Confessions of a Web Designer: Lessons Learned Via Website Feedback

Website Feedback is important

Website Feedback

Yesterday, I decided to share a new free website template that I created using Foundation 5’s responsive framework. The template goes along with others I have made, and they are interconnected via a demo section, where visitors can flip through the different free templates that I offer, and pick the right one to download for their projects. The truth is, I am pretty much a one man show. I have no team of writers or developers. Everything is ran and overseen by me, and only me. Yesterday, I truly learned the value of website feedback. Below is my story, and what I learned.

I originally uploaded the demo, with a directory name of superclean. While this should have been fine, The sign up page that I created for new visitors to come and download in exchange for their email address had the same name. After figuring this out, I went back and changed the folder name to add “demo” at the end, so that it would be different from my opt-in page. Typically, I use Dreamweaver for writing my own code from scratch, and when I changed the directory name, it displayed a dialog box telling me that it had changed all of the directory names.

The Problem With Assumptions

We’re all human. We all make mistakes, but we should also keep them to a minimum. I assumed that Dreamweaver would update all of the file paths for everything, not just the pages. I even went back and tested it to make sure everything looked like it should. It all looked great, so I made it live.

Helpful Website Feedback Poured In

So, I thought everything went smoothly, and shared my new template through my social media outlets, like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I started getting messages about missing parts of my site, such as no styles, missing images, and the links in my article didn’t work.

Here’s What I Learned

Dreamweaver Isn’t Magic

Dreamweaver may change and update page links, but it doesn’t update CSS, images, or javascript links. This can cause major problems. After a few minutes, I was able to go back and fix all of these, so it wasn’t a massive problem, but one I wasn’t aware of.

You Don’t Always See it Like it Really Is

Your browser may cache what the site should look like, when all of the files and scripts were linked properly. As far as I knew, the site looked fine. I needed others to tell me that something had gone wrong. Thankfully, a few helpful people on Google+ let me know what was missing and I was able to rectify the problem quickly.

Shortcodes Don’t Display in All Browsers

My WordPress theme uses shortcodes to display buttons for links. They work in some browsers, like Firefox on a Mac, but other browsers and mobile devices won’t display them properly. Where many visitors should have seen a demo and download button, they saw shortcode gibberish.

I’ve been using my theme for months, and never knew that the shortcodes for by buttons weren’t showing up properly. I would have never known this if I hadn’t had generous feedback from visitors on Google+.

 Conclusion

I learned a few valuable lessons in planning, and file structure that I won’t forget anytime soon. I learned the value of website feedback, and I am extremely grateful for everyone’s comments. Taking the time to comment and inform me of issues is extremely helpful, and enables me to deliver the best experience possible for all of my visitors.

I am a professional graphic designer and web designer with years of experience. I am also an illustrator and Wordpress theme creator and author of this design blog. I write tutorials and build custom websites. I do what I love, and I love what I do! You can: Follow Me on Twitter, Join Me on Facebook, & Or Follow James George on Google+