The New All Pets Wellness Foundation Website is Launched!

The new All Pets Wellness Foundation website is now officially launched!

For my faithful readers, you’ll know I was chosen to design and develop a new website for All Pets Wellness Foundation, a non-profit founded to provide funding for pet owners who can’t afford life-saving medical treatment for their pet (how nice is that?). The new site is now live at allpetswellnessfoundation.org!

Here is how I developed the website:

  1. Designed the wireframes & prototypes using Adobe Experience Design (XD) and Photoshop
    • Adobe XD is a very new program created specifically for web designers, so new there’s still only a Beta version. I was recommended by a digital marketing agency to learn it, and I definitely see its potential, although it still begs for improvement.
  2. Coded the design using a Bootstrap framework
    • This was really my first time relying on Bootstrap for my foundation. While I really like it, it also has a steep learning curve, as I had to understand what CSS rules were being applied in order to change them. I’m unsure whether the next site I design will utilize Bootstrap so fully, or if I will style everything from scratch.
    • For this website I went mobile-first, something some developers state is the superior practice. I have to say – I hate it! It is absolutely counter intuitive for me to develop a site this way, and I don’t believe I ever will unless it becomes the incontrovertible industry standard. I would admit that 99% of any substandard coding I (may or may not) have is due to fixing errors I encountered in making the site smoothly responsive.
  3. Installed it onto WordPress
    • There were a lot more kinks to fix – putting a site that works perfectly from my text editor to my browser, onto WordPress – than I expected. In the past, I’ve redesigned existing WordPress templates to fit my clients’ needs, but this time it was all my own coding. It’s infinitely easier to adjust someone else’s template, but of course, “real” web developers don’t do that. So, it’s not perfect, but kudos to me for a completely original design and successful implementation!
    • I was worried migrating the subdomain (that I installed the test version on) to the root would be confusing (as it has been in the past), but I discovered the plugin All-in-One WP Migration and WOW – it is virtually a two-step process that could not be easier. A step that I set aside a whole weekend to ensure a smooth transition ended up requiring less than an hour.

While not a perfect site (and please let me know if you see any errors), I can confidently say that the development and deployment of this APWF website now means I have taken a big step toward differentiating myself from the everyday WordPress site builder, and I learned SO MUCH along the way. WordPress can be so easy to use that no coding skills are even necessary to create a beautiful website – for example, many who start their own small business do not hire a webmaster, but rather, create their own WordPress site. More power to them – this is how I started! But it really is another level to code your own theme, requiring in-depth knowledge of HTML, CSS, and basic JavaScript and PHP.

Ok, pause. Let’s take this moment to celebrate this accomplishment, to bask in the glory of my success in “leveling up,” if you will. Because I’m going to tear it all down with a secret that makes me feel so vulnerable, I felt depressed hours after writing it.

Imposter Syndrome

Something most probably don’t know is that web development – and I assume many fields involving fast-paced technology, and I know, software development in general – has an extreme dichotomy in how it’s viewed between those who are in the field and those who know little to nothing about it. Let me explain. Those who are web developers, designers or coders, constantly feel inadequate, or at least that they aren’t really “that good.” There is always someone who knows so much more, is more rounded, more accomplished, etc. Those who know little about it, though – you know, the ones who say, “I’m not tech savvy,” maybe you are one of them – are so easily impressed! It’s kind of funny.

You see, when I’m around people who know little about what my line of work actually involves, it’s as if I’m a rocket scientist. It’s a great feeling. My title sounds glamorous, esoteric, complex. And honestly, it is a really cool and interesting line of work.

But the truth is, as someone who calls herself a “front end web developer,” I feel like a child at the adult table. I can’t even call myself just a “web developer” yet, as full stack and back end web developers will insist that without adding “front end” to my title, I mislead people into believing I’m skilled in programming languages (which I’m not, yet). Many topics – especially those related to the latest in industry advancements – go over my head, I don’t have enough work yet to be taken seriously by those who’ve been developers for many years, and I really, really do still have so much to learn (JavaScript, for one). Immersing myself in web dev podcasts, articles, news, etc., surrounding myself with other developers – it’s so humbling that any head inflation that may have occurred in the past, when revealing to someone what I do, now simply results in feeling like a fraud. In fact, feeling this way is apparently so common among developers it’s called “Imposter Syndrome.” It’s easy to feel this way because unlike in most fields, where someone’s competition is their coworkers or other job candidates, for web developers it’s everyone on the internet. With open source being an integral aspect of the field, coders can see almost everyone else’s work, and are always reminded how much better an average Joe coder can accomplish the same or similar thing. The industry also moves so quickly that it’s next to impossible to keep up and ensure your practices are up to the current standard. It’s common for developers to dislike the way they coded something 6 months ago.

It’s difficult to admit all this, but I am learning to remind myself how far I’ve come and how much I’m learning daily. I doubt I’ll ever be asked to speak for a web dev podcast or conference, but if I can one day get (and stay) hired under the title of “Junior Front End Web Developer” or better, at least I’ll know I’m “technically” the real deal, even if I’m not the best real deal (ha ha).

I want to really thank everyone who has been supportive of me and who admires my work. I plan to continue to improve and impress, and perhaps someday I’ll even impress myself. I start UC Davis Extension’s Web Development Certificate program next month, through which I’ll learn JavaScript, PHP, AJAX, and more.

What is your job like, and how do people react when you tell them what you do? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Update on Being a Night Owl

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know I recently endured the painful transition from going to sleep between 10 p.m. and midnight like a normal person to around 6 a.m. like a complete crazy person. It took about a week and a half to really “get used” to it (although I never liked it), and when my husband’s schedule switched back to normal earlier than expected, we made the transition again – and it took merely one day to get back to normal. Incredible how much the body despises rebelling against the schedule of a distant ball of fire. At least, this once-self-proclaimed-night-owl-smacked-by-reality body.

Currently…

Reading: Some fascinating articles. Trial by Fire, an article by David Grann of The New Yorker on whether Texas executed an innocent man. The Really Big One, by Kathryn Schulz of The New Yorker, about the impending, inevitable, and catastrophic earthquake that will hit the Pacific Northwest and that makes me glad I’m nowhere near there. Also, I read this article – Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime? – a while ago, but thought I’d share. Really, really opens your eyes.
Eating: Baby carrots dipped in Whataburger Spicy Ketchup. Steel cut oats made in the slow cooker. Cottage cheese like it’s rice – with soy sauce and furikake. Yes, I’ve been trying to eat healthy…
Watching: Seinfeld (used to hate it – then gave it a real shot – now like it). Grey’s Anatomy (still). They say you shouldn’t get attached to characters on Game of Thrones because they’ll all die, but…wow. I honestly think GOT has NOTHING on Grey’s Anatomy.

 

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