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What I Learned Building a Side Project Without a Designer

ryan_dunton profile image Ryan Dunton ・2 min read

The Project

I LOVE the Oscars. When I say I love the Oscars, I really love the Oscars. My roommate and I watch every Oscar nominee in all 24 categories every year. It's one of my favorite traditions however, we usually track our progress by crossing off the movies we have seen from a physical list.

Over the weekend I decided to make a website to help us track our progress!

Final Product: www.theoscarwatch.com

Round 1: Myself as a Designer

I had a ton of fun building the site, but of course as a React developer all I cared about was how cool and fast I could move data around the site. Finally when all was said and done this was a snapshot of the result.

first try

I was really proud of how fast and concise the site worked. However, the reaction from the rest of my friend group (non-developers) was lukewarm. Multiple comments of "can we spruce this up?" or "oh wow, nice good work". So finally, unhappy with how the site looked I called in one of my designer friends on Monday, the day before the nominations came out, to give me a hand.

Round 2: Working with a Designer: Electric Boogaloo

I had my designer friend come over after sending him a link the night before. He mocked up a quick design for how to change things. The first was killing the modal that displayed the data in favor of a dropdown menu. The second was making the scrolling area smaller. The third was adding a countdown timer. And the fourth was a revamping of the color scheme.

The final result looked like this:

final

Much cleaner, better looking and most importantly...much better received by non developers!

The whole thing reminded me of the scene from Silicon Valley where none of the non-engineers understand the awesomeness of the compression app.

Long story short, as developers we sometimes take designers for granted and we need to appreciate that they can bring value that we don't even think about.

OUR finished work: www.theoscarwatch.com

Discussion (1)

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betkowski profile image
Betkowski

Now this article, especially this part: "Long story short, as developers we sometimes take designers for granted and we need to appreciate that they can bring value that we don't even think about.", is music to my ears.
Website is looking good Ryan, might use it and have myself an Oscar night of my own!