Saving Time & Web Design
"Let's just waste away the hours, Tweet all day, and message friends on Facebook with the latest Trol lo lo video mash-up while I put my project on the back burner."
That’s not what I am promoting... and I’m definitely not pointing the finger at Social Media/Networking either as the cause for such things. This is about Saving Time, productivity, getting things done and the benefits this saved time can provide. It’s about how we use the resources available to us appropriately, when to use these resources, how often and to what benefit.
How does saving time benefit us and our clients?
It allows us to:
1. Innovate & Explore – As the internet and its associated technologies evolve, so should your skill-set. Designing and developing new interfaces and testing their functionality takes time.
2. Improve – Improvements can be made to coding techniques or even by developing upon existing skills by utilizing the latest best practices. (http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html).
Why struggle when there could be an easier, quicker way of achieving the same result, if not a better one? Why build from scratch when you could have tried and tested foundations in place? Good questions. Here’s an insight into how we do things at Eyekiller, after the design is ready to be built.
How we save time
After the initial stages of gauging the client’s needs, site architecture, wire-framing and a selection of other processes, we still use ‘Pen and paper’. It’s just better. The visuals are printed out and important parts of the design are labelled such as dimensions, defining which headings are H1, H2, H3, etc. This all helps to speed up the process once you get your teeth stuck into coding the design.
2. Website Checklist
Over time we have built up a website checklist to ensure standards are met, both before and after launch. There are a couple of other good ones out there already that you can change to your exacting needs like the ones found at Box and Hobo
We have developed our own frameworks for both HTML and CSS which do away with a lot of unnecessary code and in turn downloads much quicker than others we have investigated. To get you started there is a video over at Vimeo and an excellent writeup from Lee Munroe
We still use Firefox for developing, although Google Chrome is almost there and could be a viable option soon. Here is a good list from Mashable
There’s a lot to be said for experience. You can foresee many problems and that is invaluable at the Design stage. There’s not much you can do about this if you’ve just started out developing websites, but give it time and you won’t have to keep Googling nasty hacks and fixes. This in turn can significantly reduce the amount of time spent browser testing.
6. Browser Testing
We have used quite a few testing platforms such as Adobe’s Browser Labs, Browser Shots and Browser Cam but there is no substitute for the real thing. We use Virtual Machines with various operating systems installed on each. This not only allows us to troubleshoot problems quickly as they occur, but it also highlights little known hurdles such as those found in assorted Service Packs and the differences found in 32 and 64 bit Operating Systems.
7. Utilising Social Networks
I did bate Social Networking at the beginning of this article but there is always time for a bit of Social Networking here at Eyekiller. Keeping in touch with peers, learning those new techniques and keeping touching base with clients. Invaluable really!
There is no right or wrong way of working and it’s always good to get some inside information on how people work, otherwise, how can we improve?
How do you save time? What do you do with your saved time? Like to share any tips or advice?
Links for further reading:
Stop Over-Scheduling! How to Take Back Your Time
20 Time-Saving Tips to Improve Designer’s Workflow