Why it is nearly impossible to build an award website from scratch alone

The technology is growing day by day and things changes extremely quickly. Nowadays building an awesome website from scratch is far more complex then it used to be 10 years ago, so the next time you open your browser and start judging the persons that build the website, or point out that you can build everything alone, think twice.


Introduction

This short article is a thought, followed by some hypothesis that are not based on science. We will focus more on the Front-end part, which is usually the part more visible and the part that most websites are judged for. For an award website is meant all those sites that won awards such as the Webby Awards or Awwward, these websites are custom and unique. Let’s make some examples:

http://www.navigatingresponsibly.dk
http://www.nowyouseeme.movie

Those two website examples are award winning websites on Awwwards at the time this article is written (may 2016). The above websites will be used as examples throughout the article. Note that technology and trends are evolving very quickly, so what is considered an award website our days will probably not be within few years from now. The key message to leave with is that building those websites alone is far a reality.

Why it is so hard

Not so far, time ago, there was no VR, no WebGL in the browser, no CSS and SVG animations, nor so large bandwidth, no wearables and smartphones, no websites build entirely using JavaScript, no retina display. It used to be a lot easier building a website, there were few browsers, fewer things to think about and you needed fewer skills. You may argue about the old Internet Explorer rendering the life a little bit harder or Flash letting you create rich and interactive websites, but even then you had fewer things to worry about. The average website used to be build with CSS & HTML alone, they were simpler and less interactive.

As today, things changed, we see daily super interactive websites, with VR, real-time 3D (WebGL), rich SVG and CSS animations and adaptable to all kind of screen sizes. You may look at one of these award winning websites, and ask yourself, why my website isn’t so cool, why my developer can’t build a website like this, or worst, you may be convinced that you will be able to build everything by your own.

The fact is that nowadays it’s nearly impossible to build alone a website from scratch, It was true time ago. Let’s assume you already have the back-end software, like a WordPress installation or any other software, that will ease a lot your life, now let’s focus on the front-end part.

As introduced before, nowadays we have huge, bold and rich interactive user experience websites. Let’s assume we wanna build one of these award winning websites by our own. below is listed a checklist and the skills you should have:

  • Art Direction (Creativity & the Idea)
  • Graphic Design (Illustrator or whatever)
  • HTML5 & CSS3 for the template
  • Cross-browser testing
  • SEO
  • Copywriting
  • 3D and VR (WebGL)
  • JavaScript
  • GIT
  • Bower, Gulp, NPM, SASS, LESS …
  • Web Semantics (OpenGraph, Microdata …)
  • UX
  • Accessibility

As you can see this list is huge and there are a lot of things you should be good at. You may try to do everything by your own, but the fact is that it’s more likely you’ll leverage those skills, but you will never be a master in all these areas at once. Focus and become a master in one area.

These award winning websites are build by a group of very specialised people. A typical team may be composed by a Project Manager, a Graphic Designer, a Front-End developer, a Back-End developer, a Marketing expert (SEO, Social Media) and the Copywriter guy. Do you still think you can do the job of all these people at once? It is difficult to be a generalist.

Conclusion

To wrap-up what was said so far I would like to summarise and give you some ideas and thoughts to leave with.

First: the next time you look at a website, don’t start judging or get angry, instead be humble, try to understand what is you don’t like, what are the things that don’t work, then get in touch with who’ve built the website and let them know, because building an website is not so easy these days.

Second: if you still think you can build a award winning website alone please go above at the beginning and read again. All those cool websites require a lot of time, creativity and skills, which you are more likely to leverage, but still It’s nearly impossible to be a master in all those areas.

Third: if you build websites, get good at one thing, focus on one thing, don’t be a generalist.

Fourth and the most important thing is that if you want to build an awesome website you need to find a great team to work with, grow together. It will still be hard, it will take a lot time and energy but it is far more realistic to build an award winning website.

Last modified date: 05/06/2016