Category: business

North Somerset Sustainable Business Club launch

Last Tuesday (23 March 2021), the North Somerset Enterprise Agency, Culture Weston, Theatre Orchard and I co-hosted Get Your Green On, an event that soft launched a new business club that’s taking shape for North Somerset businesses that are interested in sustainability and themes such as social impact, ethical conduct, climate change and other environmental issues.

I recorded this speech for the event, giving some background and the objectives for the club.

If you’re interested and want to know more, please register your email address to get updates about the club.

1% for the Planet

Dotjay Ltd has joined 1% for the Planet this month, and I’m really pleased. What’s that? It’s a worldwide movement of businesses and individuals who donate to and volunteer with non-profits that are working to protect our planet.

1% for the Planet member

As a business member, 1% of business revenue goes to environmental non-profits every year. Only 3% of total philanthropy goes to the environment, and only 5% of that comes from businesses. I believe that small business owners like myself have an important part to play in addressing the climate crisis, and this is just one way to do that.

This commitment is part of a series of changes I’ve been making to become a more responsible and sustainable business. I’ll be writing more about these changes and my commitment to sustainability and ethical conduct over the coming months. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, head to to find out more about the movement and how to get involved.


I’m also really pleased and honoured to be working with Possible at the moment as part of this commitment, volunteering time to make their website more accessible. Check them out at


Making virtual events more accessible

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last spring, I began drafting a guide to making online events more accessible and published it on this website. Many people got in touch to say that they had found it useful, and earlier in the year, Lisa Sweeting of Green Sense Events asked if I would give a talk to her community of events organisers about it. If you’d like to learn more, here’s the recording of my talk.

Sustainable Development Goal number 10 is about reduced inequalities. Whilst we are still delivering a huge number of virtual events, how can we ensure these are more accessible for anyone that is perhaps partially sighted or hard of hearing?

Making sustainability accessible

Last week, I spoke at a Future Economy Network event about the importance of accessibility as part of sustainable development. There are slides on SlideShare, but the essence of my talk is outlined below.

Leave No One Behind

This is one of the core principles of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. If something does not work for all people, it is prone to risk and not sustainable.

If we exclude people in our work, then we create products and services that are less sustainable. And as we look to the future, our idea of what it means to be inclusive and sustainable is likely to shift. We have a growing, ageing population. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2060 there will be twice as many older people than younger people. This relates to the ‘people’ pillar of the triple bottom line and the definition of sustainability:

Around 1 in 5 people have a disability – more than a billion people in the world. Looking after our planet is a team sport. We need to include disabled people. We need their help.

Sustainable goals

Accessibility is a measure of social sustainability. In fact, disability is explicitly mentioned 11 times in Agenda 2030, and relates directly to 5 of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs):

  • Goal 4, Quality education: Access to knowledge and awareness.
  • Goal 8, Decent work and economic growth: Access to employment.
  • Goal 10, Reduced inequalities: Social, economic and political inclusion for disabled people.
  • Goal 11, Sustainable cities and communities: Accessible human settlements.
  • Goal 17, Partnerships for the goals: Data and monitoring of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

And accessibility impacts on yet more of the goals, for example, “Access to health services”.

Inclusion is encompassed by yet more parts of the goals and their targets and topics:

  • Gender equality
  • Financial inclusion

Through a COVID lens…

The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resilience of many businesses, but also every one of us as individuals. We have a greater understanding of what it is to feel isolated or excluded. But for many disabled people, the pandemic has amplified the effects of social inequality around the world.

Disability inclusion isn’t a tick-box exercise. It’s vital to achieving the SDGs.

Web Design Roles

As the Web evolves, it’s inevitable that the job of creating websites evolves too. As those out there in the industry will already know, the roles of the “Web Designer” can be diverse, especially on larger projects, making it more of an umbrella job description.

Anyway, I’ve decided to write about some of my thoughts about the job of a Web Designer. I also thought it might be interesting to ask people what role (or roles) they see themselves as playing in the world of Web Design.

What is Web Design?

It’s probably not a great idea to start out with what is really an aside, but bear with me on this one.

Jakob Nielsen recently wrote that “Web Design” is a misnomer. It got me thinking and I’d have to agree to some extent, but my view is slightly different to Nielsen’s. People don’t design the Web itself, but the sites reached via the Web – “Website Design” would be more accurate, but I’m just pedantic. I guess it doesn’t really matter what is the accepted phrase for referring to people who build websites – I know that I will call it “Web Design” anyway.

What I don’t like is how Web Design is often misconstrued to mean putting something pretty up online. We have known for a long time that the Web is an information medium at heart and not a visual one. This is an important concept that I feel many designers and design agencies forget on a regular basis. On an ideal Web, all designers would take information gathered by the client (or help them collate information) and allow that content to drive design. The classic maxim applies: Web Design is not Print Design. Neither is it just about Graphic Design, so simply slicing up a Photoshop comp and putting it online is not enough.

So what was the point of my aside? I wanted to raise a couple of questions. If so many designers don’t know their job and how to do it properly, how do people really know what to expect from them? How are prospective clients to know whether their website is going to fit with their purpose? Does it matter?

Roles of the Web Designer

What is perhaps a little more difficult to define is the role of the Web Designer. Recently, I’ve been thinking about all the different “modes” I have when building a website. Being self-employed, these modes can be wide and varied, and I am increasingly appreciating the need for collaboration on projects to make them stronger and generally just better.

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and it can be important to develop a specialism or a style which sets you apart from the crowd. A problem here is that I like to explore and to learn. Hence, I will often try to vary my roles so that I can develop my skills in different areas and keep what I do interesting. I’ll have to admit now that this can cause some areas to be weaker than others between projects. This is a compromise I do not want to make if I can help it. It’s near impossible to fulfil all the roles required by Web Design today, so collaboration is an important aspect, whether it be with other agencies or freelancers.

A common distinction in roles seems to be between Web Designers and Web Developers, but even these roles can overlap. As I see it (and I could be wrong) designers are responsible for structure, layout, visual wonders, etc while developers are more geared towards developing server-side magic, applications and interaction. But there’s a lot more going on than that.

Here are some of the roles I can think of which I perform, and others that I have seen in use:

  • Project Manager
  • Website Designer
  • Website Architect (implying working with information architecture / structure?)
  • Website Developer/Engineer
  • Internet Developer (another misnomer?)
  • Graphic Designer or Web Graphic Designer (I’ve seen this role described as a person who “tries to make Web pages look the same in every browser”. I’m not totally agreed on that one. Anyone for “CSS Engineer”?)
  • Multimedia Designer
  • Web Typographer
  • Flash Designer
  • User Interface / Interaction Designer
  • Web Usability Specialist
  • Web Accessibility Specialist
  • Web Marketing Specialist
  • Search Engine Optimisation Specialist
  • Copy Writer, Web Editor or Web Writer
  • Web Writer
  • Web Hosting Technician
  • Webmaster
  • Software Engineer

This probably isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s what came to mind while thinking about what I do, or have done in the past.

What Roles Do You Play?

So what do you do? Are you a multi-tasking stress monkey like me? Are you a jargon-loving, Planetarian-playing techie? Are you the arty, expressive graphic designer? I want to know, damn it!