#Flawless: Perfection and the Web Development Process

#Flawless: Perfectionism and the Web Development Process

By Tuesday April 12th, 2016

Designers strive to make beautiful web experiences. However, should pixel perfection be a priority on the web?

People close to me know that I’m a perfectionist. And, while I know that nothing is without flaw, I certainly do my best to achieve the idea of perfection in many aspects of my life.  

I work until the last possible minute on projects to ensure details aren’t ignored. I make my bed every morning so my room is good and tidy when I get home from work. I rewrote this paragraph several times so it’d sound just right. I think you get the point.

As a designer, I strive to make beautiful web experiences. However, the more I advance my front-end development skills, the more I have to admit that pixel perfection should be your last priority in the web development process. While aesthetics are very important in web design, perfectionism harms project development, and achieving your project’s goals and objectives should be the top priority.

In web development, sometimes “good enough” is good enough

Any perfectionist knows that achieving perfection takes time. Sadly, on most projects you encounter in your professional career, there isn’t enough time in the project schedule to give every detail your utmost attention. Furthermore, if you spend too much time focusing on every little detail, you could miss important elements in the project that are necessary to achieve your project’s goals.

Perfectionism also goes unnoticed by most users. Outside your team, no one’s ever seen previous versions of your project, and they have nothing to compare to the final product. So, while spending hours perfecting every pixel will make YOU feel satisfied as a designer, unless an element looks totally whack, the user won’t even notice. Sad day. 🙁

Perfectionism ≠ Greatness

Sometimes it feels like the only thing you can count on during the development process are curveballs, and as designers and developers, we need to be flexible in our process. What seems like the “perfect” solution at the beginning of a project may be totally wrong at launch.

More often than not, you’re not the target audience for a project and you shouldn’t judge what makes a project great solely on your own opinions and assumptions. You need real client and user feedback to develop the “perfect” solution to your project.

With that being said, does it seem like a good use of your time to make sure every last pixel is in place if it’s likely going to change later? No. On the ever-evolving world wide web, the best solution today could be out of date tomorrow. Your best bet is to find an efficient and reliable solution to achieve your project’s goals and make sure you’re adaptable to change.

Put it into practice

Shifting your focus away from perfection will lead you and your team to better, faster results. Begin focusing on the key elements and functionality of your project, and once those are in place, then you can begin ironing out the finer details.

When you approach your next project, try breaking tasks into two groups: Above The Line and Below The Line.

Above The Line tasks should focus on achieving your project’s goals and objectives, as well as building the functionality of your web project. Ask yourself, what’s absolutely necessary for your project to achieve its goals? These tasks should be your first priority.

Meanwhile, Below The Line tasks should include the smaller design details and achieving pixel perfection. While I will always argue that a beautiful web experience is very important, it does your project no good if the beautiful website brings no value to customers.

Remember, form follows function.

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About the Author

Jessica is the lead designer and front end web developer for Brolik, a Philly based digital agency, where she works with both the technical and creative aspects of web design. She is an Arizona native and a Sun Devil, but loves the culture and art scene of Philadelphia. Also, she can run further than you can, and is currently training for her next big marathon.