Sep 04, 2007
We were recently honored to be featured alongside the world's very best designers in an article from Smashing Magazine, called "50 Designers x 6 Questions". This was an opportunity to share a little about web development and pass on some advice to fellow designers. For those that are interested, here are the answers we provided to the 5 questions in the article:
What's 1 typical myth about web-development (which is not true)?
That a great site can get you to the top of google. Developing an SEO-friendly site is only the first step in accomplishing a goal like that. Past the development side of things, there are tons of other factors involved. That's why we work with an outside company (VKI Studios) that is one of the very best, and I am thrilled to not have to worry about it outside of the code.
1 bulletproof method to get over creativity block
This is far from profound, but walk away. And don't leave one screen to go sit in front of another and watch TV. Go workout, take a run. Or do some errands. Just do something active for at least an hour that does not require you to think about work or look at your crackberry.
1 thing to do before starting a new project
Get to know your client. What drives them? What are they passionate about? What can you learn about their business that will help you create their ideal website? Who do they compete with and how can you appeal to their target market? It's also important to shake their hand if you can. If not, spend 20+ minutes talking with them on the phone. Make sure that you get along, and that you can work well together. Be sure that they are open-minded to your ideas, and that you can be a good listener to them. If something's not right about the relationship in the beginning, don't be afraid to cut it off and save yourself a great deal of hassle.
1 thing I wish I knew before I've started programming/designing
How much I would enjoy it! Developing websites is really hard work, and it's not always really fun. But in general I feel that working on different projects with clients in TONS of different industries always keeps the job fresh and full of new challenges. I also learned very quickly the value of a team. I work with two guys that compliment my skill set perfectly, and I would encourage those just starting out to always be seeking people to work with that are better than you at certain things.
1 common mistake you should always avoid developing web-sites
Shortcuts. This applies to design and code. I don't care if the client will never notice the subtle gradients or appreciate the beautiful semantic code. Just make sure it's something you can get excited about, and that you can learn something on each project. There's simply too much talent out there to ever think you know it all, so do things in your everyday work that are incredibly challenging and uncomfortable. That's the only way to keep getting better. Don't hesitate to spend much more time on a project solely for the purpose of becoming better. It's worth it!
1 tool or/and service/web-service I can't imagine my life without
iGTD, from Bartek Bargiel. Unbelievable. http://www.igtd.pl/iGTD/ Also, I wanted to mention that Smashing Magazine just celebrated their one year anniversary. As a result, they are offering some of the BEST books on web development (40+) for free to those that choose to write a thoughtful comment. Read their post to learn more about it.