The Wild World of Web Development
Pretty much everything we do for our clients involves some aspect of web development. Our team simply would not be the same without our trusty developers. They are at the heart of everything we do (even though most of us in the team are mind-boggled by everything code-related).
We chatted with our developers to find out their best bits from working in development, their quirky ways to get them through tricky coding, and the surprising myths surrounding web dev.
1. Web development is easy
On paper, many ideas and functionality associated with websites may seem simple to implement and in some cases that is true, but more often than not, it isn’t. What might seem like a trivial element or feature of a website could take dozens or even hundreds of development hours. The myth about website development being simple most likely exists due to online tools such as Wix.com - that requires no in-depth knowledge or development skill to work with. But what is sometimes forgotten is that it's extremely likely Wix's site itself took countless months of development to build.
2. Once your website is live - the work is done.
When you build a website, it’s only the beginning.
The internet never sleeps and is constantly evolving. Maintaining, protecting, and keeping updated with current trends and innovations for your website is just as important as its initial development. I’ve always liked the analogy that having a website is much like owning a car - it needs servicing periodically for all the usual things, oil, water and tyres etc...and unfortunately sometimes they break down and need repairing. With regular TLC a website can serve you much more efficiently in the long run- especially if your website is in any way conversion-led. Then SEO, social media, and digital marketing all contribute to the “health” of a website.
3. No need for a responsive/mobile-friendly website
It is absolutely needed. If you’re not developing a website with responsive behaviour in mind, you could shut out over half the visitors to your site.
According to Statista, 54.8% of website traffic came from mobile devices in the first quarter of 2021. Losing half your potential visitors could be devastating to a business especially considering these knock-on effects:
A non-responsive website will dramatically increase the bounce rate of mobile users (when users leave your website within seconds). A high bounce rate will result in a negative impact on your search engine rankings.
Generally, mobile users want quick and easily accessible information and are also more likely to impulse purchase.
If mobile visitors to your site don’t bounce straight away, poor user experience will reflect badly on your overall company or brand. Keep mobile users happy by providing them with a tailored browsing experience, that has more value to the customer journey than just being aesthetically pleasing.
4. The More Features, the Better
It’s definitely a myth that the more functionality you throw at a website, the better it is. Some of the best websites such as https://www.etq-amsterdam.com and https://spotify.design have the simplest UX and UI features but they do them exceptionally well, and that’s what makes them great. Websites that are crammed full of features and functionality end up offering a diluted message or confusing experience. To an audience that just isn’t needed.
When planning the concept and development of your website's functionality, it's always best to think of the value you're really going to add to your end user's experience.
5. Developers just stare at a screen all-day
This one transcends not just to web developers but also to many people who happen to work in front of a computer. Writing code is indeed a major part of a developers role and that does mean a fair amount of screen time, but the development of a website takes much more than that.
In some capacity or another, a developer will generally be involved with a project from start to finish - liaising with other teams such as designers, account managers and quite often directly with the client. A developer might well be working on a project alone but at Fishtank we like to have a “think tank” policy, meaning we can be in instant contact with an individual- or the whole team to problem solve any challenging code, or share ideas on development topics.
Most of the websites we build come with the added benefit that potentially a whole team's worth of experience and expertise has been applied to it in some way, which stems from great communication and collaboration.
Everyone has their own personal way of working, whether that be drinking 16 cups of coffee a day, constantly having access to snacks, or taking yourself out for some fresh country air during break times.
Here's how our dev's do it. IN THEIR OWN WORDS...
I’ve yet to meet a developer that doesn’t have that go-to artist, album or playlist. When you need to get your head down and get “in the zone” and get through large amounts of code, or problem-solve a challenging piece of functionality.
It doesn’t matter who or what it is…Celine Dion, Slipknot or Mozart…just find your jam!
OK, so it doesn’t have to be a rubber duck exactly, but simply just some form of inanimate object on your desk. The reason being is, as a developer at some point you're gonna get stumped by some code or a problem you can’t seem to overcome. With thousands of lines of code perpetually going round your head to solve it’s not surprising how just saying it out loud to a rubber duck can help you realise the solution in an instant!
A more straightforward practical tip is when writing code there is a way to add notes and/or instructions hidden within it. If you’re diligent with adding good comments to your code you have the ability to save yourself or another developer a substantial amount of time in the future should the code need to be modified.
Developers use what’s called an IDE to write their code in which is basically a text editor with some fancy functionality. Out of the box they usually have a white background and dark text, so if you want to save yourself from headaches- you should adopt a dark colour scheme or theme in your IDE.
Using a dark theme is proven to relieve strain on your eyes and not least of all it just looks way cooler!
Get into the habit of looking at the source code of any and all websites you like or ‘inspect element’ on sections of a website you like the look of. It’s easy to do and can prove valuable inspiration and insight into coding techniques or new technologies you may not otherwise be aware of.
So, what are our dev's favourite parts of their role?
My favourite part of web development is the community aspect of it. Yes we work as a team at Fishtank which is it’s own small community in itself, but on a wider scale the online community is incredible. Developers world wide share their code, development methods, tools and new ideas for everyone to be involved in no matter your level of skill or experience.
My favourite part about being a web developer is being presented with a flat design that I can then bring into the web and help a client bring their vision to life. It’s a continuous cycle of being impressed with your advancing capabilities as well as exceeding clients’ expectations.
My favourite part of web dev is the fact there's so many possibilities of potential project concepts, with all the libraries, tools and languages available at your fingertips. Want to make a dynamic website? You can do that! A game? Yep also possible! A web app that's accessible on your phone? Done.
The fact that web development is changing every year is the best part for me. Recently we’ve been looking at some development tools for WordPress; Bedrock and Sage. These tools have allowed us to write cleaner, more efficient code and have been a great help for managing our WordPress sites. There’s always something new to discover, whether it’s a new toolkit to help optimise your code or a new CSS feature that simplifies a usually complex problem.
Click here to find out more about our website development services and check out our portfolio of creative websites if you are in need of some inspiration: https://fishtankagency.com/services/web-development