The design gig that's been consuming most of my time since early November last year has finally come to a close!
It's hard to believe it's really over. Is it over? I'm not sure yet. I may be dreaming. This may be a projection of my imagination, something I've dreamed of so long that I've wished it into reality, when really it's not true at all. Maybe I've gone mad. Maybe I'm really typing this in the looney bin, chewing tuna tin, doing things most people would consider... crazy. O_o
On a serious note though... it's not entirely over.
And I haven't actually dreamed of this ending all this time. It's been...
Albeit a little stressful sometimes.
There's a bug or two we've yet to iron out anyhow.
Nothing serious. Nothing most people will notice. Potentially nothing anyone will notice. Anyone but us, who have so severely and meticulously tested this beast of a site that it now looks good even on devices and resolutions that not a single human will probably ever view it in.
And in the process possibly made it worse on devices people will.
It's so optimized I fear that some of the responsiveness has been scarified for the sake of making it look good on the particular devices we tested it with, more so than look decent on all devices. We tried it on six computers of varying sizes, and two cellphones, in both portrait and landscape mode. We tried an old tablet too but it turned out it was too old, and not only not compatible with our site but also not compatible with the majority of other sites out there. So we let that one be.
Yet on the other ones it's been optimized to the point layout items line up to the pixel... on those devices. I know we're over-optimizing, I know you can't get a website to be perfect for all, and even if you could that there's a certain point where the time required to make further improvements is no longer worthwhile, as the time it takes to make it just a little bit better drastically outweighs the use of what little betterment you get. But my nephew is a perfectionist, so we kept going, and the stylesheet is thus maybe some ~1000 lines longer than it really needed to be.
Yet there were also issues - his meticulousness helped us find some that definitely would've gone unnoticed otherwise. My sense of proficiency with design and coding both soared and tumbled with this project, from rising exponentially in the early learning phases, while we were testing out features I wasn't sure I'd be able to implement properly - like text-to-speech functionality, to plummeting in the latter phases when we were optimizing the site for this plethora of devices, and the four thousand lines of styling were getting increasingly difficult to navigate; changes that impacted one device positively often had an adverse affect on another, and improvements offset previous improvements, and everything just started to feel like a mess...
That's a good lesson too though. Stay organized. Structure your code from the ground up and it'll be easier later on.
The final night - just hours before the launch - we were troubleshooting things like:
- Why the 'latest blog' blocks - where the entire block had been made clickable via CSS pseudo elements - were suddenly linking to author pages instead of post pages after the 'read more' buttons were removed for mobile devices.
- Why the 'more blogs' button had such a small hit area, and seemed to be getting covered with padding from the recent blog blocks above it when they scaled past a particular breakpoint.
- Why the menu shadow disappeared for a moment during the transition from computer to mobile menu, at somewhere around 780-784 pixels of width, though the breakpoint was 786.
- Why content blocks that switched from float to flexbox on lower resolutions, as a way to re-arrange the order of the blocks to always have image above text on mobile - they were otherwise positioned interchangeably with text either to the right or left of each image - received different amounts of padding on every other block, even though the styles were exactly the same.
- Why Safari specifically shows a background below a block element when it's been turned into a button, even though it doesn't actually have a background color, and hover states are supposed to override any such changes.
- How to omit certain text from the speech-to-text engine even though it had to be readable on computers, when it was hidden for mobile specifically.
Except for that final point I managed to solve all of these things just before midnight. I think. One may remain somewhat, but that's our bug for later.
The other five points were interesting. Maybe I'll delve into those on the blog later on. I'd saved bookmarks for roughly a hundred StackOverflow posts, and CodePens, and other useful bits and pieces of design know-how I've picked up along the way these past three months, that I've been sifting through and clearing out these last few days.
Plan to recap some of these skills later on. If nothing new pops up. It'd be a good way to keep the skills fresh and relevant, and document them for posterity on the one place I know will never disappear.
As long as I live, at least.
But the finality of this design gig? We're almost there. The launch went well. I went through my checklist of items to test after opening the site for the public, optimized the cache a bit, checked links that had to be changed after development, we convened via phone roughly fifteen minutes after launch to celebrate with a glass of cider. At a distance. Cheering sensibly in a somewhat soundproof kitchen. And that was that! That was it. It was over.
They may ask for further updates down the line, and if so I'd be more than happy to step in again and resume this not-very-profitable-and-at-times-very-stressful-and-tiresome-but-at-least-occasionally-also-highly-fun-stimulating-and-personally-beneficial-and-enlightening-with-somewhat-confidence-boosting-and-further-business-meriting-qualities partnership.
We have an ongoing service plan with the client that'll give me an extra work day (at least - possibly more if there are issues and/or other requests) at the start of every quarter, and next week... well then I'm heading off to Östersund again. :)
I've been in Stockholm a little over a week since last time now. We kept going via video link the last few days, as things were not as finished and finalized as we'd planned them to be when I left, but this time it'll be more pleasure than business. I plan to hang out and have a good time mainly, work a little from a distance, blog a little maybe, squash our last lasting bugs, have a few walks with my big bro and their dog and then... back to Stockholm again! And whatever new thing awaits here next.
For now I'm catching up on other things, there really is a bundle, whatever the dues that are due... they never end.
But that's okay! Keep on going. Have a good day.
Or play pretend. :P