Unlike some of my other creative pursuits (I love to crochet in my time off), which have a very clear conclusion, I always see web design and building as a work in progress. Something with no defined endpoint.
A website evolves. It begins with, in many cases, a blank canvas, ideas, vague thoughts from the client. It begins with “would this look good?”, or, “would that work?”, or, “is this too much?”. It begins with a sense of playfulness, mixing colours, shapes, fonts to achieve something pleasing.
Then, you put it down. The blank canvas starts to fill, the code written, the blocks placed, pictures uploaded, tables created. It starts to take on life and, there comes a time when you can sit back and look at it and think “hey, this looks great!” So, it’s finished?
Of course not.
This isn’t the designer’s site, it’s the client’s, and, for me, the client’s ideas, visions and needs are paramount. So, there are talks, often compromises, “that idea won’t work but we can try this if you like?” Taking their ideas and bringing them vividly to life is one of the most pleasurable, and, often, challenging parts of the job.
I liken it to a journey with a friend. Start at the beginning (a very good place to start!), armed with a map, a vague itinerary, and set off. At some point along the way, you realise one of you left the map and itinerary in your hotel room and you and your traveling companion are truly exploring! You take a wrong turn, no big deal, retrace your steps, try another route and make an amazing discovery that you might not have seen had you stuck to your rigid plan.
The very best websites, (and indeed, journeys!) are those that evolve, those where you work with your client, take a few chances, make a few mistakes, correct mistakes, and play with it. The end result is always deeply satisfying.