Best Practices For Web Development

Web development being done by a developer

These days, it seems like everyone needs a website to be successful. Whether you’re an individual with a skill to sell or a business hoping to reach a bigger market, web development is likely to be a part of your life at some point. This means the market is booming for up-and-coming coders and software engineers. If you’re hoping to become a developer yourself, here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind as you do your work.

1. Get Used to Planning

Most young professionals are used to flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to projects. But web development is one area where this just won’t work. Jumping into writing code without a plan beforehand is a recipe for disaster, and you’ll find yourself having to go back and re-write over and over again.

You should start every project by identifying a clear goal, whether your employer has identified it or left you to decide what improvements should be made. That goal will then be the umbrella under which you create your plan of attack. You should have an idea of how long it will take to complete your project, and how long you’ve been given to do it. That will help you decide how much time to take on different aspects of design.

2. Keep It Simple

The KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) acronym should be your motto during any project. A lot of developers will waste a lot of valuable time creating overly complicated code and working on unnecessary extra features. Code should always be as straightforward as possible, and should always be solving a specific problem. Consider why you need to optimize the code. Should you focus more on readability or on performance?

The simpler your code is, the easier it will be to fix, and the easier it will be for others to collaborate on the project with you. Having simple code is like having a secured credit card — bugs won’t be invited in as easily. It should be easy to identify what each line of code is for, and if not, include a note to say what it’s for. Remember, just because you’re being given a certain number of hours to complete a job, that doesn’t mean you have to take that long to do it.

3. Achieve Compatibility

Whether you’re building a site for yourself or a client, it’s likely you’ll need it to be compatible across all devices. This means your website should be visible, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing on laptops, tablets, and phones. Your design should be easy to adapt across a plethora of situations and should be easy to go in later and make changes that become necessary as your platform grows.

4. Stick to Norms

Within your industry, there are certain standards for web design that you should understand and keep in mind at all stages of development. For creativity, of course, you’ll have to deviate from the norm quite a bit, but there are some golden rules of development that will always be relevant.

For instance, the layout of the home page is going to be relatively similar to the home page of other websites, simply because there is an intuitive nature to the way your visitors will navigate. Usually, this means the company logo will be in the top left corner, and information or details will be on the top right. There are ways to follow standards while still having a unique result, but having a website that is functional does rely on a certain amount of status quo.

5. Use Common Frameworks

This point is related to the former and is an important aspect to keep in mind, particularly if you’re a beginner in the industry. Chances are, someone has already designed a website similar to what you’re working on now. These frameworks are free to use and will save you a ton of time.

Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the foundation of your design is solid and will function the way you need it to. For beginner developers, this is an essential part of successfully completing your first projects. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel on your first project, and don’t feel like you’re not a “real” coder just because you’re using the solid frameworks of other developers.

6. Stay Flexible

During the coding and development process, there are guaranteed to be situations where you’ll have to think on your feet and make changes that you didn’t foresee during the planning stage. In order to avoid getting stuck on these problems and wasting time trying to find a solution, you’ll have to stay flexible and be prepared to work incrementally.

Plus, chances are, you’ll have to come back and make changes at the end of development, anyway. Some time in the future, whatever you’re designing now is going to be irrelevant and will have to be altered to continue to be usable. It’s impossible to design something perfect on the first try, so stay open to making changes and be prepared to make them. Also, anticipate having to come back incrementally to update features, especially if your project is long term.

7. Keep the User in Mind

No matter how elegant your code is, if the user experience isn’t good, you’ll wind up having to scrap your hard work and start over again. To avoid that situation, it’s best to have the user in mind during all stages of the process. It’s a lot easier to create mock-ups and get user feedback than it is to start from scratch, so include periodic pauses in the process for testing your design on an objective, outside audience. The average user won’t be able to see and appreciate your hard work if they can’t use your product.

Web design can be a lucrative and rewarding career, whether you’re freelancing or working for a business. Use these practices to make sure your development process is water-tight and flawless every time.

Best Practices For Web Development

These days, it seems like everyone needs a website to be successful. Whether you’re an individual with a skill to sell or a business hoping to reach a bigger market, web development is likely to be a part of your life at some point. This means the market is booming for up-and-coming coders and software engineers. If you’re hoping to become a developer yourself, here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind as you do your work.

1. Get Used to Planning

Most young professionals are used to flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to projects. But web development is one area where this just won’t work. Jumping into writing code without a plan beforehand is a recipe for disaster, and you’ll find yourself having to go back and re-write over and over again.

You should start every project by identifying a clear goal, whether your employer has identified it or left you to decide what improvements should be made. That goal will then be the umbrella under which you create your plan of attack. You should have an idea of how long it will take to complete your project, and how long you’ve been given to do it. That will help you decide how much time to take on different aspects of design.

2. Keep It Simple

The KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) acronym should be your motto during any project. A lot of developers will waste a lot of valuable time creating overly complicated code and working on unnecessary extra features. Code should always be as straightforward as possible, and should always be solving a specific problem. Consider why you need to optimize the code. Should you focus more on readability or on performance?

The simpler your code is, the easier it will be to fix, and the easier it will be for others to collaborate on the project with you. Having simple code is like having a secured credit card — bugs won’t be invited in as easily. It should be easy to identify what each line of code is for, and if not, include a note to say what it’s for. Remember, just because you’re being given a certain number of hours to complete a job, that doesn’t mean you have to take that long to do it.

3. Achieve Compatibility

Whether you’re building a site for yourself or a client, it’s likely you’ll need it to be compatible across all devices. This means your website should be visible, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing on laptops, tablets, and phones. Your design should be easy to adapt across a plethora of situations and should be easy to go in later and make changes that become necessary as your platform grows.

4. Stick to Norms

Within your industry, there are certain standards for web design that you should understand and keep in mind at all stages of development. For creativity, of course, you’ll have to deviate from the norm quite a bit, but there are some golden rules of development that will always be relevant.

For instance, the layout of the home page is going to be relatively similar to the home page of other websites, simply because there is an intuitive nature to the way your visitors will navigate. Usually, this means the company logo will be in the top left corner, and information or details will be on the top right. There are ways to follow standards while still having a unique result, but having a website that is functional does rely on a certain amount of status quo.

5. Use Common Frameworks

This point is related to the former and is an important aspect to keep in mind, particularly if you’re a beginner in the industry. Chances are, someone has already designed a website similar to what you’re working on now. These frameworks are free to use and will save you a ton of time.

Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the foundation of your design is solid and will function the way you need it to. For beginner developers, this is an essential part of successfully completing your first projects. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel on your first project, and don’t feel like you’re not a “real” coder just because you’re using the solid frameworks of other developers.

6. Stay Flexible

During the coding and development process, there are guaranteed to be situations where you’ll have to think on your feet and make changes that you didn’t foresee during the planning stage. In order to avoid getting stuck on these problems and wasting time trying to find a solution, you’ll have to stay flexible and be prepared to work incrementally.

Plus, chances are, you’ll have to come back and make changes at the end of development, anyway. Some time in the future, whatever you’re designing now is going to be irrelevant and will have to be altered to continue to be usable. It’s impossible to design something perfect on the first try, so stay open to making changes and be prepared to make them. Also, anticipate having to come back incrementally to update features, especially if your project is long term.

7. Keep the User in Mind

No matter how elegant your code is, if the user experience isn’t good, you’ll wind up having to scrap your hard work and start over again. To avoid that situation, it’s best to have the user in mind during all stages of the process. It’s a lot easier to create mock-ups and get user feedback than it is to start from scratch, so include periodic pauses in the process for testing your design on an objective, outside audience. The average user won’t be able to see and appreciate your hard work if they can’t use your product.

Web design can be a lucrative and rewarding career, whether you’re freelancing or working for a business. Use these practices to make sure your development process is water-tight and flawless every time.

 

Michael Pignataro
co-CEO - Operations at 'corePHP'
Michael spearheads ‘corePHP’s software solutions and service offerings. Focus on sales and marketing for the organization. A huge believer in family and has an amazing wife and 4 beautiful children. Loves camping and hiking.

Michael's philosophy is simple: "If you can dream it, we can do it."

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