Weekly Website #1

A few weeks ago, my partner Lorelei suggested me a neat idea: make a small website, one per week. Both of us have been looking for something to work on outside of work to practice skills we feel are lacking or are just in need of more practice. Enter this project – one website per week. We collaborate on ideas, then pick one. Lorelei designs, I develop.

I work at a small nonprofit in Seattle as a front-end developer, but like a lot of small organizations, I wear about twelve hats and don’t get to practice those development skills as often as I’d like. Lorelei wants to practice visual design. Already this idea sounds great in theory, but what about practice?

Our first week went reasonably well, I’d say. A javascript random selector pulls from an XML list to pick a restaurant and display it. It’s useful for us personally,  though probably not for anyone else. This is the “what should we get for dinner?” page. We just try the selector until we find the first mutually agreeable option, at which point the decision is made. We have some more ideas on how to improve this, so the concept might make a return a few weeks down the line, but for a week one I think this is really solid.

Mostly, though, week one served as a test case: We can do this, right? Well, yes. But more importantly it served as a test case on how we can do it – making sure we smooth out those bumps along the way, not just the technical aspects of design and development. As an example, I’m not used to working from someone else’s design comps. I don’t usually see those at work unless I write them up myself. Of course my comps make perfect sense to me and I don’t misinterpret them – I made them! It’s no surprise that was not the case working with someone else’s comps.

Overall, though? An excellent start. I think this is definitely the right thing for us to be doing; it seems to hit all my interests and avoid all the problems of some other plans we’d tossed around. On to week 2…