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Learning from development mistakes

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 by Servage

All web designers make many mistakes during our journey to becoming a mature designer. If we can’t learn from these disappointments, we are losing the real value of those mistakes, to enhance our performance in the present as well as the future. In this post, I focus on some common mistakes that web designers make.

Flexibility in Process

To successfully accomplish web design projects, we must have some defined process. By noting the process of our development while working on websites or by giving these documents to clients that are about to settle with us, we must be clear with the many steps, which helps to saves you from project-creep in the future. Your defined process tells clients that if they were to deviate much from the development process path, they would have some extra responsibility on their end.

Unfortunately, on the other side of the spectrum, we may forget to concentrate on the demands of clients. Instead of respecting the requests of the client, we simply refer to the process we’ve defined and, by doing so, we create obstacles on the way to our success on the project. It has been observed that common problems, like gaps in communication with clients or an inability of project managers to handle clients effectively, leads us to stress during the process instead of resolving issues and possibly victimizing our clients continuously.

In fact, I have committed similar mistakes frequently, and learned some hard, but valuable lessons; primarily, to bring enough flexibility into the process itself. This approach had made room for clients to place their needs as priorities, above the insane activities of my sticking stubbornly only to process. Another valuable lesson learned, was that by changing project managers, this has a direct impact on the psyche of clients. Sometimes, they find themselves more comfortable with a new person, even though this new manager may not really bring much change. Yet, some minor tweaks are often enough to make the client feel the change now bears a suitable approach.

Today, we have access to so much software and hardware to speed up our web development process, so we can offer more room for iterations, in order to bring further enhancements. By revisiting some steps, we don’t consume as much time and effort as we aren’t going against the values that we add to the project. Therefore, the help of modern tools and techniques considerably saves our relationships with our patrons.

Futuristic Designs

I have committed significant mistakes by drawing design inferences based on the past records of clients, their business and their websites. And thus, ignoring the futuristic visions to help in my designing process. This can be especially helpful to remember in the case of website redesigns. Generally, when we carryout the redesign process, we are aided by analytic data, to see the value of pages and then prioritize them accordingly. In most cases, this works fine. But in this fast paced era, our web content, audience and their tastes change drastically. Thus, inferences based on past records, may not help us achieve success as we constantly have to evaluate parameters and pages to focus on.

Today we need a mobile-first approach, so responsive web design is a common trend where we can’t just create responsive websites within the shortest span. This is not possible with either a small team or for a big website, and so, we have to take intermediary steps, like creating temporary mobile-only websites. In due course, we need to prioritize mobile pages, and we do that based on the analytics history. If we don’t keep a close eye on the temporary mobile site and address the content parity issues, we might suffer in terms of lost traffic, and hence, profit. Therefore, focusing on the future also carries equal importance to remembering our history.

References & More Reading

Mistakes I’ve Made (And Lessons Learned Along The Way)
Keys To Better Communication With Clients
How To Deliver Exceptional Client Service

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Categories: Business, Tips & Tricks


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