My work as a freelance web designer and developer is a natural extension of an employment history that has focused on aggregating information and managing it to meet the needs of a range of end users.
My skill base has been built on developing an understanding of how and why people look for, find and use information – in any context and any format, but especially on the web.
Before my current work designing, building, redeveloping and optimising websites, I worked with companies providing commercial content services to major Australian print, broadcast and web media.
I also spent several years working in non-profit environments where information relevance, accuracy and usefulness were of absolutely critical importance.
Following a decade working with people with disabilities, I developed a firm belief in the merits of universal access and I have applied this ever since to my web design and development work. This feeds naturally into an affinity with web standards, semantic markup and valid code, and opened up a new line of specialisation: digital accessibility.
Much of my recent consultancy work has focused on testing websites and apps for conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, for which I’ve built up a device and software lab from my home office.
I was the last President of the Web Industry Professionals Association, which aimed to establish industry-wide best practice and to influence relevant policy development in Australia. I oversaw the merging of WIPA into the Australian Web Industry Association (AWIA), where I then served as a Committee Member for several years.
I was born Hendericus Jacobus Bernardus Onsman on 4 October 1959 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands (Ljouwert, Fryslan boppe! ).
I grew up in the working class suburb of Claremont in nipaluna country, on what was then the fringe of the bush north of Hobart, Tasmania.
I have a piece of paper that says I became an Australian citizen in 1980.
I spent several years travelling Australia as a theatre-in-education performer, before settling in Newcastle, Bronte and Lilyfield with my partner Hazel, who also happens to be a brilliant freelance writer and editor.
In mid-2006 we relocated to Corrimal on Dharawal country in the northern suburbs of Wollongong with our two children.
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