What makes a web app successful? The development process and the realities of real-world coding.
You’ve probably seen or heard a lot of stories about a businesses’ web project (or projects in general) failing. Heck, if you’re a freelancer chances are you’ve witnessed it firsthand! It’s a more common occurrence than you think, especially with small businesses. “…You do all kinds of work, you put out a beautiful website or you put out a beautiful web app, and then you link to it in your portfolio from your own website, and the next thing you know -bing, bing, boom- the client instead of calling you up to try and make updates, they try to tweak it themselves of they hire their kid; they get the kid to come in there and they try to fix it and they mess it up, and in a short period of time the site looks terrible.”
So why does this happen? Well, believe it or not, it doesn’t come from a purely bad place in terms of the intention. That is to say, your client isn’t trying to ‘F#%$’ you or your work, or your livelihood for that matter. It actually (for the most part) comes from a place of ignorance: they just don’t know…anything, really…including how much it actually costs. “A lot of people who jump into the game of building a website or building a web app -any app- they don’t really realize how much work it really is to refine the product, to get it to the point where it’s really ready for market.”
Sound familiar? Here are some pitfalls that have unfortunately cut down many a project in the prime of their lives (and some even before that).
Versions and Iterations: Microsoft has Windows10, so what happened to windows 1-9? Yup, they were previous versions that were replaced by (theoretically, arguably, etc.) newer, better, faster versions. Products and projects must evolve or improve (bugs, glitches, etc.), or the user will simply not want to use it and go somewhere else. Which brings us to our next point
UI and UX: Now depending on the company or client you work for, they might like to lump these two things together but trust us, they are two very different things. UI (user interface) is pretty much the look of things what the user sees: colors, designs, fonts, formatting -the eye candy, so to speak. But UX (user experience) is how easy it is to use, and that is the real draw to a product or project. You could have the most appealing, eye-catching, awe-inspiring design, but if you can use it: if it’s clunky, takes forever to load, or your users just have no idea how to start or where to go to get what they need, it’s useless.
Poor Budget Planning: This last one is almost always the case (especially with getting the ‘kid’ in to do your work). “When a lot of small business owners realize they’re gonna have to invest much more into the project, a lot of them will drop the project in that point in time. I’ve had clients who spend fifty grand, 100 grand on a project, they get it out there and it’s starting to get some traction but they’re not willing to put more into it, so the system kind of sleeps and slowly fades and dies away.”
And on that positive note, check out the VLOG!! It goes into way more detail on these points and uses clear cut examples like MySpace, and Google, and StudioWeb! There’s also a mention of how to bill small companies for your time in case a project does go down in flames, you won’t go into bankruptcy. Speaking of UI and UX, check out our online courses [links below…shameless promo, I know…], as a great example and who knows, ya might even learn something…
Can you still make money as a freelance web designer in 2019-2020?
No clever title today, young devs… We received an email that had so many good, topical questions that we decided we didn’t have time to get ‘cute’ and just wanted to dive right in…
Is freelancing web design still viable in 2019-2020? -More than ever. There is an unprecedented amount of freelancers in North America and the world. “I’m not talking about web programming; just general purpose autonomous people working on their own businesses, whether it be in the tech space or outside of the tech space: this is the trend. …It has jumped quite a bit in the last 10 years and continues to accelerate. All these independent contractors and small business owners if they don’t already have a website, they’re going to need websites.”
Re: Freelancing in AI/Machine Learning: This is big but still in the early stages, I don’t see there being too many freelance jobs in that space -probably lots of work working for people full time- but in terms of AI/machine learning, I don’t see it as a freelancer thing yet. It’s not to say that it won’t be a ‘thing’, it’s just to say that it might take longer for people to come around to it. Like in the way that most companies didn’t even know what a website was in ’95 and now [pretty much] every company has one…
Another thing we’d like to add on the viability of being a freelancer in 2019/20, is “there was a period 4 or 5 years ago (give of take) where people were looking at websites as being less important -better to build your social media presence (like on Facebook or something)- but things have changed, we’ve seen how FB can take people down -they ultimately control your presence on their platform- so smart business owners are starting to realize it’s much better to have your own website, your own space on the web and then have a ‘satellite’ FB presence (Instagram, YouTube, etc…).” Meaning there will be a continued rise in the need for web development professionals (web design, etc).
So there you have it. Now the VLOG goes into a much deeper dive and the answers are much more robust (I mean how much can you really read here in the five minutes you have to drink your coffee while you’re supposed to be working… :] ), you should really check it out. And if it turns out you have 10 minutes instead of 5 for slacking off, check out our courses (especially ‘WEB DEVELOPMENT‘ ) which are not only built from the ground up, but also take advantage of almost 3 decades in the industry! -Enjoy!
You just landed your first job as a programmer or a dev… Congratulations! Now how do you keep that job? We gotcha. First, read this. That’s a lot to remember, are you freaking out? No problem. All you really need to do is remember step 1 or (for those of you that didn’t read it):
Communication. “Communicate; listen, that’s a big part of it. …Being somebody they can count on, somebody that gets along, somebody that they can speak to is a huge part of the job. …Just work with people, listen, and that is like 90% of it.” -also- Don’t ask Google-able questions. “…If you find that you’re having difficulty, don’t be afraid to ask questions …short, concise questions -don’t ask super long-winded questions- keep it pithy/to the point… …[And] don’t ask too many questions -especially questions that you could research on Google (ultimately they’re hiring you to get the job done).” But stuff happens, for example, “…there could be some design issues, there could be some specifics with regards to their particular software…hopefully they’ll be able to provide that [answers] for you…” -and- The ‘Ramp-up’. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh-faced noob or a grizzled old veteran programmer, no one with brain in their skull expects you to get things right outta the gate. There’s a ‘ramp-up’: “When they first bring you in there’s going to be some expectation of a ‘ramp-up’ time. You’re not going to know everything …if they have an advanced piece of software, …you’re going to have to get to know the code base, and that could take time depending on the complexity of the software. It’s not your code, you’re going to have to learn it. And in your first little while go out of your way to make sure you try as quickly as possible to learn the code -don’t kill yourself; don’t get all sweaty and nervous about it- …but ask your coworker, your lead. ‘what do I need to do first so I can get up to speed and help you guys?’ “.
After that, it’s like any other job, “…be sure to double-check your work: make sure you don’t make any silly mistakes, …if you’re assigned to a task, make sure you get things done on time, …and hopefully you didn’t lie on your resume and say you were a ‘master nerd’, cuz they’re going to figure you out pretty quickly…”.
Check out the VLOG for some really good advice and <Shameless Promo> generally speaking, if you’ve taken the web stack course, you might find yourself ahead of the game as many people found out once they got the job… -Enjoy!
How do you get through really boring and/or tedious tasks?
If you’ve been a human on this planet for more than 8 minutes, chances are you’ve come across a tedious task – something that you just didn’t want to do (maybe it’s boring, not your interest, or even expertise) and for some reason, you are being forced to do it. After rolling your eyes, and groaning the groan of a tortured soul, you stare at the task and ask yourself, ‘How the #%$@ am I going to get through this?’
The first and easiest answer is ‘farm it out’, that is hiring/paying someone else to do it. …And after that’s done, you’ll have plenty of time to go yachting off the coast of France, daddy Warbucks! But for those of us that don’t have the money to do that, the answer is a little more pragmatic, but only slightly less painful…
“I just go in there and I say, ‘okay, I’m just gonna do 20 minutes’, …I’m just gonna move the ball 2 or 3 feet forward. And you just discipline yourself to do little chunks of work of the stuff you hate, because if you try to do something you hate doing or you don’t wanna do, and you wait to do it on the last day, and you got hours of this crappy work to do, it’s gonna be painful.” Breaking boring, tedious, or just plain crappy chunks of work up into smaller sections will save you time in the long run and your sanity.
Check out the VLOG, it’s short and sweet. Check out our courses, if you haven’t already and just like eating your aunt’s salted cod and boiled peas dish, take it one bite at a time… -Enjoy!
Is using developer tutorials cheating? Or are they the steps you need to take to move from beginner to advanced developer?
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…and in some cases, it’s also the quickest way to a lawsuit. Beginner devs are often cautious (and quite rightly so) when looking at someone else’s work/tutorial and wonder if making something similar is ‘cheating’?
Generally speaking, “it’s not cheating. Everything that you see in this world, whether it be software development, music, martial arts -whatever, it’s all based on other people’s work.” Some would even argue that’s how things evolve and get better; by different people messing around and riffing on the same idea. BUT, let’s clarify that, “if you’re stealing it; line for line, that’s bad -it’s illegal and it’s immoral. But if you’re learning how to do something…it’s not cheating to do a tutorial and then based off of that tutorial, you build your own app.” Of course, please do your due diligence, for example, “unless they give you specific permission to copy the code, don’t copy the code. But you can basically learn from it, and then write your own thing accordingly.”
At the end of the day your code/project will be different because everybody’s needs are different, so your app, project, etc, will be not be a carbon copy unless you want it to be…in which case lawyer up! But everyone had to start out somewhere and they became experienced by using what they saw and adding their own thing to reflect the needs of their client, employer, or the very project they were creating.
The VLOG goes into greater detail and you should check it out. Go out there and create, learn and be better than you were. -Enjoy!
Heads up! This is going to be geared to our courses (specifically our web development course), but you can definitely take advantage of the information we’ll be providing…but it works best with our courses 🙂
So, when should you start freelancing after taking our developer course? “This is what I’d do: you finished my full stack course, you do all the foundations training, you do the first few projects that I suggest on the project section, and then the thing which you should do at this point is if you got my freelance course, you should read the first few chapters of the freelance course which gives you the framework to setup your freelance business. Then you have to complete your web design training as a padawan web designer or web developer-junior: what you do is you go out there and you do one or two small…SMALL projects as a freelancer for some independent company/third party.” Consider this your final exam cuz you’re going to be out there doing work AND communicating with clients! “…And if you have our freelance course, you’re going to get all the templates, the contracts, the initial proposal templates, etc…”
So there you have it. The VLOG goes into even more detail and you can even hear about how Stef got started out as a freelancer, having no idea how to build a CRUD based application and what he did. Thanks for listening to our shameless promos and if you’ve had your interest peaked by what it is we offer, check out our courses, it’s definitely worth your time. -Enjoy!
Is it even worth becoming a “web professional” now and what does that even mean?
It can be strange how we categorize our positions and professions. For example, what one person would call a web developer, another would call a web designer. Then there are web programmers and specialties like “front end”, “full stack”, “back end” and “mid-thigh carver” ( I made that last one up, and yes, the last place I came from was the butcher’s…). So then what is a web professional?
And there are other questions, like is web development going to be obsolete with products like WEBFLOW and the like (products that will take away the need to code)?
With these titles and questions swirling around it can be very easy to throw up your hands and say what am I doing?! Is this even worth my time?!
The answer is: yes, yes it is and as far as ‘what is a web professional?’, well, that is a little more complicated…
First off, shameless plug: We offer kick-ass, detailed, and laboriously designed courses that will help to answer this question. So a web professional is kind of all these things combined in different ratios: designer, developer, front end, full stack, braised tenderloin ( I think I’m getting hungry…), etc, etc. Some devs may specialize in specific things (ex: back end or client side whatever), but it’s all in there. Hodge-podge is not necessarily the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind…
And how do you, as a web professional, ensure you know all these things or have a passable knowledge/experience with them? You learn. Either from having “been around the block” or by taking our course <another shameless plug, I know!>… But seriously, web development or whatever you want to call yourself is not going anywhere, in fact if the rate at which things are becoming more and more technological keeps growing, we’re going to need more and more devs at all kinds of different strengths and experiences.
Check out the vlog for a way more detailed and in depth explanation of this subject and quick side dig at RUBY… -Enjoy!
HTML4 classic formatting tags, vs modern HTML5 interpretation of semantic tags.
HEADS UP: We’re answering what may be considered a beginner’s question so if you’re super busy and you already know the answer to this, feel free to move on. But there’s a little nerd history lesson in it…
So, “what is the difference between strong vs. bold tags, and between EM(emphasized) vs. italic tags? To me, they look the same on a web page. What is the purpose of distinguishing between the two?”
Great question. Simple answer: it’s semantics NOW… “You can use either/or today; it doesn’t make a difference.”
Historically: “when HTML was first invented there was no CSS, so they needed tags (a set of html tags), to allow web pages builders to add some styling to the page. ie: add italics, make certain texts bold, insert images, etc. So the early browser-makers … created a set of tags that were display tags: they allowed to change the look of things on the pages.”
As things evolved and HTML5 came along, the powers that be decided to give semantic meaning to the tags instead of having programmers go back and update/correct their previous work. Now, that being said there is absolute use in these semantic tags; for example those with accessibility issues like the seeing impaired will have a “reader” talk the page out and in that case, the reader will interpret paragraph tags, heading/footer tags,etc and it may become pretty useful.
Another use would be to target a very special audience or for very specific web application needs…but that’s another video…
Speaking of videos, please check this one out for a more in-depth history lesson with way more charisma than the typed word.
Also -shameless plug- Our web development course teaches you the infrastructure / history of these tags and how they operate. We like to go above and beyond -Check it out. Plus at the end of the video, some sweet summer heat and beach!! Enjoy!
WordPress, is the most popular CMS in the world … and for good reason.
Spoiler Alert: Yes, WordPress did approach us to do this.
Also, SPOILER ALERT: we don’t know how to use spoiler alerts…
It’s not selling out or corporate schilling because we actually believe in and love this product, and are happy to tell you guys about it. It works for us and we hope it works for you, if you need something like this; plain and simple. Yes there are other platforms comparable to WordPress and if you are happy with them, more power to you. But if, you’re curious about it, we think you’ll find what you’re looking for, whether it be style or function.
We could list all the amazing functions and plug-ins right here but it’s easier to just watch the vlog.
That way you can see my awesome sweater-jacket too 🙂
These days, UX and UI are by far the most important aspect of any web app and perhaps, most software written. At least any software that has a visual component.
Let’s get down to it! For those of you on the fence about becoming programmers and are reading this and breathing a little shallow because you have no idea what we’re talking about, “and oh my god, I can’t do this, I don’t know anything…” Breathe, my friend… You are welcome here and all is revealed to those who ask…
UX = User experience. Essentially how a client/customer “experiences” a website. IE: are the articles too bunched up that it hurts the eyes? Are all the buttons the same color? Is the “BUY NOW” button right under the product so you can see it and not have to go looking for it? Etc.
UI = User interface. What the user interacts with to “experience” your product. IE: Touch screens, laptops, phones, etc
I’m not going to lie, these things do overlap sometimes and the blurred lines can make even the most seasoned programmer start muttering curses under their breath, like Yosemite Sam. But instead of separating the two, let’s lean into it. Let’s look at a set of principles that will make all your work in UX (with a dash of UI) streamlined, simple and elegant…
I really recommend watching the video for further explanation because, “there’s a certain set of rules but there’s also a bit of an art to it. …I’m going to teach you some of the rules that I’ve learned over the last few years in terms of designing UX for user interfaces whether it be websites web apps or mobile apps…” …and also I want you to watch the video. Enjoy!
PS – As always, stick around after the chat for a soothing ride that ends up…in a cemetery!!! I know, right?!