An Interview With Our Senior Web Developer, Jennifer Hampton
Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator
Your website is often the first impression you give potential customers, and it can cause a lasting one either good or bad depending on their user experience. When it comes to the functionality of your website, you want to ensure visitors can navigate and find what they’re looking for with ease. If you do it right, you can not only nurture your leads, but also get more conversions. There are many advantages that come with a well-developed website. It can also help you improve your search rankings, make your site mobile-friendly, and increase the amount of time spent on your website. A responsive site automatically scales its content and design elements to match the screen size it is being viewed on, which provides a consistent experience to all audiences. In the world of web, responsive web design holds the qualities it takes to win over an audience. These factors include site speed, design, and functionality. This all matters because in today’s age, people are using all kinds of devices to consume content, and you want your site to be accessible to everyone. Today we interviewed our website developer, Jennifer Hampton, to see her thoughts on web development and give us an inside look at her role at MSM.
What specifically appeals to you about web development? How did you get started?
“I love the blending of artistry and logic that is central to good web development. Since I was young, I’ve had a knack for puzzles and have always been driven to find outlets for creative expression. Utilizing my strong technical skills in concert with innovative approaches to complex design/development challenges has been a great source of joy in my life.”
How do you go about building a website from the ground up?
“Before I begin any development project, I or my team will discuss with the client the types of information that will be included, how those different pieces relate to one another, and what goals they would like to accomplish with their new website. Then, combined with the mocks and other visual resources provided by my designer, I will plan out how to best structure the data to make it easy for the client to work with and for me to provide a clean user experience. Once the data structures are in place, I break the visual mocks into modular components that will be the basis of my responsive web design. With those components, I can plan out how they will interact with each other on different screen sizes and device types. Then it is a process of using front-end coding to build the visual framework, adding styling to achieve the desired look and feel of the pages, and then filling in that framework with the content that we set up using our data structures.”
What’s the difference between a designer and a developer?
“A designer creates the visual mock-ups of what a website will look like, and also creates any branding or visual resources needed. As a developer, I am responsible for bringing their creative vision to life. As part of this process, I also build the functionality to allow website features to function, incorporate external toolkits and modules into the site and apply my knowledge of design standards and coding principles to “fill in the blanks” beyond what the mocks provide.”
What is a responsive web page design?
“Responsive web design is the practice of building web pages that shift and change to provide a smooth user experience on any device or browser. Rather than treating a webpage as a flat, inflexible object, we look at it as a fluid system that can dynamically fill its container. This can include not just rearranging the content to fit inside the different screen shapes, but also changing the structure interactive elements (such as buttons and navigation menus) so they are easier to manipulate on touch-based devices—all while maintaining the flow of concepts on the page to provide a consistent and informative experience for the user.”
How do you combine fonts and how many types will you use on one website?
“When it comes to selecting fonts for a website, the things to keep in mind are legibility and impact. While serif fonts (such as Times New Roman) are optimized for legibility in print, sans-serif fonts like Helvetica or Calibri are ideal for viewing text on screens. As such, I will generally use a sans-serif font for most of the content on a website – I prefer one with multiple font weights, so I can add variety through the heaviness of the lettering. However, headlines, titling or accent areas are great places to incorporate a serif font or one of the more unique “statement” fonts. I recommend sticking to two to three fonts at most in order to keep your content and messaging looking consistent!”
How do you ensure a consistent and usable experience on all devices?
“Testing, testing, testing! Being able to view a website on a variety of devices and browser environments is key. This allows me to identify browser or device-specific bugs, verify the effectiveness of the responsive design features, and ensure that everything loads smoothly for a great user experience.”
How will you optimize a website for page speed?
“Several strategies can be employed to optimize a website for page speed. Leveraging browser-side as well as server-side caching, compressing images and serving them in next-gen image formats, writing efficient code and utilizing minification to reduce file sizes; all of these and more can work together to reduce the loading burden (and therefore increase the speed) of a given page.”
When you have a specific campaign or program, do you recommend using pop-up on the homepage?
“Absolutely! A popup on the homepage is a great way to catch the visitor’s eye and feature a campaign or program that you’d like extra attention on. Adding a newsletter signup there is also an excellent method of gathering customer information.”
How hard was it to learn to code?
“Code can look intimidating. It’s a skilled field and isn’t easy to learn. I do have a schooled background in other programming, but my web development skills are all self-taught.”
What are the advantages to having a custom-built website versus using a pre-made template like those from Wix or Squarespace?
“Pre-made templates are often limited in their flexibility, and especially if you are not utilizing your own images can feel very “cookie cutter” and generic. With a custom-built website, you get a polished final result that is unique to your brand. Bespoke functionality and layout options built around knowledge of your specific company and messaging create a space that speaks directly to your target audience without unnecessary clutter. Working with a custom theme developer such as myself also makes future improvements and expansions much more seamless, as often developers that need to rely on pre-made templates do not possess the same level of technical expertise or the experience needed to devise creative solutions for your requests.”
Responsive website stats suggest that it’s wise to appeal to both desktop and mobile viewers. There are currently more mobile users than desktop users, with 85% of people having smartphones. In fact, research suggests a 25% increase in mobile traffic by the year 2025. Having a strong web presence is extremely important to the growth and sustainability of your brand because it helps you tell your brand story and engage with customers on a more personal level. By building innovative websites that are eye-catching, data-driven, and are responsive, you can maximize your website’s full potential. At the end of the day, the point of a website is to help sell your product and tell your story. You want your investment to really count for what it’s worth. The goal should always be to provide an effortless web experience that drives brand loyalty. MSM DesignZ offers premium solutions for your maintenance, support, and web hosting needs along with responsive customer service to walk through any questions you may have. We are always ready to take on any project, so you can always count on your website being in the right hands.
At MSM DesignZ, we put in the time and energy needed for success, so you can ensure you are using every dollar for maximum return. With over 20 years in the business, we have watched marketing evolve from traditional to digital. Whether you need a website refresh, more attractive email, or a quality online presence, we can do it all. When we take on a client, we put in 110% and treat every brand as if it’s our own. We will always continue to place our clients’ needs at the heart of our operations. From web development to social media management, we’ll work directly with you to build a personalized strategy to not only retain but also gain business. We are assisting in all areas for our clients. Visit our contact page at https://www.msmdesignz.com/contact/, and we’ll work with you to devise a custom plan that will keep your brand alive and well. We look forward to working with you!