Every web developer is looking to build their skillset up to holding a larger knowledgebase. The understanding of various backend languages can prove useful as you move into other areas involved with building websites. Even many frontend developers are getting into scripting languages for the benefits of user experience.
In this article I want to discuss a few techniques for launching websites quickly. This is the process of wireframing a concept and quickly building the entire layout from start to finish. Getting this online can take days if you are waiting for the domain registrar. But following a planned method and schedule you can quickly put together amazing projects within very short bursts of time.
Follow a Routine Plan
By starting with a schedule you can quickly knock out a lot of insecurities right off the bat. Developers can often fall behind schedule from bug fixes or unforeseen problems with technology. So at times a routine may still not go along as planned.
However I would argue that looking over your goals in a scheduled format will provide a more personal attachment to the work. You may notice yourself more willing to jump through hoops and get things working for the sake of the schedule. Be sure that you aren’t sacrificing quality for time limits – but as long as everything gets done there isn’t much to feel guilty about or worry over.
Schedules are also the best method for fixing a daily work routine. Trudging into the office or workspace can be draining in many ways. But if you have a formatted list of tasks to accomplish, it is more likely you can push through on these low-energy days. The rewards of completing tasks for long-term projects feel enormous in comparison.
Skip the Nitty-Gritty Details
Another pitfall which freelancers commonly overlook are the perfectionists. It is very unrealistic to plan out every website layout to be in its perfect state before shipping. This would require an exceptional level of skill and finesse on both design and frontend development. Plus you would be pulling feedback and results from others, waiting to launch and pushing it off further.
When I mention the details I do not include important assets into the layout. Objects such as the menu icons, date badges, and extra little design snippets. But you can hold off adding design styles which do not pertain immediately into the website interface. These may include background illustrations, fancy image captions, jQuery animations, etc.
If you have some of these ideas planned from the start then you should try to include them. But it is worth noting that when time is more important, these extras should be left for another day. Getting a functional website online quickly will at times be more important than constructing additional design aesthetics.
Build What You Know
The open source movement has dramatically changed how we build websites. Starting from scratch is always an option, but there are so many templates you could choose from. Even a bare-bones HTML template can offer more alternatives than an empty document. I usually recommend Github for solutions but recently I have found another exceptional website.
CodeVisually is a user-submitted gallery of tools and resources for web developers. Many of these items are open source code libraries and jQuery plugins, but also web tools and frameworks. There are plenty of free open source HTML and CSS projects you could look into. You may be surprised how many solutions you can find!
Understand Each Project’s Needs
When you get into planning a full project life cycle you’ll need to know the details intimately. Ask your client(s) plenty of questions in order to understand the full picture. What are their expectations for a completion date? Do they explicitly need any design styles within the layout or branding?
By putting together a clear path for execution it will make your job a lot easier. This means you can space out a few days for wireframing, then a couple more for design mockups, and finishing up with the coding. The most efficient method of project management is to plan each stage along the way. Know when to move on from details and pick up the next piece.
This will definitely require some practice, but you do not need to wait and land a freelancing gig first. If you have the time give yourself a demo project to build from scratch and setup a time limit. This will be much less stressful and you can still learn very important lessons. These strategies are not unique to web development, but the Internet does provide a much different business model.
Understanding when to adapt your mode of development is very important. Some projects will not even have a required timeframe and this allows for much more flexibility. But on the flip side, this is generally not the “norm” and it is good to have realistic expectations for your work.
I do hope this article may provide some interesting points to think about. I know these techniques are not for everybody and do not pertain towards every developer. But I do believe that speed is an important factor in certain situations. It is crucial that you understand why some clients may value speed, and how to push out work without getting caught up in the minute details.
Following just one or two of these ideas may prove fruitful over future projects. Once you learn to adapt new skills it can be much easier generating creative works. I have always supported the idea of rapid prototyping, and it is easy applying the same principles onto the creative process. If you have any similar ideas or questions feel free to share with us in the discussion area below.