A new method to the same result

I try to teach my kids to always learn something new when they can. We should always be learning something new. In a technology driven world I think it is very important. Since I am in the web design and graphic design industries I am constantly finding myself struggling to stay on top of what is new. Sometimes I think I am falling behind and I will even admit that I am in a lot of ways.

I will confess to being mostly a front end designer. That is where my passion lays and so that is where my focus and emphasis lays as well. It is not that I am not aware of the other areas, it is just that I am not “as up to speed” in those areas as I probably should be. I will even confess to not being able to do certain things. Heck, I do not even want to learn certain things because I have no interest in it at all.

At any rate, I try to at least read about the various things that are changing in the industries that I deal with so that I am aware of them. I need to at least know what I am dealing with so that I can account for the various nuances. I cannot design for something that I am unaware of. At least not efficiently in my opinion. Even if it is all a pretty facade on the front of something ugly on the back, there is some interaction and interfacing that needs to occur at some point. You cannot just slap it on and expect it to stick. It has to have strong intersections.

In doing some research recently on how to improve my own efficiency as a front end designer and to also settle my own curious mind in this big booming universe we call the mobile web, I uncovered a wealth of various resources. Some of them I am still researching and learning more on. However, a couple of them I took the “nose dive” or “sink or swim” approach on them instead.

Let me just say that I am glad that I just jumped right into one of them. It is awesome. I am not going to say that it will work for everyone, but it is awesome in my opinion. It has done wonders for my frustrations in making things just work on the front end and back end. It was so quick and easy. Why reinvent the wheel when we already have a formula that works for the wheel? Let me just make it look a little prettier and move on with my life. I am perfectly happy with that.

Now let me also say that it has not been without frustrations, as I have experienced that as well. See open source anything is not without frustrations. The documentation is pretty much nil on anything open source I have found. Sure WordPress has a great Codex out there that is a great resource if you know how to read through the technical mumble jumble of technical-ese. Not all of us know all of the ins and outs of all the heavy deep technical stuff. Not all of us need to know the deepest inner workings of it either. Some of us just want to know how to make a loop work and why it works that way without all the technical gobblity gook along with it. I am not kidding, sometimes I am reading through these documents that are supposed to “help” me and I am just fine and then other times I think I am reading a Chinese Proverb written in Chinese characters because I certainly cannot understand it. It is a foreign language. I have no problems making heads or tails of technical manuals generally, I plow through them like they are candy.

At any rate, I stumbled across Zurb’s Foundation Framework and it was like all the bells and whistles started going off in my head. It made sense. Why had I not tried this earlier. I ignored it at first when I found it. I went on to look at other things. It was too easy to believe so to speak. I kept coming back to it, however. Then finally I decided that I was just going to try it. I actually downloaded and tried something else first believe it or not. After spending a couple of days fiddling with it without much success, I gave up and then tried Foundation.

Amazingly within a couple of days I had a working and well structured website like what I had spent weeks working on for a similar website project. Wow! Only a couple of days?!. I had something to show a client in a couple of days. Now it was not in a live environment where I could physically show them so I had to take a couple of screen shots and send those to them but it was a working website in a testing environment. I could create another page on a whim without hesitation and expect the same easy and quick results. I had minimal work left to do as far as I could tell at that point. I could start putting in content to test that. I was actually excited. I could really see where this could be beneficial to me.

Of course I immediately switched over to another project that is dragging out and tried to see if I could recreate the project design using this framework. It was not without problems but I could see the long term benefits of this framework for this larger project over the long term maintenance of this other project going forward. Frustration ensued a little bit but it was no worse than I was suffering from “the scratch” route and frankly I was further along in a day of work than I was in a few days of work previously put in. I was definitely going to stick with this and see if I could convert it over to the framework as the base.

As of right now, Zurb’s Foundation 4 framework has my two thumbs up.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.