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Joe Dolson (joedolson)


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Posted 08 March 2007 - 07:32 PM

Who is Joe Dolson?

I'm a developer of web sites with a focus on accessibility and usability. But that doesn't really answer the whole question, does it?

I'm a relative newcomer to web development and the world of computers in general, having never owned a computer or done any significant work with them prior to 2001, my first year out of college. I'm an even newer-comer to web development, having started my freelance business in late 2004 having never done anything more than a little part-time website maintenance at small liberal arts colleges previously.

But that's not entirely a disadvantage. The practical beginnings of my web design habits began with a focus on web standards, CSS-based tableless design, and web accessibility. I was motivated to learn best practices from the beginning --- and although I've certainly managed to stumble occasionally along the way, I've yet to find myself needing to relearn anything from the ground up.

Not having the extensive computer background can sometimes be a disadvantage, of course. I don't have the years of practical experience with a variety of programming languages that many computer geeks do. I have minimal command line experience; I don't use Linux on any kind of a regular basis; I've never written in any interpreted language. My experience is very focused: I develop for the web. If it's not directly expressed online, I've probably never done it.

I'm essentially self-taught, if one can claim to be self-taught because they learned from studying what authority figures had written in sites like A List Apart and other standards-based design havens.

My interest in accessibility, which I write about extensively at my accessible web design blog, comes from a desire to be involved in a career which makes the world a better place. I know, sounds like a high-falutin' goal --- but that's the way it is. When I established my business, I made the choice to pursue accessible web design because, to me, it made the career socially meaningful. I do it because it's the right thing to do. All other business justifications aside, that's the end goal for me.

So you're a standards geek. Big deal!

Web design is certainly not the only thing I do. As you may guess from what I wrote above, the fact that I didn't ever own a computer prior to graduating from college suggests that I didn't exactly major in computer science. In fact, I have a bachelor of arts in music, focusing on violin performance and composition. Although my music composition habits have been lackluster lately, I do still perform regularly as the concertmaster of a Twin Cities community orchestra, the Minnesota Philharmonic. I also take the occasional freelance job as a performer, when the mood suits me.

Any questions? PM me. Go ahead. I don't bite. (At least, not via PM.)

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:55 PM

Thought I'd write an update here!

So. It's been almost 6 years since I wrote the above notes. Most of it is still true; although I'm not sure I can really consider myself a newcomer to web development anymore!

I'm still the concertmaster of the Minnesota Philharmonic, and I'm still composing (albeit very slowly). In the web development arena, I still do accessibillity and usability focused development, and also am focused on improving accessibility within the WordPress ecosystem -- through themes, plug-ins, and core contributions. I'm the author of WordPress plug-ins with over a million downloads, so I spend a fair chunk of my time supporting those, as well...



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