On This Series
In my day-to-day, at meetups, with clients, whether they're other developers or friends and family: there are a lot of common questions on everybody's minds. This series aims to address them as I notice their frequency!
1. So... What do you do, exactly?
As with most questions, the answer is: it depends. The position itself differs widely between employers across the industry, so I'll attempt to detail some of the nuances here.
Build the part you interact with
Understanding and refining / simplifying the requirements. Understanding what data is needed, and how to best retrieve it. Implementing the vision / patterns of your team's designers. In some cases, extrapolating or filling in the gaps when a designer is not available.
Advocate for the user experience
This means, at all times, considering the user's point of view. Is this a painful interaction for users? Am I considering all possible users? Are we making it easier for the user to achieve what they came here to do? Helping Business understand a more optimal experience than something proposed. Knowing when something does or does not belong
Code Design and Advising Fellow Developers
In a team environment, it isn't feasible for a UI Developer to be the only one touching the front-end code. It's their duty to make reusing and implementing UI elements painless for their peers. They'll be called upon to defend user experiences and advocate for alternatives that they propose. They'll be responsible for knowing when logic doesn't belong in the front-end, and for optimizing the experience overall.
Keeping Up To Date
Things have been evolving rapidly in the web space. The technologies available, the architectures we use to combat an endless flow of new devices, good and bad user patterns: there's always something to stay up to date on, and a large part of specializing is being ahead of the curve.
2. So is it like real development?
Sometimes knowing what you don't have to do is half the battle, and in the end React developers are generating HTML: They need to know what it is that they're generating, and aware of how all their users consume it. Are screen-reader users able to parse it? Is it crawlable by search engines and structured in a way to generate good SEO?
That's all for now
Having started this venture, I'll be keeping an eye out for the questions I get all the time and trying to keep on top of them here!
Have any Front-end focused questions plaguing you? Reach out to me on Twitter @deathbypapercut and I'll compile them into the next post!
Future articles will be linked above.