Read my book

I wrote books about Webpack and React. Check them out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Taking Your Website to the Next Level

Website development is kind of interesting. You have to balance between a lot of things. There is certain information you must convey but just doing that is not enough. The presentation matter a lot. And then there is the technical side. It doesn't help to have a great looking and informative site that loads slow as snails.

Just today I spent some effort taking the site of my co-operative to the next level. It didn't that much time-wise and I didn't touch the content. Sometimes really small changes make a world of difference and I think they did so in this case.

Criticue, a service designed facilitate feedback process is a part of the reason why I ended up developing the site further. One comment in particular highlighted some issues I had not thought about earlier. The service isn't without its flaws and will no doubt become a lot better should the developer keep at it. Even in its current form it's possible to attain some useful feedback via it.

Currently I'm testing another similar service, Feedback Roulette, to see how that works. This seems like a more established player. I can't wait to see what kind of feedback I will get through it.

I am sure there are a lot of other services like these out there. I think fivesecondtest and Optimizely are worth a mention at least. Especially latter seems like a revolutionary service.

Optimizely provides a simple user interface which you can use to construct tests. You will simply modify the structure of your page somehow for each test. Then once you are happy with your set of tests you will need to embed a certain JavaScript snippet to your actual site. This allows Optimizely to run these tests on actual users. As a result you will gain certain statistics that allow you to develop your actual site further. How cool is that?

There are more technical ways to improve your site. WebPageTest provides tracing information on your site and provides a set of recommendations on how to speed it up. Highly useful! HTML_CodeSniffer is a bookmarklet that allows you to check how well your site conforms to accessibility guidelines. If you want to experience your site through color blind eyes, give Vischeck a go.

I am absolutely sure these tools are just a tip of an iceberg. I also know I am missing out on some superb tools. If you happen to know some of those, let us know in the comments!