I have been involved in web design in one way or another since at least 1998. I have had a number of sites of my own since then, and I’ve developed a number of them for other people and organisations. If you’re interested in having me build a site for you, feel free to get in touch. Some of the sites I’ve made, both for myself and others, include:
Nightjars of the Forest of Dean
A site I created primarily as a place to show a lot of media that gets generated by our Nightjar project here in the Forest of Dean.
Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society
A charity website. The site hosts scientific publications, annual reports, news, project summaries, event information etc for GNS – the biological recording organisation for Gloucestershire.
Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group
A charity website. The site provides the charity’s primary web-presence, and includes news, an archive of documents, facilities for the public to submit their sightings, advice and more.
Wild In Britain
Wild In Britain was a kind of journal of my wildlife encounters across the UK. It was essentially just a blog but it did pull in various other data sources too. I was always quite pleased with its aesthetic, but eventually decided to close the site down as it felt too much like repetition of what I was already posting on Flickr and Twitter.
Ben Locke Wildlife Photography (old version)
This was basically the precursor to the site you’re now looking at. It first went online in around 2009, and started as a few static HTML pages. As time went on and the site got bigger, and naturally less manageable, I started coding some of the pages in ASP, which would retrieve data from an Access database to dynamically generate HTML. It was still pretty basic though. Over the years I occasionally added new functionality until it had a really quite complex gallery system. Eventually I switched from MS Access to MySQL for the backend database. Functionally, it was pretty good, but it was fairly poorly designed visually. It was fixed-width, and even on desktop it didn’t always make comfortable reading. It wasn’t responsive to mobile devices. The gallery operated independently of the shop. There were a multitude of reasons why, when I decided it was time to make good all those shortcomings, I decided to re-write the site from scratch.
Ben Locke Wildlife Photography v2 (this site!)
This is the site you’re now looking at! Whereas the previous version of my site had been a 10-year evolution, with all the workarounds, patches, etc that entails, this was a complete remake, starting almost from scratch. The site now exists in a WordPress framework but with lots of bespoke extras. All previous ASP code was re-written in PHP, so the site now runs on a Linux server instead of IIS. Every page is fully responsive to mobiles regardless of what kind of device is used to view it. SSL is used across the entire domain. Galleries have been redesigned to give faster-loading, larger thumbnails, with greater control over filtering by country or order of species.
A charity website that raises awareness of birds of prey across the world. The charity already had a basic website when they contacted me to ask for a makeover, along with new functionality. The brief was to produce something that could appeal to both children and adults, both from a design perspective and from a content perspective. New functionality includes a kids activity area, a full-featured shop for buying nest boxes and giving donations, including support for Gift Aid, an interactive map to show areas where Raptor Aid has worked, a calendar that pulls data from a third party system, and more.
Symonds Yat Rock Cafe
The brief for this website was to provide a web-presence for Symonds Yat Rock Cafe on a budget. The owner wanted full control over the site’s content, including news posts, menu content and prices, galleries, slideshows, etc. Aesthetically the site had to conform to design standards issued by the Forestry Commission.
Other sites that I have built include:
Mike King’s ‘The Gloster Birder’ – https://www.theglosterbirder.co.uk