Why Web Development Shouldn’t Focus Too Much On HTML And CSS
A lot of people working within the web development industry seem to be obsessed with HTML and CSS at the moment – they spend hours of their days watching tutorials, reading discussions and trialling out new things with the coding language. But, with this excessive amount of time being spent on improving your skills in HTML and CSS, are there other areas of your career that are getting neglected? The answer to this question is most likely, and here are the common areas developers often forget about:
Somehow, along the evolution of the internet and the introduction of web design companies, it was decided that content was the client’s problem. But a website’s content is not only the text that we see on a given page – it includes everything, from images and video to audio and even functionality. And, at the end of the day, can you really say that all these things are the responsibility of the client? No. Working in the web development industry requires you to provide your clients with what they need (and demand) – failure to do this will lead to them looking elsewhere for their web development work.
Traditionally, knowing a user’s context was fairly simple –people surfed the internet at their desktop computers, in the relative quiet of their office or home study. Many people in the web development industry wrongly assume that the same context exists today, but this really is not the case – these days, people surf the internet using a laptop, smart phone or a tablet device and they may be on public transport or surrounded by their noisy kids. It is imperative that web developers take this new, emerging context into account in their work.
Unfortunately, many people in the web development industry do not see customer service as an important part of their job – they see it as something that is received at a restaurant or a department store. The reality of the situation, however, is that customer service is at the heart of everything we do – regardless of whether we work at Target or for a web design company. Remember that, through building a website for a client, you are offering them a service and it is highly important to be pleasant and professional, even if the client’s lack of understanding is driving you up the wall.
Believe it or not, psychology has a big grounding in the web development industry and should not be neglected for other obsessions – whatever work you do on a website should be informed by a knowledge of how people think. Not only will this help you to build better websites that users want to peruse on a regular basis, it will enable you to get inside the head of your clients and understand what it is they really need.
Back in the day, building a website for a client was easy – they came to you, you built them a website that sold whatever service or product they happened to have, and they went on their way happy. These days, there is a lot more emphasis on business objectives, success criteria, calls to action, social media, user engagement, and search engine optimisation (also known as SEO). Whilst those who are involved in the web development process do not have to worry so much about these focuses, it can create issues for a web developer (as it can hold up the creation of a website or cause things to be changed after it has gone live).
With all of these other important areas affecting the web development process, why would you then place so much focus on HTML and CSS? Whilst learning new coding skills is important, it should not occur at the neglect of the other important areas of your career, such as customer service, psychology, content and context. Instead of beginning to neglect HTML and CSS, however, you need to strike the right balance.