A day in the life of a UX and Web Developer

Martin Jones is our in-house User Experience and Web Developer. With a background in IT and web design, Martin shares his professional experience and advice on building engaging, user-friendly websites.

Describe what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Each day is different – my tasks are prioritised alongside business needs and those within the marketing team. One day you could be working on a new email campaign and the next integrating new technologies into the website.

How did you become a UX and Web Developer, and what attracted you to this job?

I was first attracted to the web in the late 90’s, when pretty much all websites were rubbish in terms of user experience. Not that I thought it at the time – they were all amazing to me with their animated gif background images, MIDI music flies, and blinking, marquee text. Looking back on it now, it is like seeing your fashion sense in an old picture and asking yourself “what was I thinking!?”

I knew I wanted to be a part of website design and development and thought it was relatively easy to get started, you could look at the code that made up a website and start to play around and figure out how it worked, taking to the web should you need any help.

The real learning and enjoyment started to come when looking at what goes into making a good website that is built to correct web standards and accessible to as many people and devices as possible. Most notably Jeffrey Zeldman, Dan Cederholm and Steve Krug put me in good stead here and helped shape the future of the web design industry for the better.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

Trying to keep coffee and sugar intake down, one area I intend to work on!

Other than that, trying to keep up-to-date with latest technologies and industry trends can be difficult and time consuming, especially as so much content is readily available. I now try to limit the number of blogs I read on a regular basis and turn to books when I need to get a deeper level of understanding of a subject.

What do you feel is the key skill/attribute needed to succeed in your role?

I believe that good analytical and problem solving skills are essential to succeed.

You will always have several different solutions available to you, and you will need to consider the pros and cons of each. Is it accessible? How quick is it? Is it well supported? Does it suit my industry?

This could be looking at what actions you want users to complete and how you can make this as easily as possible for them. Be sure to analyse the data you have available to make an informed data-driven decision, rather than resting on a gut feeling.

What are your favourite aspects of your job?

I think we all have a desire to create things and see an end product that can be shared and used by people, be it baking, handcrafting a piece of furniture or building a website. I personally enjoy the process, seeing the end result, gathering feedback, learning from mistakes and making refinements to see improvements – although I haven’t quite got the hang of this for making cupcakes…

What would your advice for newcomers be?

You should enjoy having to continually learn and develop; this could be learning new technologies, trends and design patterns. Keep up-to-date from a variety of sources, books, blogs and videos, whatever works best for you, just don’t stop learning.

Lastly, if you get stuck, the web has a great community with plenty of people who are happy to share their knowledge and help people at all levels. So be sure to get involved on forums and ask for help, should you get stuck.

What would you do if you weren’t a UX and Web Developer?

Maybe not everyone’s idea of a dream job, but I would love to do something video game related, maybe a full time Twitch streamer, eSports pro or video game reviewer.

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