I’m Brad, I am the digital director/web developer/web designer at Lucid Digital – we’re a team of two so I make up half of the company. I’ve been developing websites in the industry since 2014 working for web design agencies where I then moved onto to be part of an in-house marketing team. This is where I learnt how to be more than your typical WordPress developer and delved more into programming whilst also becoming a more all round marketeer having worked on international marketing campaigns alongside my development work.

How did I get into website design/development?

I wouldn’t call myself a stereotypical web developer as I got into website coding as a bit of a mistake. I worked in the plant hire industry up until it snowed one winter and my hand almost fell off removing frozen JCB batteries, It was then I knew that a career in a nice warm office was the career for me and freezing outside in the mud like Jack Nicholson in the shining was not.

So I went back to college to get a new career in marketing, I actually wanted to be a graphic designer which is not as easy as it looks! I thought everything was going to be digital and on websites so turned my attention to web development, which was probably the best choice I’d made since I matched astroturf trainers with jeans and a football top at the year 6 school disco.

The thing with a career/skill like web development is that you’re constantly learning and if you’re not then you are doing it wrong. I try to spend time when we are not that busy learning new web practices/web languages to keep the work we do at Lucid Digital up to date in the industry as much as possible.

Now you know about my background in web design and development, that’s the boring stuff out the way and I can describe what it’s like being a Lucid Digital web developer for a day.

We work remotely at Lucid Digital so the day starts early as my office is also my home, which can cause productivity issues from time to time but that’s usually when I’m hooked on something good on Netflix – but don’t worry our projects always go out on time!

7:00am
The day starts early these days since my partner and I had a lockdown baby. So the start of my day is spent feeding and changing Henry where we are usually anticipatedly waiting for “It’s Timmy Time” to start, then once that’s over we play until it’s time for me to get ready for my working day and I hand him over to my partner.

Henry

8:30am
Like I said before working from home can be procrastination heaven so I try to treat my day working from home like a day going to any office and will get showered, dressed & fed Crunchy Nut Cornflakes ready for 9 but that doesn’t happen every day so some days your websites are being designed and developed in my pants. This is why we don’t have the standard ‘Meet the team’ page on our website as you usually see with marketing agencies, no one wants to see this.

9:00am
I usually start my working day at 9 but I think that is giving myself a bit of credit for this blog so between 9:00 and 9:30 my working day will start. First thing’s first for any working day, setting the tone with music is a necessity which is normally a Spotify playlist or if Mary Anne Hobbs is on 6 music then her show will be the priority.

Whether I have a web design or a web development project will decide on what weapon of choice I choose which is between Adobe XD and PHPStorm. Without these two bits of software our digital projects would not run as smoothly and anyone thinking of becoming a developer I’d highly recommend investing in a copy of PHPStorm.

When starting a web design project I usually search awwwards.com for design inspiration but then realise that a local small business doesn’t need a vertical scrolling, SVG animated, AI-powered web project – so I will settle for something in the middle that is focused on user experience yet looking the best it can to compliment the client’s brand. I’ll put together a wireframe prototype in Adobe XD before I start any designs but sometimes this is for internal use as Dave/Davina the florist has no interest in seeing some boxes and lorem ipsum on a page, they just want to see their business looking pretty.

By the time we get to the design we’ve already done the groundwork for the SEO side of things, keyword research, competitor research, and so on, so by the time we get to the design, we know what the website sitemap will be and the type of message that the site needs to project.

When I starting building the website I usually look at the design I’ve created and groan because I’ve put some concept in there which is difficult to build, then I ask myself “why the hell have I put slanted divs and trigger animations in there knowing full well I’m the one who has to develop the website”?! Oh well, we love a good challenge.

I have a standard boilerplate WordPress theme which has been built up over the years with functionality that we think should go into every website like security and getting rid of the over-inflated guff that WordPress likes to include.

Between 9 and lunch usually involves several cups of tea, slack conversations with Kat (my business partner and the other half of Lucid Digital), and real conversations with Kay (my actual partner) as well as a bit of design or development work. When we’re up against it with a project the headphones will come on and you will see the grey appearing in my hair as I’m typing away at my keyboard and searching StackOverflow (who I owe my career too) for a bug fix.

12:00pm
This is probably the best part of the day as this is when I get to eat and lay on the sofa which is probably the number one benefit of working remotely. The second benefit is that you have a kitchen where you can cook a lunch which 9/10 is not healthy and at the moment the special of the day is jalapeno hot dogs from Co-Op or spinach, feta, and ricotta pie if I want to sound a bit fancy for a blog.

1:00pm – 5(ish)pm
The difference between morning and afternoon work is that after lunch on the sofa I need to get some enthusiasm back to start coding again which usually means looking at memes or watching Limmy clips on YouTube that I have watched a million times before. I usually work up until 5pm then finish for the day and spend some time with the family and fall asleep before 9 o’clock because I’m in my 30’s now and usually crashing from my diet of jalapeno hot dogs and chocolate hobnob biscuits. When things are busy though, it’s not uncommon for us to be plugging away late and night and over the weekends.

For anyone considering a career in web development or web design, then I’d definitely recommend it. The industry changes daily so you do have to keep on top of things and be willing to adapt and learn, but you certainly don’t get bored!

Written by Lucid Digital in Blog