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We’ve reached out to developers and designers quite often here at WPMU DEV. Their insights have been invaluable. But today, our focus is a bit different.
We approached devs with one question: What’s your funniest confession about being a developer or designer?
Their answers are varied. Some relate to process and others deal with mistakes and missteps. Regardless, however, one thing remains a constant in the responses you’re about to read: they’re pretty dang funny. And at the very least will make you feel a little bit better about how you approach business.
That’s quite enough blathering. We’ve categorized the “confessions” for easier browsing and to point out that there are definitely commonalities between some of the funnier bits of the WordPress development world.
Now, let’s get on with the good stuff.
Not Following Your Own Advice
A common theme that came up when talking to several developers was a tendency to not follow your own advice. So, while these developers and designers might advocate for a variety of things for their clients (and maybe even write blog posts about them), when it comes to implementing similar strategies for their own businesses, it just doesn’t happen.
Lack of time could certainly be a factor here. I mean, when you’re spending most of your work hours completing client work, it’s hard to allot time for your own business. Even so, it’s almost refreshing when experienced professionals don’t always tick off every “must-have” box.
Laird Sapir, owner of the boutique web design firm, Memphis McKay, always codes her client’s sites from scratch but when it came to her own website…not so much.”I put that baby together in like the 30 minutes I had free last summer,” she says.
“I put that baby together in like the 30 minutes I had free last summer,” she says.
The “do as I say, not as I do” well runs deep, it seems. Sapir also makes it a point to get her clients “firmly on board with getting an email list,” she says. But does she have an email list? A one-word answer will suffice. “Nope.”
Another developer admits that after 13 years of building websites, she’s never had her own. Though she still manages to be “run off [her] feet.”
Now, That’s Just Unfortunate
Many developers have their business practices nice and tidy but the small details slip them by. Typos were a common theme that came up among the devs I talked to. And though that’s the sort of mistake that pops up across numerous industries, it can make for a very prominent “oops” when featured in a completed design.
Stephenie Van Doleweerd, a web designer and developer, once made a header for a client’s site that read “Embrace your life’s inner porpoise.” She blames a lack of coffee that day for the error.
Jason King, a developer who builds WordPress sites for non-profits, has a similar story. “I subcontracted some work to a graphic designer,” he says, noting the assignment was to create a banner that said “Ecumenical Council.” However, the finished banner read “Ecumental Council,” and he ended up sending it to the client, “without noticing the mistake.”
What’s Said Behind Closed Doors
Sometimes, developers’ biggest confessions simply have to do with how they approach client communication. That is, it might not always be “all business” behind-the-scenes.
Take Telly Ipock, for example. Principal at LinearTech, a web development firm, relayed a story of how her team was once working on a site for a client. Specifically, they were completing the mobile view of the site. “We haven’t heard from them on any feedback for a long time,” she says, so instead of pushing it further, her response was golden:
“If they are not responsive, their website doesn’t need to be either.”
Forgetting the Essentials
Being a developer or a designer means spending countless hours at the computer, poring over every little detail for your client’s sites. However, sometimes things – especially administrative or personal business things – are lost in the shuffle.
Jason King offered another confession I couldn’t help but include. In fact, he didn’t just forget to update his website; he forgot he even had a website. The content was of course massively out-of-date, too.
While Sarah DaSilva, owner-operator at SuperPowered Web, didn’t forget she had a site, she did forget to maintain the services that make it, you know, accessible to the public. “Not very long ago my website was down for like a week solid because I had forgotten to renew my domain,” she says.
I’d say “oops,” again, but I’m afraid I’ll start to sound like a Britney Spears song.
What Are Your Confessions?
So what’s the point of compiling these confessions, these sordid tales of dev and design mistakes, these woeful yarns of developer tragedy? Well, besides giving us a chance to be melodramatic, it also helps to highlight the fact that we’re all human. Even the most polished professionals make mistakes sometimes. They miss things on occasion. They screw up. And they don’t always take their own advice.
But you know what? That’s okay. And it’s our hope you’ve walked away today feeling a little bit more confident in your work. Because, really, who’s perfect?
Now we want to hear from you. What’s your biggest confession as a developer or designer? Let us know in the comments below.