Work smart, not clever
As a general rule, designers and developers should avoid trying to be
clever, and should concentrate on working smart.
Using your time wisely
means choosing the most efficient use of your time and energy before
you act. It is always a good thing. (See also "Think-then-do".)
means achieving something new or ground-breaking, overcoming some
difficult obstacle, or finding a way to improve something. It is not
always a good thing.
The 90/90 rule
For example, I like to remember the
90/90 rule when creating almost anything. The principle is: To make
something 90% perfect takes 90% of the time; To do the last 10% takes
the other 90% of the time!!!
"The perfect is the enemy of the good"
Sometimes trying to get something
perfect can be detrimental to your project, and you can risk not even
ending up with a good result.
K.I.S.S. - Keep it simple, stupid
In web design, there are always
opportunities to do something a bit nicer, a bit cuter, a bit flashier,
a bit more impressive, a bit more robust, a bit quicker to download, or
a bit more compliant.
Very often, these things can take you
into "being clever" territory, and falling into the 90/90 rule, where
that little bit of extra work takes just as long as it took to build
the basic site to begin with.
The material point is that you almost
always won't get 90% more benefit (for your client or yourself) by
going the extra mile.
Being clever usually introduces complexity,
which in turn introduces risk. The more
fiddly and complex your visual design, the harder it will be to
produce, the more files will be created, the longer it will take to
download, and the most costly it will be to maintain. Working smart
means honestly justifying any additional complexity before you plough
on and do it. (See also the discipline of Simplicity.)
Sometimes, sure, it's worth it. If
it's really important to you that your site should validate to a
certain HTML standard, or if you've committed to keep the homepage size
under 70KB, or if you promised the client that some client-side script
will work in a certain way, then maybe you have to do it.
My advice is to think carefully
before you act, and consider whether the benefit is worth the cost.
- Are there any prizes for getting a
page size down by 10% if it takes you a whole day's work, and the page
is fit-for-purpose at the slightly heavier weight?
- Do you really have to re-code your
scripts to be object-oriented, extensible or reusable if they're only
destined for this particular application?
- What do you really get out of
churning out 5 example designs to show your client, when the first one
you did was great? (Just give them the good one, and rave about it!)
- Image libraries
- One of the best ways to save time
and money is to get all your quality images from one place, without any