Quality in Web Development

published on December 18, 2011 in technical

I many times hear fellow developers say that this is only a admin, nobody is going to use it but us, or it is planned only for internal use.

1. Excuses

As I mentionned above, I do hear that a lot. I must say that it makes me very upset and angry each time. People around me, mostly senior PHP developers, think that looks is somethimg that might, many times should be neglected.

I cannot tell you how bad approach that is. I am a senior PHP developer, with a taste for great user interface, with very high standards in user experience and design in general. Each time I hear the above, I feel it is only an excuse for doing a great job, or admiting that you are not good enough for creating something great. The time one spends to do a bad and ugly user user interface is certainly not enough for doing something professional instead, but it is enough for building the premises for art, in a practical way of saying.

But many senior PHP devs have a big problem: they have no clue about what beautiful, usable is.

2. Problems

My above sentence has a historical background. Many companies are still thinking that there are backend developers and that there are frontend developers. I disaggree on that. We are talking about the world wide web. The WEB. This is something we see, that is presented to us in a variety of forms, on a variety of screen sizes. Backend and frontend on the current web exists no more. We are all web developers.

This is why I feel angry when I here a experienced web developer saying that user interface is not important. This is bullshit. He is either not good enough in creating a interface which is as professional as his PHP code, or he might be able of building one, but he really thinks that it is not important.

I am not sure which one is worse, what I know is that I would never pay for such a developer. Why? The internal user interface he claims to be not so important, is the one his client (editor, sales guy, or wjatever) is going to use each day. This is the same as telling the Wordpress users that their admin does not need to be fully functional, fully designed and professional, that they should get used to some crap. Obviously, it is not possible to do such a thing, nobody would ever use Wordpress again.

3. Workaround

There is no workaround for this. Those who have such an attitude, are the bad guys. Those who feel that a product is good not only because it uses great PHP patterns in the backend, but because it is fast, it is good to look at, it is good to use, are the good guys.

We are the unicorns. We move the web forward, because we are not limited by our own minds. But we are only a few. I am proud to be able to say that functionality, speed, quality in general is something I believe in.

4. Conclusion

As an ending to these angry sentences: did you ever care of what Twitter's backend looks like? No. How about Facebook? Still no. Why? Because you are interacting with their user interfaces, not with their backend codes. The user doesn't care of your backend, he only wants to be able to use your product's interface in the most intuitive, simple, fast way he can.