Prior to designing and building websites, I was a freelance software developer writing systems for clients for distribution on CD-ROM. This was when I learned to listen to clients and design systems that responded to the detailed requirements of their projects.
The following applications are software projects (not website projects) that demonstrate some of these qualities. Written in either VB.NET or ToolBook Asymetrix/Click2Learn ToolBook Developer (the first Windows-based multimedia software authoring system) they are - with one exception - front-ends to databases. The majority of them are eLearning or course-management applications. I was an early advocate of the separation of code, content and design, pushing these early development tools to store all their data (and some of their configuration options) in external databases which could - if desired - be re-purposed for different systems. At the time that was a nascent trend that has since grown into the maturity that we now see everywhere on the internet.
These projects taught me the need for precision and thoroughness. Programs needed to work on a huge range of devices and in a variety of diverse situations. Robust error-reporting procedures were as important as perfecting the random seeding of a three-dimensional array or the bi-directional highlighting of a multi-colour product-to-property menu system!
Welcome to the pre-internet museum!