ConfUser Experience

The user manual didn’t inspire confidence

So after spending the larger part of the last 3 weeks putting together the code for my latest fCC project I finally have it performing to a standard that could be classified as “functioning”. But there still remains a problem, it looks like a dog’s breakfast. Picasso would have had more luck understanding the functionality of my project than any normal end user would.

When I first started free Code Camp I would generally by this point be so over the project that I would just tick it off and move on to the next. These days I have come to realise that having a Ferrari engine can be sexy as hell, but if its under the hood of a Toyota Yaris, people probably aren’t going to take much notice.

I want my work to look as good as I feel about it, I know just how much effort went into it and I want people who see that. Simply spending a little bit of time thinking about the design of your project and coming up with some concepts of how you would like it to look can go a long way.

Usually I use Adobe Illustrator to create these concepts (as can be seen below), but there are a heap of decent free programs out there that can be used just as easily, baring that, a pencil and a piece of paper is your best friend. I usually try and create different ideas for desktop, tablet and mobile and then try and implement them using basic media queries.


When you spend so much time and effort on building and creating a project on free Code Camp, its worth spending just a little bit more on making it look as good as it performs.

Luke

Blogging Purgatory

this episode got a bit too real when Charlie Brown had to drink his own piss to survive.

So yeah it turns out that in the process of juggling a full time job, studying web development and giving my gf enough attention so she doesn’t leave my ungrateful ass, finding that spare 5 minutes to blog about my progress can be surprisingly hard!

Im thinking about maybe changing the format of this blog to give more micro updates, not in the twitter size, but maybe more talk about experiences and such rather than talking about actual javascript or web design elements. Ive just finished building the fcc pomodoro project so ill chuck that up soon with a few comments about what i was trying to do.

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward”. – Victor Kiam

So guess Im killing it?

Cheers.

week.length = x;

A weekly update of what I’m currently reading, watching and listening to.

ein

x = reading

Einstein – Walter Isacson

An interesting book by the same author of the Steve Job’s Biography “Jobs”. I’m not much of a science person, but this is a great chance to learn just who Einstein was and what drove him to reach such incredible heights.

Isacson is a pretty amazing writer too and despite its controversy, I’d also recommend the Jobs book 100 percent.

 

x = listeningzooz

Too Many Zooz

Great funk bank that apparently still busks in the New York subways, heaps of fun and a great pick me up in times when I’m ready to put a brick through my computer.

Also has made me add “learn trumpet” to my bucket list.

 

westx = watching

Westworld

If you haven’t heard of this show yet then you must have been living under a rock for the last 3 months.

Robots + Cowboys = take my money.

 

 

 

 

shop-talkx = podcasting

Shop Talk Show

Dave Rupert and Chris Coyer talk
everything about web development, a ton of the stuff can go straight over your head, but it can still be a great podcast to pick up an interesting tidbit or two whilst trying to climb the mountain of learning code.

week.length = x;

A weekly update of what I’m currently reading, watching and listening to.

Freakonomics

 

x = reading

Freakonomics – Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

This book is a really interesting read that gives you a different perspective on the world and what’s going around you. Their answer to the reasons behind the drop in crime in the USA still feels ridiculous to me.

 

 

tourist-u

 

x = listening

Tourist – U

This seems to by my go to music when trying to figure out JavaScript. Tourist is music that manages to relax and invigorate you at the same time.

 

 

Bloodline

 

x = watching

Bloodline

Defines the term ‘slow burn’, but crazy good acting and a super gritty storyline keeps you on-board and clamouring for answers. Ben Mendleson is the GOAT.

 

 

doughboys

 

x = podcasting

Doughboys

Two comedians that review fast food restaurants in the USA. Thanks to these guys I’m this close to selling everything I own, moving to the USA and living the short, yet enjoyable dream of hyper-obesity.

 

A Full Plate

cries in spanish

So I’ve got a lot to learn… literally.

My current to do list:

  • Become compliant with languages html, css and javascript;
  • 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.

Luke

I think I’m missing something…

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!

 

Luke