Last year, I had the privilege of meeting Hanna Smith, MA LMHC CGP. She had an interesting dilemma of being locked into a very limited WordPress-based hosting platform. She wanted to expand the functionality of her site and was told the features were not available. I presented her with an affordable solution which included:
Moved the hosting to a flexible WordPress-based platform.
Redesigned the UI and Menu structure.
Added all of her blog posts and provided video training to her content manager.
Implemented spam protection, contact form, subscription form, SEO support, and Mailchimp integration.
Provided custom CSS and code change for content formatting.
Added her Book page.
Conversion of her paper fillable forms to downloadable PDF electronic fillable forms.
I manage the site backups and plugin upgrades.
Primed for Long-term Growth
I am very pleased with how the site has turned out and to see how happy Hanna is with the progress. She now has the flexibility to dream up new features and functionality for her site and thus gain more exposure for her services and products.
Soon, I will be integrating a courseware platform for hosting training videos and content.
A very special thanks to Hanna, for being one of my first website customers and trusting me with her site.
If you follow the trends in the computer software industry, you might have noticed many articles discussing “No Code” approaches to software and website development. Some have even gone so far as to say that programmers would no longer be needed in the future.
I do admit that many of the big website hosting platforms make it easy to dive in and put together a site with a minimum amount of effort. WIX, Squarespace, WordPress, Joomla, Website.com, and Shopify are great examples. You can pick a theme, upload your pictures, drag-and-drop text boxes, buttons, menus, and Boom!, yer done.
So, Why Know How to Code?
Right off the top of my head, I can give two good reasons why developers are still important.
1.) They know what is going on behind the curtain. When a non-developer sits down to build a website with a no-code tool, they sit down and just start building, without giving it much thought. Then the frustration hits when they discover their site is slow, does not look good on mobile devices, fonts and colors don’t blend well, buttons and menus are not staying in the desired positions, and they can’t figure out how to add an extra page. The site sits stagnant and the owner gives up.
A developer who understands the technology will ask the client what they want to achieve with the website. The dev will design a plan for the website, take performance and mobile devices into consideration, structure the pages and menus, select appropriate fonts and colors, and make sure the buttons and menus flow nicely. If the client already has a specific tool in mind, the developer will determine if the tool will match the expectations of the client. Otherwise, the developer can recommend a specific tool or platform based on the client’s requirements.
2.) A developer can customize beyond the limits of the no-code tool. Most of the no-code solutions provide the ability to peek behind the curtain and access the source code for the site. The no-code site tools usually provide a wealth of Themes, Apps, and Plugins for providing the client with decent solutions. However, what if the client does not like the font being used, wants the color changed, or needs an element to be repositioned – and the interface for the tool does not provide for those changes? The developer can go into the code and make the necessary changes.
Why Is This a Topic?
I hear many conversations that make me shake my head.
“I needed a website for my business, so I signed up with so-and-so, but I can’t get it linked to my PayPal account. Can you help?”
“I heard about a new site that uses A.I. to build a website for you. Is it going to put you out of work?”
If you’re a developer, don’t worry. You’re NOT going to be out of a job. If anything, web developers are going to become even more important as businesses, small and large, are discovering they have to be on the web – especially when people can’t visit their brick and mortar stores.
If you need a website, hire an expert! Trust me! You’ll save many hours of time and frustration. Even if the expert selects a no-code solution for you, at least it is a decision made with wisdom and experience. And if later you need to have your site customized, the developer will know what to do.
During my last semester at Edmonds College, for my Web Application Developer Certificate program, I had the privilege of obtaining an internship with the Edmonds College Federation of Teachers. Edmonds College had just changed its name from Edmonds Community College and the web site had not been updated in quite a while.
The site is an interesting configuration and is actually governed by the American Federation of Teachers. It is a CMS based site similar to WordPress.
During my internship I performed the following tasks:
Performed a review of the site by examining the elements with Chrome Developer Tools.
Conducted an SEO analysis, keyword analysis, and a site audit with Lighthouse. Compiled and submitted an audit report.
Got up to speed on the Administration features of the site.
Retrieved the site graphics, created a new logo design for the top banner.
Updated site content and articles to reflect the name change from Edmonds Community College to Edmonds College.
Changed the subdomain name of the site from edccft to edcfedt. Updated the menus and navigation to reflect the new URL. QA testing of the entire site to make sure the links and navigation are working.
Updated links in existing articles and posts to the new subdomain.
Edited PDF documents to reflect the new name and links.
Added new logos to PDF documents.
Added new documents and content to the site.
I greatly enjoyed this internship. I learned a lot, got to work with some awesome people, and was able to deliver a successful website refresh. And I get to continue as the site webmaster on an as-needed basis.
Many thanks to Kay Latimer, Steve Hailey, and Professor Louis Ho on the Edmonds team. And thanks to Rachel Anderson and Barbara Tobias with aft.org.
Design and development of a mine-sweeper type game with a Minecraft theme. It is still under development and is almost complete.