Who We Are, Part 1: My Original Sin by Jim Matthews

In early 2007 we started working on an already overdue redesign of our website. Today we are launching the results of that effort.

There were many times along the way when I thought to myself, “When this website is finally done I should blog about this.” Indeed, blogging more regularly about what we are doing at Fetch Softworks is a goal of ours, and the redesigned site has this new company blog for just that purpose.

The resulting post turned out to be quite long, so I’ve broken it into seven parts:

My Original Sin

Old Fetch Navigation Bar

We have known for quite a while that our website was due for a major redesign. I am a programmer, not a designer, and I’d hastily put the original site together on a flight to San Francisco to launch Fetch Softworks at Macworld Expo 2001. It was created in a trial copy of Adobe GoLive, with grey template graphics thrown together in Photoshop Elements. The website had grown and been tweaked over the years, but it still bore the mark of my original sins against good graphic design.

Old Fetch Message Board Header

The problems with the old site did not end with its ugliness. Its message board, an obsolete version of UBB, did not look like the rest of the site (actually that might have been a good thing…). The message board had problems with popular browsers (such as, umm, Safari…), and was vulnerable to spam. The HTML throughout the site was a machine-generated, table-based tag soup, without a hint of modern, standard-based XHTML/CSS.

This was all embarassing, especially since the primary audience for Fetch is web designers, the people who would be most attuned to (if not offended by) the shortcomings of our site. It was like trying to sell woodworking tools to discerning craftsmen over a store counter that had been carved with a chainsaw.

And aside from our embarrassment, the site was not serving its visitors. It had a lot of useful information, but it was hard to know what was there, or to find what you were looking for.

Next up, Part 2: In Search of a Web Designer. Please click on your web browser’s RSS icon to subscribe and I’ll be right back!

In other news:


  • Thanks for the suggestion — we’ll see what we can do!

    Jim Matthews August 4, 2009
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