Shelley Bassett



Why I’m drawn to web development

September 7, 2018

Web development has been a big part of my life for years. But what keeps me coming back? These are the top 4 reasons I love web dev.

It’s no secret I’m passionate about all things internet. Just the other week I launched yet another website, and I’m already thinking about the next one. But my passion for web development goes back years. I’d probably pin sometime during high school as it being cemented as a part of me, but there’s enough evidence to suggest that web dev was always going to be a part of me.

Some of my earliest memories are watching my dad working on a computer, or being allowed to mess around with MS Paint. The mouse ball always stuck, and the internet made a ridiculous noise when it connected, but I loved every second.

Despite my young introduction to computers, it wasn’t until university that I really fell in love with the idea of being a developer. And it’s only recently that I’ve realised what this could mean for my career and day-to-day life. Earlier this year I lamented the lack of creativity online within the business world, but now I have my sights set slightly differently. Designing and building Coloretur has been instrumental in this recent change.

The finished Coloretur website

The finished Coloretur website

I built quickly and confidently. It was a real joy to just push something out and let it belong to the internet. And in doing so, I discovered 4 key reasons that I keep coming back to web development projects.

1. It’s never finished

I struggle so hard with the idea of being done. I hate deadlines and submitting things. There’s always something that needs tweaking, or one more step for proper search engine optomisation. But my recent stint blogging, and then the development of Coloretur has shown me that web design is an ongoing process. In fact, to convince myself to release Coloretur, I had to make a “Work In Progress” list of things that I would roll out in the future. Before, I used to make a Things That Are Not Perfect list and stress over trying to reach the bottom.

Changing my mindset from anxious to get it over with to a more relaxed it’ll be in the next feature rollout has been amazing. And it’s meant that I’m producing better content more regularly. My analytics are reflecting this, and my work ethic is too. There’s nothing wrong with never finishing. The problem comes from never releasing. I’m not finished with any of the websites I manage, but they’re all live and gaining traffic. Ongoing projects seem to work well for me, and the internet is just one giant ongoing project.

2. There’s more to learn

Every day I get email updates telling me about the next big thing. I follow forums that discuss where the internet is going and how we’ll be using it in the future. There’s always a new device, technology, language, usability method, something to learn. And this appeals to my brain. I’m not big on repeating tasks I know how to do. Instead, I like exploring new applications and pushing my knowledge base a little further.

Looking at Coloretur again, I pushed myself to work with AJAX functions, something I wasn’t super confident in. It was something I found confusing and difficult, but when it came to actually building my design, it was obvious that this was the necessary technology.

Learning by collaboration and research has become one of my favourite tools

3. Gamifying Work

The term gamification is thrown around a lot, but it basically boils down to the idea that we’re turning more and more aspects of our lives into systems that resemble games. Now, I love games. I’ve made games, and I play a wide variety of games. But web analytics and social media has transformed work into a game. I have to design better, build better and market better. It’s no longer enough to just finish a website, now it has to be mobile friendly, lightning fast and the top ranked hit on Google. I find more and more that I’m competing against myself to try and make a better product.

On my whiteboard at work, in bold green letters, is the phrase be better. Not only do I have analytics and insights to show me my growth (or lack of), but I also have a constant reminder that I need to one-up myself. Yes, this could very quickly spiral out of control, but there’s one simple rule that must be abided. Only look at your own data. I’m not trying to be better than Apple or Facebook, I’m just trying to be better than past me. And it’s paying off. I’m out-designing and out-building, and most importantly out-publishing, my previous works.

4. Art meets Tech

Probably the biggest reason I love web design is the overwhelming combination of art and design with technology and code. I adore creativity and self-expression. My methods change depending on mood, but doing something traditionally creative has always been how I’ve balanced the math/science heavy influence of my education. But in studying design, and majoring in web development, I found a place where they coexist perfectly.

I couldn’t tell you which part of building a website I enjoy the most. I look forward to making mock-ups as much as forming the first lines of code. And this is the reason I return time and time again to the allure of web development. It’s art meets science in the best possible way. It’s creating something beautiful and functional, but also something both of its time and ever evolving. This is what really keeps me coming back project after project.