My secret wish


Is to become a front end developer.

I've always dabbled, teaching myself HTML and making tacky websites littered with animated GIFs back in the early 2000s. Playing wish CSS ZenGarden. Mastering animation tweens in Flash (thanks for nothing Apple).

Tacky websites and animated GIFs may be back en vogue, but the way we develop those websites has changed a lot over the years. And I found that my time was relegated to design – my field of expertise, leaving the dev up to the real experts. It definitely helps to have a bit of knowledge in how to design a website, which is why the transition for a traditional print designer over to web is not so simple. And I do have that knowledge. But it's not enough. I want to do it all.

Time-after-time I have gotten a website back from dev and I can't stand to even look at it. I painstakingly design every pixel in my PSD. Every paragraph is set just so. I've set up a meticulous grid. I've gotten client approval on my beautiful not-yet-coded JPEGS. And then I get it back and break down in tears. Often it's details that the client itself doesn't even notice. After rounds of feedback with dev, they don't get everything, and eventually budget restrictions put the brakes on any more tweaks. These details keep me up at night, burying myself under the covers of shame. It hurts so much. 

I have had the pleasure of working with a couple front-end developers who 'get it'. What a joy this is. But they are few and far between. So if you have one/know one: cherish. Never let them go. More often it's a back-end, super duper smart programmy dude (sometimes gal) who winds up doing the front end dev themselves. They don't consider it real programming because, well, compared to what their brains can compute, it's a cake walk. But there is so much skill and finesse involved in translating a flat design into code. Often they just don't see the difference between 20 pixels and 30 pixels because it's just not how they work. But I do. Oh I do.

Good design is almost an intangible. For most people, they know it when they see it, but can't describe it. It facilitates and makes life easier. It doesn't get in the way. It's just there. They don't know what it is. But there it is.

And this is why I want to hone up on my CSS and HTML. So that I can be that bridge. I want to sleep at night. And to see my vision through. Where ever I get the opportunity, I will learn. The internet is such and incredible resource now. There are so many free tutorials and videos. Perhaps I'll take a course at the local college. Or attend a #ladieslearningcode event. A year from now, I want to be able to supply my own stylesheets. That is my wish. That is my mish. Mission...that is my mission.

For those of you designing websites, feeling the same, you should watch Jessica Hische's video. She is so awesome. Do it.