Do it better.

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This morning I was skimming a speaker deck on ‘Automating Front-End Workflow‘ by Andy Osmani. While there are a ton of great resources for workflow in this deck and a lot of things I’d like to learn one day, there is a line on an early slide that stuck with me.

First do it. Then do it right. Then do it better.

I remember a conversation not long ago with ArleyM where we were discussing a project nearing completion, saying “Imagine if we could go back and re-write this code, we could make it so much better” (or something to that effect). While it might not be practical or economical to do this when you reach the end of a project I think there are ways we can do it from the start.

The web industry is moving towards creating wireframes, mockups and prototypes all in browser rather than using traditional tools that output static visuals. I think this move can help us follow the do it, do it right, do it better approach.

If we consider in browser wireframes as the first stage of this process and use a framework or write some rough code to get a quick prototype in place we’re essentially ‘doing it’. It’s not pretty or well written, but it’s there.

The creative stage is next. This is where we polish the visuals and take a first pass at re-writing and optimizing some of the code. Not only will our site take shape aesthetically but it is a great opportunity to re-visit the code we’ve written or borrowed in our wireframe stage. If this step is done by a second person, even better. Fresh eyes on the project at this stage will bring a new perspective to the code.

The development stage is where we take what we’ve learned from our code so far and refine it, re-factor it and optimize it. I think there’s a need at this point for tighter collaboration between everyone involved in the project. Maybe a discussion about what is working well so far and what needs improvement is in order.

This sounds challenging. and in agency environment it would mean the strategy and creative departments have a bit more hands on experience writing some basic HTML and CSS, but I think the result will be a better, more polished product.

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