To conclude this round of employee spotlights, we’ve interviewed one of A-LINE’s developers, Toby MacDermott. Here, Toby answers questions about what’s behind the scenes in web development, successful website projects, and the benefits of fresh air.
What trends do you see in website development that clients should know about?
Looking back over the past few decades, it’s interesting to note that the basic backend of what became the “website” we know today hasn’t changed much. At a base level, the things used to build websites were hammered out in the 1990s. Over time, programmers figured out how to build what they needed, then defined a protocol around it. That protocol hasn’t been updated in a very long time. I share a little bit behind the curtain with you to make the point: if things were planned out better, who knows what could be possible now! I encourage clients to take the time to develop processes for their businesses.
If there were something you'd like to see change in the web industry, what would it be?
I hope Microsoft Internet Explorer just goes away. Other major browsers we develop for, like Chrome and Safari, use approximately the same backend rendering engines. Microsoft uses it’s own thing. So as a developer, I have to do some weird tweaking to make sites render well in that environment. I encourage more people to embrace newer web browsers so that we can do cooler stuff with their websites – and not have to build like it’s still 2000.
If you were to equip a client with only one marketing tool, what would it be?
A game plan. Whether it’s a new website, brand direction, or marketing effort: you need to have a road map to determine whether it’s working or not along the way.
It’s like going kayaking. Doing the pre-planning logistics is always better. For example, clearly determined location, timing and anticipated river flows, and the people and vehicles involved at put-ins and take-outs.
A game plan makes for a much more successful run and enjoyable trip overall! The same goes for a website project. If you make plans with your team ahead of time, everything works out better.
What's one business- or industry-related book/blog/expert you're reading right now that you'd recommend?
I recommend going outside for a ride or hike in the woods.
What are the ingredients of a successful client relationship?
Taking the time to work on a plan together and keep that plan in mind. It helps to not get sucked into the latest and greatest flavor of the month with programming and design. Also, communication is key.
What are the ingredients of a strong creative team?
Communication. I’ve found it really helps when everyone on the team has an understanding of what everyone else is doing on the team. Having that context creates empowerment among team members and makes them stronger together.