We have a funny pattern with people within the web design and development community – with questions like: “this website was coded poorly, should I keep working with it or start from scratch?”
My problem isn’t with the question itself – but with the motivation behind it, these two motivations I think are indicative of a bad habit of web developers and designers:
- I want to look cool to other people in my industry and be on the cutting edge
- I’d rather sacrifice a good chunk of work done, so that it will be easier for me now.
Let’s address each of these and why the obsession with ‘quality’ of work is less of a concern to me than if the work is ‘effective.’
I want to look cool to other people in my industry and be on the cutting edge
We have PostCSS, and Git and Gulp, and Angular – all that are suppose to help developers get stuff done more quickly and create better products. But sometimes the goal is to just try out new tech and there are appropriate times to focus on these things and appropriate times to just get it done and put it to use for the client.
I’ve found some of these things super useful – but I’ve also been part of projects that used one or more when it was completely unnecessary, costing the client time and money unnecessarily.
Are these projects just to help feed your ego, or is this really to give the client the thing that works well and will do the job for them.
Perhaps it’s really not an either/or – but in my opinion quality should always be in service to effectiveness, and when it goes beyond that for the sake of ego and pride, the diminishing returns on the investment for the client might indicate it’s better to get 90% quality for 50% of the time.
I’d rather sacrifice a good chunk of work done, so that it will be easier for me now
While I don’t think that making it easier to code or do design on a website is a bad goal whatsoever… The fact that the existing site has some conversions / is earning the company business, means it’s super important to note what it’s doing well currently.
And if you are able to use some of that work – you should every time.
Not just sacrifice all work done at the altar of your superior work – this is actually laziness by many designers and developers and it’s important to grow beyond it and put the priorities of the business first.
Why Effectiveness should be your #1 concern over quality
Quality = The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.
Effectiveness = The degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result; success.
So it doesn’t matter how the site you build for a client stacks up against Awwwards or incorporates the sleekest new programming language… how does it produce a result?
This should be the #1 concern – and as long as it is, then quality is super important as well as a secondary concern.