I used to be a web designer and developer.
That meant I would take on a client, work with them to create a gorgeous design for their new blog/website, then proceed to code that into a working WordPress theme.
But a few months ago, I stopped doing design work and started ONLY doing development.
This is a huge change in how I work, and here are three reasons I’m loving it:
#1) I get to share the workload.
Having to create a design AND code it is kind of intimidating. You have to totally rock at two different areas and it’s a lot more work which then makes the process longer.
But by working with a designer, I’m sharing the work. I basically cut the time in half.
Plus, it’s kind of comforting to know that I’m not the entire project. There’s someone else on board with me who can help push it through into AWESOMENESS.
#2) I get to focus on what I love.
Just because I no longer offer design services doesn’t mean I no longer like designing. I just don’t like doing it for other people.
Designing for others was becoming stressful for me.
- I didn’t like the process of working with someone else’s vision. Sometimes I feel like I have a GREAT idea for a website design, but the client wants something else, and it was frustrating to have to step away from what I thought was a great direction.
- I didn’t like the clients trying to encourage me to make bad design choices (because that’s what they wanted). Sometimes clients want two colours that just don’t go together, or tons of fonts when really you should keep it under 2-3… Creating work that I wasn’t proud of (even if the client loved it) didn’t make me happy.
- I hated the process of sending the mockup to the client. This was incredibly stressful for me. I’d spend all day biting my nails, terrified that they wouldn’t like it.
…But coding? I love that part.
Coding is objective. I mean, sure, there’s good code and there’s bad code. But ultimately, the job is simple: make the website look like the mockup and make it work.
There’s no worrying about whether or not the client likes it, because either it looks like the mockup and I’ve done my job, or it doesn’t and I haven’t done my job.
There’s no stress, and that’s what I love.
#3) It’s more challenging to ONLY do development.
I think that when a lot of people do both design and development, they naturally design layouts they’re comfortable with to ensure that it’s easy to accomplish in code.
This may not necessarily be a conscious decision, but I think a lot of designers do it automatically—myself included.
But when I started working with designers, those designers suddenly had a sense of freedom. They didn’t have to design “easy” layouts because it wasn’t their job to code it (hah!). Instead, they’re able to flex their imagination and create truly unique and interesting designs. Jessica Sorensen’s website is a perfect example of this.
And when those crazy mockups get put into my lap, I get to flex my coding skills.
Since I stopped designing, I’ve been more challenged than ever before when it comes time to code a WordPress theme. I’ve had to work with more complex layouts, shapes, and angles. I’ve had to think about my approach before I dig in. I’ve had to find solutions.
As a result, I feel like I’ve become a better coder. I’m not just staying in one place—I’m actually improving.