My web design challenge

I had spent quality time learning front end design using Dreamweaver — HTML/CSS and a little of JavaScript that was sometimes in 2009. I even went ahead to learn content management systems like WordPress and Joomla.

Having acquired these skills, I thought I was ready to hit the market as a web designer and lucky me, I got some clients and was able to meet up with their design demands and eventually got paid for a job well-done. This further spurred me on to acquire more skills, like graphics (Corel draw and Photoshop) all in the name of embracing the UXDom (User Experience).

Time went by and I acquired new skills in web development on the PHP/MySQL platform. Learning and implementing php projects gave me a better stand when I had to convince clients during presentations before the awarding of contracts that I was going to build the system from the scratch — ensuring its custom made and fashioned to meet their requirements. This actually gave me an edge at least in two cases where I got jobs to build login systems for some clients.

Going by the popular cliché — “all that glitters is not gold”, I eventually met with a difficult client. Having returned from the United States of America and presumably coming home (I mean Nigeria) with enough exposure to the way web design is done over there, the man in question (whom I got to know through a friend) invited me over to his office for a one-on-one discussion on his proposed web design job. With high spirits I went to his office having sent him a mock design the previous day (which he obviously acknowledge positively — as what he was looking for).

Funny enough I had started planning on how to spend the money from the job when I eventually get it. All to my dismay, he asked I show him what I had done on my system so far and to which I hurriedly opened my pc-system. He loved the design and bet me the next thing he did was to check for the responsiveness of my design. That was actually the first time I was hearing about responsive design (but, what was applicable as at then was to design two jobs, the desktop version and the mobile version).

Hey, Pete, why is my website not responsive he asked… not really familiar with the word “Responsiveness”, I humbly asked he came out more explicitly on what he meant by “my website is not responsive”. Sensing I was lost, he went ahead to explain that different users would be visiting the website on final launch and would be coming to the site via different viewports (another new term to me as at then) and that he would not want them to have issues going through the website. He took out time to lecture me on what he expects of me and seeing that i was ready to do my beat, he gave me the chance to prove myself. What a great relief… I quickly thanked him, packed my laptop bag and left his office.

On my way home with a lot of thoughts going on in my head as regards how to resolve the responsiveness issue, I had to go back to my web design instructor to inquire if he could take me through responsive designs. Thank God for his person and drive to see his prodigies excel in life. He introduced me to media queries and CSS frameworks (Twitter bootstrap and Zurb Foundation). I quickly adapted based on the positive feedback (both from the client and my instructor).

Media queries to the rescue and on the long run I was able to meet up with the design requirement and really did enjoy spending part and investing part of the money I got from the job.

Lessons learned

I was able to constructively accept his criticism (instead of designing two different jobs, that I could actually do it using a more advanced and globally accepted standard — media queries).

Through positive feedback I was able to learn a new skill on the fly, meet up with design requirements and delivered on time and definitely got paid for my efforts.