Set Yourself Up with These 8 Web Development Best Practices
Web development is as much art as it is science. There’s often not one right way to go about achieving an end, especially if you’re looking at building something unique. There are, however, practices that are known to deliver better experiences for users. By shaping your website design and function to those practices, you can build something completely unique that is still approachable and intuitive for users. Walking that line is the key to being effective. Here are eight best practices that make a big difference. Let’s take them two at a time.
First and most important, you need to understand the big picture. What is the project trying to accomplish? Who is it for? What are their needs? There are a lot of developers who love coding so much they go in without a plan, and that will lead to problems down the road. Where should you start? That brings us to the second vital practice, which is putting the user’s experience first. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your code is if the user has a hard time navigating the site it builds.
Web development is about efficiency, so your third core principle is to work smarter, not more. Elegant code that avoids redundant functions or unneeded features will suit your project more than bloated code that doubles back on itself. It will also be easier to debug and to alter when it’s time to update the site. Along with that principle is the practice of using existing practices. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just figure out what you need to do and what practices will deliver that experience. Sometimes you’ll need to blaze a new trail, but if you don’t have to do it, don’t.
By using existing practices you’re comfortable with and building elegant code, you set yourself up for the next two points. Efficient code is easier to make nimble, and nimble code is easier to alter when you need to increase security or add features. Along with keeping your code nimble is considering the future. Understand your project’s likely development in the medium and long-term, but don’t be preoccupied with it.
That brings us to the last two points. Build testable code and decide what you are going to optimize it for. You can’t do everything in a single project no matter how much web development experience you have. There are always trade-offs. When you decide how you’re going to optimize, you choose the things your audience needs you to do well. When you build testable code, you make it easier to be sure you’re accomplishing everything you set out to do. And that’s really what these practices are about.