Evening coding

With lots of interesting client work on at the moment, I’ve decided to spend some evening time moving along the next version of Done by When. This is nothing too stressful, but the project is getting really interesting now. I think I’m over the initial conceptual learning curve and now I’m making proper progress.

Where the launch version of Done by When was primarily a working proof of concept, this next version is about attention to detail and responsiveness (that’s the speed of interactions as opposed to the adaptive layout stuff that’s already in place).

I feel like I’m properly upgrading something when I’m spending as much time removing code as I am writing it new.

More updates soon.

On appropriate design for an appropriate budget

ON Health Osteopath BristolI’ve just launched a simple website for a friend, and in part it was a pleasure to work on because we weren’t trying to re-invent the wheel. All it needed was clean and clear communication and the functionality for her to maintain the site herself.

Only a few years ago, this would have been a messy and much more expensive process, but with open source software as the foundation (WordPress in this case) a small budget can deliver a decent product if you trust your web developer. This is particularly true of location based businesses; Claire is an Osteopath working in Bristol, so doesn’t need the most amazing osteopathy website in the whole world – just a slightly better website than the other osteopaths working in the same area.

In this scenario, good communication is the avoidance of bad communication. This is a subtle but important distinction when trying to communicate on a limited budget. This website won’t win her business, instead it will reduce the potential loss of business that no website, or a badly designed website would have had. Her business will still come from the quality of treatment and patient care she offers.

Even at this ‘entry’ level of web design and build it’s possible to ship quality code. This is a bespoke, HTML5, CSS3, responsive design, and including all configuration, installation, testing, populating, image sourcing etc still came in at just 30 hours work.

It would have taken longer (and cost more) if for example Claire had wanted to debate 6 different types of headline font; and this is the key to appropriate design. We could easily have spent three times as long iterating design concepts, but this would not change the marketplace in which Claire’s messaging needs to operate.

If you’re working on a limited budget, find a developer/team you can trust and talk to them about what you want to achieve. In their hands, your money can go much further.

On cheap plastic disposable Union Jacks

This is not a comment on the queen, the monarchy, or even the jubilee celebrations, but it’s something I observed during the recent weekend of national festivity.

Nearly all the flags I saw being waved were disposable; cheap plastic throwaway items destined for landfill. These flags, like the oil from which they are derived weren’t even made in the country they claim to support.

I think this is an important indicator of the society living in Britain today. And that’s deliberately the ‘society living in Britain’ rather than ‘British Society’ as I don’t think this behaviour is unique to this country at all.

Regardless of my views on flags themselves, it would have sent a very different message if people had spent a few extra pounds on something of quality construction. Something that supported the British textiles industry. Something they could treasure and re-use. Something they could pass onto future generations.

Maybe these people really are blind to the built in obsolescence our retailers love to cash-in on. Or maybe it’s a subconscious representation about how patriotic they really feel.

Whether consciously, or unconsciously, the purchase of these cheap disposable flags says a lot about patriotism today.

Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing is another matter altogether.