Brainstorms and Raves

Notes on Web Design, Development, Standards, Typography, Music, and More

About This Site

A little about the site and the person behind it...

When did Brainstorms and Raves start and why?

December 2000: Curiosity about weblogs and wondering if clients could use the Blogger-like content management tools for site updating were the seeds. Blogger was the tool of choice at the time, and Brainstorms and Raves was born December 07, 2000.

August 17, 2001 was the debut of a new Version 2 design and domain name, I wrote about why I did all this for its opening post, Design Experiments and Moving.

July, 2003 brought a new Version 3 design and transition from Blogger to Movable Type. While the overall site structure was similar, behind the scenes was a much more sophisticated content management, far more capabilities, and an extremely easy-to-maintain site. I automated so much that I previously managed manually, especially with archiving and RSS feeds. The Version 3 design utilized the latest with CSS and other technologies that worked with the latest browsers at that time while still being accessible to older browsers and alternative devices. See the Colophon and Accessibility pages for more details.

Additionally, several versions of daily posts are available, including RSS feeds, an OPML file with all the RSS feeds, a mobile version, and an email notification/summary. Before the transition I manually created an RSS feed, but so much more is possible at this point since it's all automated behind the scenes with Movable Type.

September, 2006 brought a new Version 4 design. Version 3 was over three years old, and it was long past due for improved CSS, improved server-side scripting, and improved accessibility. I decided to go ahead and give it a fresh, new design, too. You can read more about all that at the Colophon page.

Where'd that goofy title come from?

After brainstorming for about 20 seconds while needing to fill in the Blogger setup form, the title resulted from what the content might include -- sometimes brainstorms, sometimes raves, and usually somehow related to Web design, the Web, or music.

After living with that title for nearly six years now it still seems to fit. I'm always brainstorming and raving about something, and I write about a little of that.

Who writes all this stuff?

Brainstorms and Raves is designed, developed, and written by me, Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A., owner of SKDesigns. My business specializes in user-friendly, accessible, standards-compliant sites with Web design, development, graphics, usability, information architecture, collaborative projects, and project management.

 Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, by Shirley Kaiser. SitePoint Books (July 2006).  Besides writing here, I also wrote a book recently, Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists. In addition, I write tutorials, articles, and tips around the Web, and I'm editor and owner of, a popular educational resource devoted to educators, designers, developers, and site owners.

I'm also a Steering Committee member of the Web Standards Project, and the posts here reflect my views about why standards matter in addition to providing tips and resources for anyone wanting to learn how to use standards effectively.

I also spent 2001 moderating I-Design, a popular condensed and edited digest by Adventive (same group as John Audette's I-Sales), purchased in 2003 by Up2Speed.

There's more information at SKDesigns.

Where does the music fit in?

I've been a professional pianist nearly all my life, coming from a long line of professional musicians, artists, poets, authors, furniture makers, and other creatives. My academic degrees are in piano performance and literature -- a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree. In a nutshell, I've always been passionate about all kinds of music.

Will Brainstorms and Raves continue?

It's continued to be fun since I started this December, 2000. I enjoy learning, sharing information, and I love writing. I've also met so many people as a direct result of this weblog, and it's also been good for my Web design business, too.

The bottom line to me, though, is that Brainstorms and Raves will continue as long as it remains fun. I don't see that changing any time soon.

Updated 20 September, 2006



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I Wrote a Book

Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists  Via Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, by Shirley Kaiser. SitePoint Books (July 2006). 

Available now via: SitePoint Books,, (Canada), (UK), (France), (Germany), (Japan), Tower Books U.S. and elsewhere! You'll also help support this site and its owner if you purchase via any of these links.

Learn more at SKDesigns - Deliver First Class Web Sites and via SitePoint Books.

Recommended Books

Cover - CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions, by Andy Budd, with Simon Collison, Cameron Moll. Published February 13, 2006.

Cover: Dont Make Me Think, Second Edition (2005), by Steve Krug. 

Hand-picked best book recommendations for Web site design, CSS, graphics, Photoshop, color, accessibility, more

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