologies such as (X)HTML, CSS, XSL, javascript and dozens of others by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The mission of the W3C is to "lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the web". The following standards are used on this site.

  • xhtml 1.0 Strict for structure
  • CSS 2.0 for presentation
  • php includes for repeating content
  • JavaScript for behavior

I have strived to make this site accessible, usable and standardized to be available and easy to use by the most people. Please let me know if I have overlooked something.