A Walk Down Memory Lane: Web Designs Created When I Was Between the Ages 12-16

I got started on my journey as an entrepreneur when my parents bought my first computer as a Christmas gift when I was 12. I grew up in a rural town in the backwoods of South Carolina where very few young, Black girls at the time had access to the internet in their house, let alone a computer. Back when AOL Internet was hot, dial-up was the norm, and just a few years before Facebook was created. My fascination with the internet was my escape from my father who was an alcoholic and my mother who pretended it was normal. I soon created my own little reality through cyberspace by connecting with people from all over the world. A few of them I’m still in communication with to this day.

Through my online community of friends, I noticed a lot of them were building websites (also called fan sites) of their favorite celebrities. Amazed, I reached out to one of my friends in Poland and asked her how did she do it. Keep in mind, I was 13 and I believe she was 14. She told me I had to learn HTML and CSS and sent me a few links to get started (this was also before YouTube, so no video tutorials). One of them was Lissa Explains It All, a popular website that was started by a kid and created for kids who wanted to learn web coding. After studying and mastering my new skill, within three months I launched my first website.

At 19, the summer before my Sophomore year in college, I launched my first business as a web designer. Truth be told, I was a broke college student trying to hustle my way through school so I could afford road trips and new clothes. I also understood the importance of having work experience, which was necessary to land a job. Within six months of graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Graphic Design, I landed my first job as a graphic and web designer.

Because of my humble beginnings and being curious about technology as a kid, it brought me to where I am today. Check out the web designs I made of Kelly Rowland and Beyonce back in the day when I was between the ages 12-16.

I’m glad I had the good sense to screenshot this as a kid, even with my 1998 Dell Desktop :).

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By Melody Thomas

Melody has ten years of professional experience as a web designer and digital marketing strategist. She has worked with small businesses, healthcare organizations, nonprofits, political campaigns, and higher education institutions with noteworthy organizations being Girl Scouts and the Democratic National Committee. She is also a world traveler and international speaker and her work has been featured in publications such as FastCompany and the New York Times.