I've been tinkering with code since I was eleven years old, and building websites since I was thirteen. I fell in love with the process of cutting up a two-dimensional design and turning it into something functional — something logical. There's something therapeutic about it for me. It's important for me, though, to make sure I don't get carried away with the details and forget about what we're doing for the client: creating a useful and immersive experience for everyday people.
Of course, it's important to make sure things load quickly, your code looks pretty, and things are left as simple as possible. Often though, we forget that we — the developers — are people, too. We're among those that visit websites on a daily basis.
It's obvious that we have our preferences for how things should work, appreciation for certain aesthetics, and pet peeves that eat away at us every minute we're on a site. Despite our best efforts, our own individual personalities permeate into the work we do.
I, for one, am guilty of making things more complicated just for the sake of entertaining myself. Sometimes it's animating something for absolutely no benefit beyond somebody saying "that looks kinda nifty." Other times, I'll sprinkle on some extra work that most people would never visually observe, but notice the difference if it wasn't there. These are my own unique touches I like to put on every project I'm a part of because I believe that it makes a difference.
I'll put my hand on my heart and tell you that if I was asked to design a website, we would probably get a good laugh about the end result. But that's okay, because that's not what I do for a living. I'm responsible for the more technically-oriented portion of the website building process. That said, I like to consider myself a bit of an artist — bridging the gap between user experience and front-end development.
Designers may cringe at the notion that these embellishments could be considered a form of art. However, I think I'd get a collective nod from my fellow developers — be it from those in a front-end or a back-end discipline. We have options for the work we do; we can either build things in a linear, succinct approach, or we can choose to spend an extra ten minutes here and there to make it truly astonishing. It's all in the mind of the developer.
So next time you're browsing a website and notice that it feels a bit different...a bit better, just know in the back of your head that a developer somewhere was hoping you'd observe their work as "a cut above."
Wes is a Front-End Developer at Charlotte's leading digital marketing agency, Union.