I was talking at work recently about Jared Spools comments about designers coding and it sort of spawned this post about how I used coding to my advantage in a really small project. It’s not really related to the argument of should designers code or not. I’ll post my thoughts on that later.

When I was freelance I worked on a fairly long but ever so small project. I produced HTML wireframes using the
Blueprint CSS framework. The client was the end user so that made it fairly easy. They loved it as they could see it evolving right before there eyes. I’d build something and put it up and they would play and feedback.

I never had a conversation with them about signing stuff off they just kept asking for more functionality. Sometimes I’d say I don’t think that will work, but I’ll prototype it for you and we can see if you want. But they paid for the work and then we had something to talk about. Sometimes I’d be right sometimes they would be right, but It’s never about who is right. I got paid because I estimated work in small chunks. They got to try out their ideas on the cheap don’t forget this was a prototype. A win win.

 
When it came to the time for visual design I got the designer to work from the HTML. There was a bit of a problem here as they initially preferred the HTML wireframes and asked for the visual style to be toned down a bit. But that was it.

Then at the end of the project when we had the functionality that we all wanted in place I got the back end guy involved in tying it the back and front end together. I’d been talking to him along the way so he knew what he was getting in to but there was no documentation for him, apart from some comments in the HTML. Now this site wasn’t that big and didn’t have that much interaction. But there was also no formal sign off the client just took the site and owned it. Everyone was happy.

The important thing here was they came on the journey they tried things that didn’t work and they tried things that did. But they knew what was happening. I didn’t disappear and come back to them with a solution. I didn’t start doing that until I started working in an agency environment. But that’s another story.

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