Four Things Independent Web Developers Must Understand

The digital revolution has been the defining technological motif of the last two decades. Up until now, it’s been all about building the infrastructure and staking virtual claims my buying domain names and building websites. But now, the digital frontier is fully inhabited. The goal now is to outshine the competition- like competing casinos on a Las Vegas strip.

The goal of marketers today is to create smoother, friendlier, more appealing websites that work on the greatest possible channels. That means pursuing excellence in web design. For well funded teams, the challenge isn’t so much one of effort as it is of time. But for the independent dev, things are a bit more serious. What independent devs need to understand are the four corners of digital excellence. They are; equal investment in mobile and desktop applications, the ability to deliver quality and speed, an unbending commitment to persistent testing, and the broad use of automation.

Roughly 20% of all transactions carried out via the Internet are done through smartphones. Of course, we know that smartphones are not the only mobile devices out there. There are webbooks, tablets, and so on. It’s no mystery that websites that are not optimized for these smaller screens will not be very attractive to users on tiny mobile devices. According to the Digital Global Blog, ” … there are a lot of people who prefer to shop online rather than visit traditional stores.” And many of them are going to do both. Therefore, developers who are not investing time and effort into mobile friendly pages and features are really only doing half of their job.

Next is aesthetics. Websites that expect to attract and hang onto eyeballs need to be pretty. They need to be clean, simple, easy to understand and pleasant to look at. But they need to do this while also remaining snappy and responsive. Ugly and fast is bad. Pretty and slow is worse. It’s up to developers to strike the proper balance.

Then there’s the need for relentless testing. When it comes to creating complex software products, there’s always something unexpected on the production end- not to mention user experience. That means constant testing has to be more than mandatory- it needs to be an obsession.

Finally, there’s the need for robust and multitudinous automation. The more users have to do for themselves, the more annoyed they will become. People expect convenience- it’s somewhat of a hedonistic treadmill that we’re all on- if we’re frank.

These are the checking points that devs should be mindful of at all times. Anything less, doesn’t cut the mustard.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.