Here are some of the articles we have been reviewing during the month We hope you find them as interesting as we did. [Note: these links will all open in a new browser tab.] Don’t forget to let us know what else you would like to see in terms of current professional trends in web design and development. Here are the categories of what we encountered during February:
- Web Development Trends
Here is an interesting read – 10 modern layouts in one line of CSS. These include sidebar says, the pancake stack, the 12 span grid and much more. Let us know what you think of these.
If you are curious where CSS is going, consider the high definition CSS color guide. With Chrome 111, there is support for CSS Color 4 gamuts ( size of something) and color spaces (this is explained in much ore detail in the linked article). This means there is 50% more colors in supporting browsers.
Native CSS nesting may also be finally arriving (in Chrome 112, for example). Bryce Wray provides a nice overview of recent experiments with this.
Web Development Trends
As professionals, we are always working with clients. We thought it might be helpful to share a horror story or two each month. Obviously, there are lessons to be learned. However, the fact that we have been using web technologies over three decades and still see some problems repeating means we are not fully learning these lessons.
Case in point. I was helping a client with a WordPress site. They had recently purchased a plugin and were experiencing difficulty in using the enhanced features which came with the upgraded plugin (freemium model is still very popular, isn’t it). Specifically, I was asked to investigate why all the added functionality remained greyed out despite having paid for the upgrade. To keep the story short, one had to click on the greyed out item to “load” the enhancement. Took yours truly about an hour to figure that one out. Lesson we should all have learned by now – there are standard design patterns which must be followed. To show something as greyed out means it is not active and not available. Breaking a pattern which has been in use for well over a decade causes unnecessary consternation. A simple explanation that one must click on an item to activate it might have sufficed (instead of wasting the time of multiple individuals).
As if that wasn’t enough, when helping another client, I needed to contact technical support for a WordPress plugin. Believe it or not, the individual who was trying to help me quickly asked for my username and password so they could access the site as an administrator to see what the problem was. Ummm, NO. Ok, they then asked if I could create a separate administrator account for them to use so they could see the site. Ummm. NO again. Think about this from a security perspective – if you allow someone (who you don’t know) administrative access to your site, you have handed over the data and capabilities of the site to a stranger. Would you gladly hand your car key fob to a stranger who asked for a ride to the store while you were waiting for the light to change? Maybe if your car was making a strange noise? Same concept. Never, ever, provide such access no matter how severe you think the problem is with a WordPress plugin. If you need that much help, it is time to find an alternate plugin. Shame on the vendor in this case for even allowing an employee to make such a request.
OK, readers, that is enough on the horror stories for this month. Do you have something you would like to share which tops these horror stories. Please let us know in the comments (or send us an email to our membership email at the top of the page). We are always interested in what you liked and would like to see in future articles. Just let us know that as well.
In case you missed these…
We recently published additional information about the proposed Websites and Software Applications Accessibility Act. We encourage you to review this post to keep up to date with what is happening regarding website accessibility.
Curious about security (especially passwords), please review our passwords and psychology article.
We also announced our 2023 web design and development competitions (including that we are recognized as a SkillsUSA Official Partner.
We are always what you find interesting and what you would like to learn more about. Please provide comments below so we can better address what you find most interesting.
by Mark | Feb 10, 2023 | Web Design, Web Development, Web Pro Education, WOW News
We are proud to announce our new and streamlined for states to use for their SkillsUSA web design and development competitions in 2023. This model is based on over 20 years of running web design and development competitions (including 2 decades running the SkillsUSA national web design and development competition – which started as a demonstration competition in 2004). With the COVID-19 pandemic, we gained significant insights in running this competition 100% virtually. We have employed this knowledge as we enhanced our model for 2023. We are also proud to announce that we have been recognized as an official partner of SkillsUSA for 2023.
We have been working with SkillsUSA for over two decades because of how much we are aligned in our vision of workplace needs. The SkillsUSA framework focuses on technical skills in addition to personal skills and workplace skills. This is the exact mix we strive for in our competitions. It is important to know the technical aspects of your trade, and it is equally important to work well in a team environment and follow ethical standards. This is also why we ask readers of our articles to sign our code of ethics (for members and non-members).
Our Internet based competition
This refreshed competition model is the most accessible it has ever been, enabling students to focus on creating innovative projects and equipping facilitators to run the competition seamlessly. Students only need a PC, Mac or Chromebook and an internet connection to participate in the competitions—giving those in rural, urban and suburban areas equal access.
Competitions can be run entirely online, which levels the playing field for students across the country and can give you flexibility should you need n the age of COVID-19 . This new competition model is future-proof and will be able to be implemented for years to come, no matter what the pandemic looks like in coming years.
Our (Web Professionals Global) competition support is free to state SkillsUSA competitions, and the new model makes the judging process more standardized and easier than ever before. States can run competitions whenever they want in 2023 in anticipation of our national competition in June in Atlanta. Please give us time to get your state setup with our online IDE (Integrated Development Environment), online exam, and online competition materials. Obviously each state will need Internet access during the day of competition for all competitors.
Not only does our new approach make it easier for any state to run their own web design and development competition, but it also ensures that every state is conducting their own competition that models the expectations their competitors will need to meet at our national competition. This gives every state — from small to large — the same turnkey resources to ensure a successful competition. This model is intended to only be used for the current cycle of SkillsUSA competitions.
This new model includes:
- Competition project with all graphic and textual assets that are similar in scope and style to what the competitors will experience at the national competition.
- Easy-to-apply rubrics help both new and veteran judges quickly evaluate team projects for creativity, design and best practices.
- Web-based coding editor and folder system allows judges to easily review any state competitor submissions. Judges can review work with just an internet connection, allowing states to have judges join virtually from anywhere.
- Web-based editor and site storage means your events committee does not have to worry that any competitor’s work can be lost or misplaced—all of it remains safe on the web.
- Judging preparation materials and training videos are included to make it easy for new judges to quickly get up to speed and be able to deliver consistent judging.
- Optional competition kickoff and welcome video delivers a consistent message to all competitors as well as some helpful hints about the competition project.
- Technical back up and support provided by our Web Professionals Global Organization.
- Fast and easy sign-up for state SkillsUSA leadership teams to reserve their free competition kit and web-based tools suite.
Contact us now
Because of these new systems Web Professionals Global is implementing for this year, any state can run a turnkey competition and give students an opportunity to build meaningful projects in an engaging online environment. All of this is provided free of charge to any state wishing to have an organized and impactful state-level web design and development competition to prepare their students well for the national competition.
Let us know as soon as you can. As you can imagine, there will be many states taking advantage of all this support, and we need time to be able to deliver all that you need.
by Steve Waddell | Jul 11, 2022 | Web Accessibility, Web Conference, Web Design, Web Development, web standards, WOW News
Our organization was proud to help facilitate the web design contest at the national SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta, GA from June 19-24, 2022. Our team arrived on Sunday, set up Monday and Tuesday, and ran the high school competition on Wednesday and post-secondary competition on Thursday. We also organized a Thursday evening debrief and meet and greet with industry professionals and participated in the overall awards ceremony on Friday evening. We would like to thank all our team members for using their vacation time to support SkillsUSA and the web design contest.
This year, the web design contest teams were greeted with messages in Spanish, German, Chinese, French and Arabic from our international members. One of the benefits of our organization is that our community is made up of members from all over the world, and our international experience and membership helps to craft the real-world challenges that our competition delivers. We are about helping to create and support whole professionals ready to work both domestically and internationally—especially in this age of remote work.
The competition was held at the Georgia World Congress Center, and the competitors were teams of two from different states in the country. The teams were tasked with creating websites for clients, all while completing specific tasks in the process to demonstrate web design proficiency.
We were able to utilize the online technologies we developed in 2020 and 2021 when we ran the contest fully online due to COVID-19. This design allowed all competitors on-site to participate—whether they had a laptop, PC, Mac, or Chromebook. All tools were available online and were the same for each of the teams. This meant the teams could focus on listening to and meeting the client’s needs, fundamentals and creativity to win the day. Our new system allowed us to judge all the competitors’ work online, which improved the efficiency of judging the final products that the teams designed.
It should be pointed out that this competition is far more than just a competitive challenge. We at Web Professionals Global, which started the competition in 2004, brought our mission of “Community, Education and Certification” to the competition. Our community of professionals developed the competition challenges and judged the work of each team. We also provided training before the event to help give the competitors the chance to learn about trends in the industry and more about what it takes to be competitive in this in-demand and high-paying career pathway.
Just like in the real-world, each team met with the client whom they were building the website for. This provided the competitors with a real-world environment to get a taste of what it is like to work as a web design professional. After the event, we held a Q&A event with the web design professionals who had been part of the judging team. This was an opportunity for the teams to hear from professional web designers about personal experiences, how to get started, the ups and downs of the career pathway, day-to-day experiences on the job, and how to set themselves apart and on the path of success.
To learn more about Web Professionals Global or the SkillsUSA competition, contact us today. We would love to chat with you.
Jonathan, the client, holding a meeting with all of the competitors Wednesday morning at the beginning of the event.
David Jackson and Bryce Hickson, web designers and lead judges, speaking to the high school and post-secondary competitors in the competition debrief on Thursday.
The competitors chatting with David and Bryce after the debrief.
Mark DuBois, Executive Director, Web Professionals Global, handing out awards at the ceremony on Friday night.
by Steve Waddell | Sep 16, 2021 | Member Profiles, Profiles Of Success, Web Development
The Web Professionals Organization would like to congratulate Edra T., the first person in Albania to earn a certification from Web Professionals. Edra earned her Web Developer Associate certification to further her career in web development. Edra’s success shows that you can take advantage of remote learning and working to develop your career, no matter where in the world you live.
We talked to Edra to find out more about how she earned her certification, the importance of certifications in her home country, and the world of global remote work.
What did you like about your experience earning the certification?
The thought of having my skills and knowledge certified is really appealing, but the part that I enjoyed the most was the entire process of studying for the exam. Despite having some prior knowledge, I consulted the materials mentioned in the WebProfessionals self-study section and read the referenced books. That helped me understand that no matter how well I thought I understood things worked, there was always something I didn’t know and something new to learn.
What attracted you to web development?
Growing up in a post-communist country came with its own set of constraints and obstacles. I initially chose computer science as my major because I’ve always wanted to develop systems and programs that make life easier. I also wanted to fight the perception that the field is masculine, as it has long been a male-dominated field. I eventually became an intern at the company where I now work as a .NET developer. My company assisted and contributed to the certification of my skills, and I’m grateful and pleased to see their involvement in employee professional development.
How are industry certifications viewed in Albania? Do employers value them?
Although the Albanian technology market has yet to expand, the demand for web developers and software engineers has been steadily increasing and will most likely continue to do so in the coming years. While certification isn’t required throughout the hiring process, it is seen as a major plus by most employers. The number of employers interested in hiring certified workers is rapidly increasing.
How has earning the certification changed your view of global connectivity and people being able to learn and work remotely from any country?
Remote work is the biggest trend in development right now. It is not only adaptable but also incredibly efficient for employees. The idea of being in Albania and taking a certification exam that is acknowledged in many prominent institutions and other countries was very appealing to me. Earning the certification made me realize that web development allows people like me to work remotely freely and efficiently, which is especially important now that the globe is gripped by a global pandemic and traveling to work or study is more difficult.
How has earning the certification empowered you to take the next step in your career?
Most significantly, the certification helped me gain confidence in my skills. This was something I lacked as a young web developer and struggled with, as other young developers do. I believe that confidence is a big bonus when looking for a job, and being able to confirm your skills and knowledge helps a lot in gaining that confidence.
How was your experience working with the Web Professionals Organization?
I’ve had a great time working with the Web Professionals Organization so far. Everyone on the Web Professionals team has been very helpful and attentive. They have expressed interest in my journey frequently and worked hard to make the experience easy and enjoyable. I’m very thankful and would like to keep working with the Web Professionals Organization in the future.
Be the Next Certification Recipient
The Web Professionals Organization is proud of Edra and all of its certification recipients around the globe. If you are interested in furthering your career in web technologies, contact us today. No matter what country you live in, we would love to work with you.
by Steve Waddell | Apr 15, 2021 | Job and Resume Tips from the Pros, User Experience, Web Design, Web Development
People often think that web development and web design is an industry that is only for young people. Many start-ups and tech companies are run by people in their 20s and 30s, so this is a common belief. However, there will always be a need for web developers and designers by companies across a wide variety of industries. If you have the skills and determination, companies will give you a serious look—no matter how old you are. Companies often don’t care about what you have done in the past, so you can learn web development and show companies that you can help them meet their goals—even if you are switching from a completely different industry. If you are in your 40s, 50s or older and thinking about taking the plunge in learning web development or design, here are some tips to keep in mind during the process:
Identify Your “Why”
If you can identify why you want to learn web development or design skills, and have a goal in mind, you will be much more likely to be successful. Perhaps you are a lifelong learner and want to dive into a completely new field. Maybe you feel like learning web development or design will help you perform your current job better. Maybe your company has open positions for web developers and designers, and you feel like you would be a good fit if you had the skills. Or maybe you would like to begin freelancing for companies for side income and have realized that these are an in-demand skill companies are always seeking.
A web developer works on the structure of websites and is responsible for coding more of the back-end (server side) of the site. A web designer works more on the front-end (client side), creating the look and feel of the site and taking the client’s product or service to the web. Web developers are engineers and mechanics, while web designers are architects and storytellers.
There are a ton of resources available online for those interested in learning web development skills. Some online coding classes allow you to learn at your own pace, while others allow you to learn with an instructor alongside other students in a “bootcamp” model. If you learn better in an in-person setting, your local community college may offer courses either as part of a credit degree program or through their continuing education departments.
Some programs of study may encourage you to quit your current job to be able to attend the program. If this is the case, you may elect to take an online program that will give you more flexibility to learn at your own pace, anytime and anywhere.
When selecting a program, make sure you will earn an industry-recognized certification at the end of it. A simple course certificate doesn’t hold much weight, but a certification that is backed by industry professionals will be much more credible to companies seeking to hire developers and designers. And be careful of expensive bootcamps—some are worth it, while others are not. Put simply, you need to want to put in the work to become a developer or designer. If you just go through the motions of learning, you will not come across as skilled and confident when interviewing with companies. Accomplished developers and designers have a passion for coding and continuing to learn and hone their skills over their careers.
Find Help When Needed
If you enroll in a web development or design bootcamp or local community college class, you will have built-in support with a teacher and your colleagues. However, learning web development individually at your own pace can be difficult. Try to find people around you or online whom you can bounce questions off of and seek guidance from. This could be a family member or friend who is a software engineer, or it could be someone else who has completed the course you are enrolled in. Having a mentor can make the learning process much easier and spur you to continue on for the times when you are feeling defeated.
Ways to Stand Out
When you start as a web designer (and later think about web development), it is important to remember there are many who are also aspiring. How do you stand out in the field? One approach is to learn more about web accessibility (making web pages accessible for those who use assistive devices). Another area you could consider is learning how to make web pages more easily found and indexed by search engines. Perhaps you want to check out schools and curricula which focus on these topics?
You may also be asked to show a portfolio of your work. Obviously, you will have examples from the classes you take. However, you may also want to offer your help to not-for-profit organizations. While you may not be paid for your help, you will gain significant experience in working with actual clients. Also, you can always ask the organization for a letter of reference (once you have successfully completed your project). We encourage you to think about ways to differentiate yourself from others. What can you do better than most? Leverage that as you learn web design and development.
The world of web development and design is an exciting one. Developers and designers work to make the apps, websites and games we rely on every day function as they should. They often get to work on cool projects that are at the cutting-edge of how we work and play on the internet, and you can be a part of that.
There’s a reason web developers and designers get paid well—it isn’t always easy to learn and do well. However, with a willingness to learn, determination and support system, it’s never too late to dive in. Whatever path you take, developer or designer, our Web Professionals organization looks forward to welcoming you to our community.
by Steve Waddell | Apr 11, 2021 | Industry News, State of the Web, Web Development
Three months into 2021, there are several web development trends that have clearly emerged. The digital market is competitive, and it’s important for developers to stay abreast of the latest trends impacting the industry. Let’s take a look at the trends that all web professionals should be aware of in order to stay ahead of the competition through the rest of 2021.
Artificial Intelligence and Bots
AI and bots continue to be used more than ever before by developers. Their ability to collect data, learn about users, and solve issues with human intervention make them highly attractive for companies seeking to streamline operations and customer service. Today’s consumers expect 24/7 service, and AI can deliver just that for companies seeking to maintain their engagement with customers while saving money. AI and bots can be incorporated into sites and mobile apps for a wide variety of devices. Staying on top of the latest in AI and bots can give your company a leg up on the competition.
Voice Search Optimization
Today, many internet users access web services without typing or even looking at the screen of a device. People can control garage doors, lights, security systems, thermostats and much more just by talking to a smart device in their home. It’s clear that voice recognition will continue to be an important aspect of web development for years to come, and it is estimated that as many as 50% of households with internet access will utilize a voice assistant by the end of 2022. Companies are in need of developers who can create web services that are accessed by voice command.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
The primary idea behind this technology is to speed up page performance to keep the user engaged with the mobile site and reduce the chance that the user leaves before the site page loads. Essentially, AMPs are optimized pages with a simplified and scaled-down design. This allows the pages to load quickly while only displaying basic features. They have easy-to-read content and are formatted to work seamlessly with smartphones and tablets. AMPs level the playing field for users, as even people with slower internet speeds can access and enjoy AMP features.
This helps developers test their products more effectively than the traditional manual testing. Put simply, web development is judged by how fast and efficient it is for the use. Automation testing promotes better testing coverage, makes the development process cheaper and reduces the time of the test cycle, allowing smaller web development companies to compete with those with more resources. This form of testing also creates a better user experience and allows developers to more quickly and efficiently identify issues.
This trend is about making web applications more accessible for consumers, organizations and businesses. Single-Page Applications (SPAs) are on the rise, as they don’t require users to reload the page while using it. An example of a platform that uses SPAs is Facebook. As users scroll down, new content appears automatically. Another growing trend is the use of Progressive Web Applications (PWAs), which offer stripped-down versions of native applications with the benefit of not requiring the user to download a new app. PWAs are cost-effective and can deliver users an easy experience.
These are a handful of the trends that will drive web development through the rest of 2021 and beyond. As a web professional, stay on top of what is going on in the industry so you can stay a step ahead of the competition.