There’s no doubt about it. Web development is a competitive field. It has almost unlimited growth opportunities, but you must find ways to stand out from others.
There are two sides to just about every website. There is backend development which includes database management, interfaces, APIs, and more. And there is frontend development, which focuses on the site’s visuals, design, and user experience.
When we are working on a project for a customer or building our portfolio, backend development is hard to make it shine. We can build great APIs, and high-performance algorithms, but in most cases, it is very hard to present, backend skills are sold just differently.
If you are just a backend developer, focus on your interview skills , and master algorithms , and systems design. There are hardly any shortcuts, experience is king. Now, I’m not saying you can’t have a nice portfolio, your GitHub can still be very important in this regard.
When it comes to front-end development, however, there are a few tricks that can help you shine, either when it comes to building portfolio projects, or a customer’s website, small changes in design, and small improvements in user experience can make a huge difference.
And the best part is, they don’t need to be super complex or hard to implement (but maybe keep that to yourself).
Here are five relatively simple things you can do to a website to make someone go “wow” when they visit it.
Add simple animations to make your website experience feel natural.
Website design has gotten increasingly complex over the years. Gone are static web pages filled with words. Websites are now multi-dimensional mobile-first sites that must integrate a dizzying array of different elements while still being seamless to use.
One of the best ways to introduce this “wow” factor into your website design is to add a simple animation. Simple and subtle animations can increase the excitement and enhance your user’s experience.
There are countless examples of how animations can help the overall experience, look at apple’s website , for example, navigate to any of their products and be amazed.
You don’t need to be Apple to add great visual elements to your sites and applications, here are a few ideas that are super easy to implement:
- Animate the logo.
- Install a checkerboard reveal over the headline or hero image of the site.
- Use parallax effects
- Convert customer testimonials into a cinematic scroll.
- Animate a key call-to-action button
Adding a couple of simple (but polished) animations adds a real flourish to a website.
As you may know, I work with React, and my favorite library to animate react apps is motion framer , if you work with React, I highly recommend that you check it out.
Trick visitors into thinking your website loads faster than it really does.
We all think we are patient. We aren’t.
One of the most frustrating things in the world is waiting for a new website to load. Even for those of us who know just how much is going on when a website loads, it takes barely a second before we begin hitting the refresh button like a maniac because it doesn’t load fast enough.
As a developer, you have to take this into account. The websites you develop are probably packed with videos, images, security functions, databases, etc. We can only do so much to speed up website load times. And, when you’ve made the website load as fast as possible, it’s time to employ a trick.
This isn’t really a trick. It’s more like the programming equivalent of sleight of hand, where you quickly load something up that distracts the visitor so they don’t realize they are waiting.
Add a simple loading animation instead of forcing them to stare at a blank loading page.
Animate their logo, create a galloping horse across the page, or simply add a spinning pinwheel. It doesn’t take too much.
The movement on the page draws their attention (and makes them less frustrated), and it stops visitors from abandoning the site you’ve worked so hard to build.
As the developer, you know what “fits” within the site’s theme. You know if the site is serious or playful. You can also talk to the client to figure out what they’d like to put there.
Offering a suggestion like this shows that you are thinking about the end user’s experience.
Make navigation more interesting and intuitive.
Website menus are everywhere. They are so common, that it’s easy to overlook them.
It’s easy to load a generic menu onto a site because you are concerned about getting everything else right.
But, the reason why menus are on every site is that so many visitors use them. So, while you could leave a generic menu on the site and no one would complain, why not think about turning something as simple and ordinary as a menu into something surprising and interesting?
Maybe your menu slides out from the site. It could pop out of the hero image. You could even do something as simple as adding a unique icon to every menu item.
The possibilities are endless, and there are great examples everywhere. As long as you don’t sacrifice the core functionality of the menu and people know where to find the menu quickly and easily, this is one of the easiest ways to go above and beyond with the site’s functionality.
BTW, do you like our menu? Have you checked it out how it works as you resize your screen? Cool, right?
Create apps that work across different devices
A website isn’t just a website any longer. At least, it doesn’t have to be.
Turn their website into a progressive web app.
If a company doesn’t want to create an entire app, you can also convert its website into a progressive web app. A PWA operates just like a downloadable app but runs straight through a browser.
Some of these ideas are about design. Others increase the site’s functionality. Regardless, all of these projects can help you deliver a website that looks and functions better, provides a better user experience, and increases the value of it to the business or organization.
These ideas help you go above and beyond to deliver an exceptional website, impressing both your client AND website visitors.
Now that you know these tricks, explore our site livecodestream.dev , and see how we implemented all these suggestions, without being apple, and with a few things here and there to make the experience great please share with me on Twitter @bajcmartinez what do you think.
Thanks for reading!