Et Tu Grande?
So I’ve just finished creating a business site for a client and it has been a serious lesson in:
- Not taking criticism to heart; and
- Acknowledging that your own vision for a project may not match your clients.
After proudly showing the site off, there seemed to be quite a few questions of why I put certain things in places and why certain functions were needed. I believe I may have taken somewhat personally as I then proceeded to spend the next couple of hours brooding over a tub of café grande.
To be honest though, the criticism wasn’t actually that bad, in fact a lot of it was probably rather warranted. After looking over the site, comparing it to a number of others and skimming through a couple of design books, I realised that I needed to get back to the drawing board.
The revised site now looks and performs 100% better and my client is much happier.
The problem was not that the customer had decided to point out a couple of flaws; it was that I had invested so much of myself into the site that any small criticism felt like a stab in the back. If I want to reach the goal of actually turning this hobby into to any sort of career, that is not a position to put myself in.
What I now understand (and didn’t back then) was that I wasn’t just creating a piece of art for myself. I was solving a client’s problem by designing a web page to promote their business.
If they aren’t satisfied with the outcome, then I definitely can’t be.
Side Note: whilst a litre tub of café grande may be great for the soul, your stomach may have a couple of counterpoints on the subject.
So I’ve got a lot to learn… literally.
My current to do list:
- Look into how SASS can improve a website;
- Learn how to utilise WordPress as a CMS for builds;
- Improve on my knowledge of graphic design and writing copy;
- Build a social network presence;
- Finish the 5 books I’m reading right now, 3 of which are related to work web design;
- Update this blog;
- And finally I have to squeeze in my actual day job somewhere.
Just writing all that out makes me want to crawl into a ball with a big mac, a whopper; some kfc fries, and a bakers dozen of krispy kreams (the doughboys podcast might have something to do with that too).
Even meditation is stressing me out (now I have to find 15 more minutes in the day just for that!).
First world problems yo.
After stumbling around learning code for the last year and a half I realised that something was wrong. I could finally put together a website, but the site resembled something that had been put into an empty tyre and rolled down a hill. Soon enough I understood, to become an effective website developer you must have decent knowledge of both relevant coding languages and basic design principles.
Truth be told, this realisation came along just after building a web page of my own, proudly showing it off to my friends and family, their expressions told truth, even if they wouldn’t, it was ugly. Eventually one of them was nice enough to pull me aside and ask if I had had any graphic design experience, after telling him no, he suggested I go and get some.
He was right, if my main goal was to sell my services to customers, then I had to learn how to sell theirs too.
Because I’m not really confident enough to show off my stuff just yet, I’ve had a look around and thanks to the website http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/ I’ve included a couple of screenshots of websites that probably could do with a makeover or two… or five.
Pretty bad huh?
So I’ve spent the last month or two going through a bunch of design books, (gumtree, ebay and the good sammies are fantastic places to find cheap reads) and picked up my game. Now I have an understanding of how principles such as balance, contrast and repetition are applied, through proper use of design theory I can (hopefully) effectively communicate the message that I am attempting to convey.
Some of the books that I have gone through so far that have helped are:
They were all useful in different ways and I would recommend them all, I’ll probably get into specific reviews a little down the road.
Now to properly utilise this knowledge and build a website that doesn’t look like day old pizza!
About a year ago I experienced a “beacon of light” moment when my girlfriend wanted to create a blog, she asked if I knew anyone who could build one so I contacted a friend who owned a web design business and was quoted a number that sounded crazy. “This is ridiculous” I thought, “I can do that”.
And there it was.
I could do that! If I put my mind to it, worked hard, said my prayers and ate my vitamins I just knew that I could learn how to design and create half decent web sites, even more importantly, I now had a chance to make something of myself.
My name is Luke Rees and this blog will be a dairy of my (hopeful) progression as a front end web developer, along the way I’ll be talking about projects I’m working on, books I’m reading, topics I’m studying and generally just a bunch of other junk that’s happening in my life (which at the moment is house of cards and only house of cards).
It will also map my growth as a blogger, because from the looks of it; we’re starting off from a very low base.
So to anyone out there actually reading this, thanks for your time, feedback and tips are always appreciated and i’ll be back.