We needed to update our website for several years. What we had available since our company started was a Wordpress site my brother and I developed over a weekend six years ago.
Taking this on during a slow time over the July 4th week, I thought I could knock it our pretty quickly...not so fast! To be sure, I encountered many of the classical problems associated with development:
- The consultant who first presented the project to me (aka my daughter) helped me get started, but usually you have to take ownership to get things set-up the way you want.
- When you take existing data and put it into a new platform, in many ways, the platform choice causes you to reshape the data to fit the skin instead of the other way around.
- Sometimes you are tied to integrating into legacy tools (in this case, our Jobs search engine) whether you want to or not.
- Version control is a real problem. Making minor changes often creates massive rework.
- If you really care about the details, it will take a lot of time to get things like you want them (and even then you have to make compromises).
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When I asked my QA team (aka my wife) to look over the site, she tore into some of my proudest features. Understanding I couldn't fire her, I had to listen to what she had to say.
- Perfection is probably not achievable, and even if it was, your perception of perfection probably doesn't mirror that of your audience. Even my own perceptions of things I liked and didn't like evolved as I went through the process.
- The joy of go-live!!
- The re-calibration of your happiness when people who have put one gazillionth of the time you have into this site are able to point out veryobvious issues that can be improved.
- The whole exercise made me appreciate Steve Jobs more...
So, we look forward to our comments. If there is anything you like on the site, you should probably credit my wife and the other people who helped to critique it. If there is something you hate, it is my fault alone.
Whether you are awe-struck or feel pity for the designer of this website, I hope you find reason to do business with us in the future.