Behind the Screen with Web Developer Marc Palmer
When it comes to creating brand-new websites for clients, we turn to our team of Web Developers to for their expertise and drive to deliver the best. Marc Palmer shares what the process is like making a client’s dream become an on-screen reality.
So as a Web Developer in our St. Louis office, what are some of the things you do on a typical day?
Well there’s no real average day. And that’s what I like – I don’t do the same thing every day. I get to touch a lot of different websites, a lot of different projects, and every day is a new challenge.
Do you like the different range of clients or the different kinds of work?
Well, I do like being able to work with multiple clients. Some clients I’m familiar with and have an interest in even outside of work, so that’s fun to take an interest and get to build a website around it. And then there are sites that are just plain fun to build, that sort of push the boundaries, and I’m constantly thinking of new ways to do things.
And I also like the variety of the work. One day could be nothing but bug fixes because we’re getting ready to launch a website and there are 70 tasks that need to be done. Going through and knocking those out, that’s enjoyable for me. But then the next day, it might be starting a site from the ground-up.
And when you start a site, how do you catch the vision for it?
I like to get an elevator pitch – if you only had 15 seconds to explain to someone about your company, what would you say? The homepage of your website has the same function: to explain to people at a glance what you do and why you do it.
And if possible, it’s always nice to talk to the person who’s going to be managing the content. I want to know how we can we build it so it’s easier for them to add and maintain the content. That’s something I think a lot of other website design companies don’t necessarily concern themselves with – how easy something is to update – and I think it’s something we do well.
Yeah, if we create this great new site and the client isn’t easily able to update and maintain it, it’s a waste. What things do you do to make sure it’s easy for the client to use?
We’ve implemented a drag-and-drop page builder. That makes it substantially easier for clients to manage their content, versus storing all this code in the text editor and trying to make sense of it.
Now the client can pull in an image, pull in videos, add an FAQ section – do all these things that there was no easy way to do before. Not only can they do it very easily, but they can also see what it will look like before they ever hit save.
Is it like a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) mode?
It’s like that, but on steroids. With this page builder, you click a button to add content and you just drag it where you want it. And if you don’t like it, you can drag it over, or up or down, or right next to something else. You can see it happen as you’re doing it instead of guessing how it’s going to look with WYSIWYG. And the amount of custom functionality we’re adding with every project is just outstanding.
So you’re saying if the client can dream it up, there’s something we can do to make it happen?
I’d say 90 percent of the time yes. The big question is how important is that particular feature? I mean, if it’s going to take us weeks to custom build, then will it be worth the investment? But if it solves the client’s biggest problem, then it’s worth it. And, once it’s built, we can add it to our tool box of what we can offer other clients with similar problems.
Is that something that gets you excited about working in digital marketing – solving problems?
Without a doubt one of my favorite parts of the job is problem solving. I love being able to sit down with a client and listen to the problems they’re facing and come up with a solution that solves all their needs.
It seems like that kind of attention is given to every client from everyone on our team – not just their Account Executive or Digital Brand Strategist, but even their Developer.
Definitely. You know, web stuff and technology in general usually gets people flustered. They don’t understand it, and they’re terrified they’re going to click one button and everything’s going to break. I want people to walk away with a brand-new website and think “This was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.” I think that’s what pushes people off new technology in general – they don’t want to try because they don’t want to screw something up.
And so we kind of smooth out that path for them, saying “You don’t have to worry – we’ve got this.” We know how to put it right if it does get messed up, and we might learn something really great in the process and come out better than we were before.