Help! I’m a WordPress Developer and a Designer

There are many different types of WordPress developers out there. This article focuses on the type that professionally designs websites as well as develops them.

The problem is in the process. The design should come before development but sometimes development is necessary in order to design better.

Most of my freelance work is WordPress development related. So fixing issues, PSD to WordPress, optimizing performance but as that list goes on the lines between design and development begin to get blurry.

I’m often hired because I am a developer who “has an eye for design” which is exactly why I went to school and got a degree in graphic design. But coming back to the problem is that with that statement there is inherently a problem with process. The problem is when I am asked to develop something but expected to design it while I develop it. That is not how it’s done.

The design process begins with a pencil and paper. Sketching. Web development is done with a computer. Coding. So when you try to design at the same time as you are developing you eliminate that critical component that makes for great design.

Furthermore, when you try to short-cut the design process like this it ends up costing you in the end. What ends up happening is that you invest the time into the initial development, are unhappy with the resulting design, re-invest in design and then re-develop so it costs you at least twice as much.

Customizing a high-quality WordPress theme with your own content is a trend that doesn’t appear to be going away, and I actually think it’s OK. It can cut out a lot of the design and layout work and if done well can produce a high-quality website for the right applications fairly efficiently. The problem though is that the process for customizing a theme is almost always done improperly and not well resulting in a half-baked website. How could that happen? Because design is an afterthought.

You select a theme because you like the design but then you pay no attention to embracing the wordcounts and layouts when switching out content with your own. So then you end up stuffing your content into a layout that was designed for different content.


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