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Cover image for How do you improve your front-end project regularly? (A desperate urge from a junior)

How do you improve your front-end project regularly? (A desperate urge from a junior)

shofol profile image Anower Jahan Shofol ・1 min read

Hello all,

This is my first post in this great platform and community. I don't know how will you take this post! But, if I could get some response from the community about this issue, it will be much appreciated.

A short story of mine:

Currently, I am the only dedicated full time Front end developer (mostly Angular 7 now) in my startup company and will work partially remotely from this week. As I'm working professionally for last 1 year and 5 months, so, I am not so senior yet! This situation explains that I am quite on my own.

Why the question raised?

The team wants me to contribute to the product with new ideas, technologies or UX improvements. But I can't find a way to contribute as per their expectations. The problem I can state that, I feel like the software is running ok, or the design is ok for users and so on. I have no dedicated senior members on front end to discuss the issues or get ideas. But, in the end the team is not so happy with my performance too.

Questions:

So, here are three questions from me-

  • How do you update your working project time to time?
  • Do you read new technologies, research UX regularly and imply them?
  • How the freelance developers learn and contribute so professionally (they don't have seniors around them!)?

Thanks to nikko macaspac on Unsplash for the cover photo

Posted on by:

shofol profile

Anower Jahan Shofol

@shofol

Frontend developer working remotely.

Discussion

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That sounds tough! As a UX designer, I'm going to give you a UX design answer.

I feel like the software is running ok, or the design is ok for users and so on.

On the software side, that's probably a valid statement.

As for the second half of that statement, there's no way to know until you talk to users!!! It's impossible to know what is actually good for your users without talking to them. When you do, you'll be able to understand what their actual needs are, where they're falling off or having trouble, and what parts are actually working well for them. I promise you will be amazed at how many opportunities for changes and enhancements (and likely simplification and removal as well) you will find.

So, how can you do that? The general rule of thumb is that you can get about 85% of major usability issues in a product through 5 well-designed user interviews. I'd recommend this guide to conducting usability testing as a simple guide to setting up the interviews.

I'd say, if you can't find anything worth targeting, conducting a few user interviews with actual humans is a great place to start. But before you say "But wait, I'm not a UX Designer!" — this is much easier than it sounds. Researching UX all the time and staying on top of the latest trends and blogs is the wrong approach. Just getting out there and talking to actual humans who use this thing you're making can make a huge difference in your mindset and your understanding of what needs attention, even if you aren't a pro. You'll also figure out naturally what works for you and what doesn't when it comes to interviewing and testing, so just go for it!

 

Thanks for your suggestions, Jasper.

The product I am working on is still for MVP actually. So, the feedback are not there yet. The team advises me to research and see other similar products, follow Apple or Microsoft's UI and so on. And when I do freelance projects (personal) I just follow the client's feedback.

How do you interview in these cases or follow other techniques? It seems worthy to me if I could scrutinize the application by myself somehow and make the client or team feel better working with me.

 

I'm not an UX expert either and unsure how far the development of the MVP is but have you heard of black box testing?

It's basically giving your MVP to someone and telling them what to do but not saying how and not helping them either to see how they try to achieve the goal. I've done this and sometimes it's painfully hard to watch someone struggle with something that is so obvious to you.

After the test you can interview the person and ask about their experience. What did you like? What could be better? Have you used similar products in the past? Etc.

I definitely agree with Japser that talking to other humans is the way to go! Whenever I test a project this way I quickly discover things in the UI that could be improved.

I second this, during mvp give the access to sales guy or other stakeholders, even colleagues and ask them to use it. If it helps make it clear to your senior that you need to do user testing(black box) to improve ux and get design ideas.

See how they interact, watch where they struggle.

even if something is easy to find in 1 minutes but is crucial think how you can minimize that time, make it bold, make it more obvious and simple

The thing is, because you have used it again and again, you won't feel something wrong, you won't see something hard to find or do. The only way to improve is get others to use it and monitor it.

Last, the ux is "user" experience, get more users, improve their experience.

Thanks for great suggestions, guys.

The MVP will be beta released on two to three months to public. I would try to use the team's other members feedback as there is no dedicated sales guy in the startup now.

And, for the freelance projects, is there any way to get the feedback from public or do you think getting the feedback from client is enough?

And, thanks for the resource links, checking those.

Getting feedback from public is a bit complicated as it depends on your company's policies. But when getting feedback from the client always remember that this is their baby so they will always want to improve something, it's you who have to show passion and make them feel that current ux is good for MVP.

I've had experience and the only way is to sell a proven process. Good UX -> Beta test -> Feedback from users -> improve -> Final release.

For freelance projects, I would recommend getting a detailed requirement doc from the client, or creating one in a meeting to make sure both parties know the deliverables and then stick to those. Freelance is more about delivering what the client wants and what you feel should be done.

 

Exactly what the replies here say. MVP is the best possible time to test! Test with what you have, whether that's a sketch, a prototype, or a real tool.

 

Hello and welcome to DEV!

First of all keep in mind that my suggestions and all of the other given here are relative since we have so much info.

Second, IMO what you need to do depends a lot on what they ask exactly from you. If they mean a faster website, do a lot of performance tests and optimisations on the product you are building.

If they mean UX and you feel you are not competent on that, dont feel bad about that. UX is not the same as UI, they are related but not the same and rarely people master all of the aspects of development, even fullstack developers or senior developers might not be good on that.

Im not saying you should not worry, you should be lazy, just saying dont get demoralized.

What you should do is:
Talk a lot with your other colleges and try to find through their words, your weak spots when it comes to web development.

After having identified those, make a todo list and set yourself some goals and focus on each point one at a time.

Read articles on the topics, watch online courses, etc.

Try to get as much info as possible and whenever you can implement what you have learned on your project/s.

Keep learning, keep practicing.

If after a while you see that still ifs difficult for you, go on and find a mentor online or it might be time for you to switch to another company with more developers. Sharing and discussing ideas with other developers is the best way to learn so if you see nothing else is working try switching jobs.

I have been in your place, worked for almost 1 year as the only developer for a project and i had same issues. The way i described you was how i got over them.

 

Thanks for sharing your experience, Braja. That's the thing I can expect from the community- the real experience. I will try to utilize the team communication and learning-practice paradigm.

One information I want to get from you- you said about online mentor. Did you follow that path? How can I find someone like that? I had a plan to go as full time freelancer after some time and then the team discussion will be unavailable actually. Or do you have other suggestions?

 

Hello,

I took a lot of steps. Online mentoring i didnt persue since i switched jobs and was on a job where i had great developers all around me.

If you want to follow the online mentoring path, there are some alternatives, codementor, codingcoach, and probably even others (these ones i have heard about).

 

The first step is done, which is, identify there's an issue.

As a junior developer the attitude is all that will define your future. I liked the way you asked for help, you got my attention.

I'll try to give you some advice. There are a lot of things you can do, however, you should try to choose them wisely, hard thing.

  • Communication is the main key, if they have issues with you, you have to raise questions to them immediately. You must show interest, must show you are trying to solve solutions but as a team you must do it together.
  • As software developer, you'll have to learn tools to analyse how your performance's website is. Such as lighthouse Google tool.
  • As a project developer, you'll have to learn how the users use your product. There are tools that track the required information such as Google Analytics.

I'd say that mainly try to follow simple ideas, that you can iterate later on, focus on performance, release reliable code and share what you are doing and what you expect from what you'll try to do.
That is not eas, finding the balance is an art, the time usually comes against

Hope it helps

 

Thanks Carlos for giving me the insight to see the project from three perspective. I used the tools a bit but not so much. I will surely look onto those.

You must show interest, must show you are trying to solve solutions but as a team you must do it together. - That's a great advice. I try to solve problems sometimes and come with some solutions but doesn't share it with the team that much. How do you think to do that with the team?

Like, I can say a scenario. The application had no global error handling mechanism. I searched some solutions and implemented an interceptor to handle and show the notifications recently. But, no one never knows that. And as most of them are back end developers, they can give less feedback about these issues. So, how do I share these with team or client(for freelance projects)?

 

There is an amazing course (free) on coursera about ux, I highly recommend you to take it and if you can, take the whole specialization (5 courses). It really opened my eyes to the field and gave me a process to identify possible gaps in my products.

coursera.org/learn/introtoux-princ...

 

I will check this obviously. Thanks, Felipe.

 

Some days, I'm better at developing, and some days, my brain is wired up towards testing, and spend the day adding tons of unit tests. It's good for the project, and it helps you re-discover your project in different perspectives. My 2-cents.

 

That's a good insight, Foellmi!