- Rachel DeSantis 10.27.2015
After the term World Wide Web was coined in 1990, web application and software development experienced a huge boom. Static HTML pages evolved into dynamic, complex business applications and software. As a result, talented and experienced web and software developers became a necessity for organizations of all sizes. However, despite the wealth of printed and digital resources as well as the variety of practices, patterns, and platforms, web developers tend to get themselves stuck in different situations.
The following are five common web development mistakes you’re bound to make (or already have made) during your life and career as a developer.
If there’s one thing you should know about clients, it’s that they tend to change their expectations and requirements quite often. Unfortunately, this can lead to an ugly situation, wasting both the time and effort of both parties. For instance, when the scope of work changes and you ask for more money, your client may not be as understanding and may eventually decide to abandon the project altogether, which can affect your reputation as a professional. On the other hand, not asking for more can lower your morale and harm the quality of the project. And the last thing you’d want is to have your name associated with mediocre work.
The best way around this is to communicate with your clients early on to establish what the priorities are. Follow the lead of experienced web and software developers and state the minimum price to be at least 15% lower than the highest price your client is willing to pay. That way, you can meet the basic requirements easily and still have enough leftover to pay the expenses of additional details, should they arise.
Web development and web design tend to go hand in hand. Unfortunately, if the client’s designer is a bit slow, you may end up spending more time and effort on a single project. After all, the designer may have some great ideas in mind, which means more work for you and revised requirements. Similarly, not having the site’s content in hand can delay the launch of the site and/or some of its features.
Having both client and designer on the project at an early stage will spare you from a lot of hassle. Besides, together, you can show the client that his/her requirements have been followed thoroughly. Moreover, your client will get to see a working prototype of the site, offering more concrete feedback and avoiding wasting everyone’s time altogether.
First, let’s tackle clarity. Clients who had hired web or software developers in the past know the importance of being specific and detailed about their expectations for the final product. However, many of them do not understand just how specific they should be. This can lead to the first problem on this list since changes will end up costing more down the line.
As for requirements that need to be changed, this situation takes place when certain critical features are overlooked or not thoroughly specified. This can cause your work to halt while you renegotiate your contract. Again, this means more costs and ultimately leads to delays, two things your clients won’t be happy about. As for you, you’ll be annoyed at the fact that you have to stop what you’re doing and spend days talking business.
The third requirements-related issue is their inflexibility, which may prevent the change to a more suitable solution. While building the site, you may decide that a different approach or platform may be a better idea. While it’s great that you’re considering offering value to your clients, you may realize the need for a change quite late. At that point, you’ll either have to suffer knowing you delivered a less than optimal site or go back, negotiate with your client, and put yourself at the risk of cancelation.
To resolve these issues, simply scrap the requirements. While this may go against everything you learned back in school, it’s actually more important that you agree with clients on what’s being purchased and ultimately delivered. There are many variables coming your way, most of which you’ll come across when the project is well underway. Therefore, invest more time in identifying possible pitfalls of the project first to avoid losing time, effort, and money. Next, coach your clients on identifying the projects’ goals and rank them by priority. Based on this, you can streamline both the project’s requirements and budget.
“How would anyone find my website?” “My small business hasn’t even been launched, so why should I worry about hackers?” “My informational site isn’t as attractive as eCommerce sites when it comes to hackers!” – These are just some of the statements clients provide while discussing the need for securing their sites. Unfortunately, even sites with no assets of value, credit card information, or confidential information can be targeted to deliver malware to visitors. As a result, they can affect users’ experience and ultimately render your site worthless.
For this problem, communication is essential. You should relay to your client the importance of securing their website. You can strengthen your argument with statistics, case studies, and a variety of facts and figures. The more information you use to beef up your argument, the more likely your client will accept securing their website early on rather than after an attack.
Problems 1-3 are a surefire way of delaying the launch of your development project. However, there are other things in the mix that could hassle developers and clients alike. For instance, developers have other clients who demand their attention while clients can have a list of corrections they want made almost instantly. When pressured to deliver within a certain time frame, developers can forgo some important practices such as conducting multiple white box and black box tests. As a result, the launch means more work, especially if the site crashes or users find bugs.
To tackle this issue, create a basic version of the site to launch into cyberspace. In the meantime, work hard to complete the main version. Though the idea of starting with a mediocre site can ruffle many feathers, it’s better than not having a finished product at all. Besides, it’ll give you the chance to get everything in order and produce the great site or application your client expects.
These are just some of MANY problems you can face during web and software development. Unfortunately, the difficult web development journey doesn’t end with the launch of the project and you still have to worry about maintaining and upgrading your deliverable. Therefore, stay posted to learn from the pros and easily avoid such time-wasting and costly mistakes.