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 are of truly critical importance.
Following a decade working with people with disabilities, I developed a firm belief in the merits of universal access and I apply this to my web development work. This feeds naturally into an affinity with web standards, semantic markup and valid code.
I became a member of the Web Industry Professionals Association in 2007, joined the Committee in 2008, was elected Vice President in 2009 and then President in 2010.
WIPA aimed to establish industry-wide best practice and to influence relevant policy development in Australia, something that is also an aim of the Australian Web Industry Association (AWIA). As a result I oversaw the merging of WIPA into AWIA, and became an AWIA Committee member.
I was born Hendericus Jacobus Bernardus Onsman on 4 October 1959 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands (Fryslan boppe! ).
I grew up in the deeply working class suburb of Claremont, in what was then the fringe of the bush north of Hobart, Tasmania.
Three of my siblings are easy Google fodder: look for Harry, Andrys and Yulia.
I have a piece of paper to prove that I became an Australian citizen in 1980.
I spent several years travelling Australia as a theatre-in-education performer, before settling in beachside Bronte and inner west Lilyfield in Sydney with my partner Hazel, who also happens to be a brilliant freelance writer and editor.
In mid-2006 we relocated to Corrimal in the northern suburbs of Wollongong with our son Cormac and daughter Augusta.
In 2010, I joined the staff of Australian-based global web industry online and print publisher SitePoint, where I was Managing Editor until December 2013.