A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jan 28, 2015

Rewarding Value: The Web Developer As a Designer Brand

Intel Inside. Foosball in the office. The re-imagination and even disappearance of the office. Ray Ozzie being acquired by Lotus in 1994 and Lotus gobbled up by IBM in 1995 - in order to get Ray Ozzie.  Steve and Bill and Zuck. Sergei and Larry. Marissa. 

We don't even need their other names. We just know. Try that on some random individuals with the latest leader of GE or Citibank.

Technology, for all of its roots in science, math and engineering, its 'Revenge of the Nerds' ethos has, ironically made it possible for business to value and even celebrate what used to be known as 'the soft stuff.' People, ideas, collaboration.

There were those who thought that once the economy had gotten over the 'gee whiz' celebration phase and began taking tech for granted that sensible people would refocus their attention on the 'important and material' measures like quarterly reports and return on investment. But if anything, the plethora of data that technology throws off has reinforced the fascination with the impact of factors that had previously been poorly or never understood.

This is the good news. Because the more we learn and the more we understand about how processes, systems and even serendipity works, the smarter we are going to be about opportunities, threats and the best way to create value, not just recognize it. JL

Tina Amirtha reports in Fast Company:

Engineering, especially across the business community, is not just a resource; it’s something you have to invest in.

For web developer David DeSandro, the start of the new year seemed like a good time to leave his cushy job at Twitter. As a product designer there, he developed myriad apps to enhance the Twitter experience for its end users. But DeSandro thinks more web products need to be geared toward other developers, rather than end consumers. Web developers need better tools to design for the web more easily.
The market for these specialized front-end web development tools is hot. Famo.us, a San Francisco-based web design startup that creates visually rich web libraries for front-end web developers, raised $20 million in Series B funding last summer. And open-source development platforms, like Compass and Bootstrap, have thousands of users. All of these coding suites let front-end web developers use pre-written code to make their own design work easier.
DeSandro is adding his brand to the mix with his company Metafizzy. Started four years ago as a side project, Metafizzy is now DeSandro’s main gig. Like Famo.us, Metafizzy is focusing on creating libraries that tweak the way visual content appears on websites. But unlike Famo.us, Metafizzy has been generating revenue for the last few years, from selling corporate licenses.
It helps that DeSandro is already something of a celebrity in coding circles. A few years ago, developers across the web started to use a library of his called Masonry. The code made
made images reorganize themselves vertically on a page, but not totally align with one another.
"2011 was the year for Masonry. There were lots of visual-heavy sites popping up, like artistic Tumblrs and visual-bookmarking apps, like Pinterest," DeSandro says.
A comment on a 2012 Co.Design article argued that DeSandro should get credit for the image-grid structure that defines Pinterest’s look. And the earliest versions of Vox.com used Masonry, as did The Verge.
Masonry was so ubiquitous that you could just look at a website and recognize the design as a "DeSandro." A friend of DeSandro’s recognized Masonry on the pop singer Beyoncé’s Tumblr and tweeted it out to him.
DeSandro knows he can use his past success with Masonry to promote his new work, and using his name as his brand would be an advantage. But he wants the Metafizzy brand to flourish, to give his company credibility and shake the image that it’s a side project. "On Twitter, I don’t know whether to push my work through the Metafizzy name or as David DeSandro," he says.
Competition between free libraries and paid ones is tough. Famo.us, Bootstrap, and Compass are all free to users and easily accessible, thanks to GitHub’s networks.

But companies do see value in paying for libraries especially if none of the free options compare. When Canvas, a New York digital design agency, designed the site for New York’s High Line, it paid for a commercial license on a coding library. The company didn’t want to redirect its engineering resources to developing a specialized text editor for the site. So it bought the license for an existing one and focused its team on meeting the client’s more important requirements.
"Part of what we have to do is decide what battles we want to fight," says Michael Smith, CTO of Canvas. "Something we’re realizing is engineering, especially across the business community, is not just a resource; it’s something you have to invest in."
Eventually, Famo.us will capitalize on this growing demand, too. It told Re/Code it plans to eventually make money with corporate products and services.
As for his past life at Twitter, DeSandro says his departure from the company was amicable. "There are a ton of exciting things happening at Twitter now, but it was time for me to move on," he says.
Twitter’s product design team has gone through several leadership changes in the past year, and it is trying out new features to enhance the user experience. But even as DeSandro takes a step away from designing for a general audience, he holds fast to one of the design lessons he learned at Twitter: "You need to be able to embrace the inexperience of your users, and be critical with this perspective," hey says.
Now, DeSandro is working on a library called Flickity that displays images as a carousel. And he’s doing it in a way where other developers at any skill level can just pick them up and easily integrate it into their own work, giving it an edge over similar libraries.
"My libraries aren't going to change the world," says DeSandro. "But I hope they get used by the people who have a shot at it."


Anonymous said...

In any Business now, web design and development has become compulsion for all. This is because through web design company they are able to create an identity of their own. Technology is developing with rapid pace and people are shifting from desktop internet to mobile internet. The gizmos and gadgets now in everyone's access. Everyone now has Mobile phones in their hands through which they are in touch with the world. The Mobile phones that come nowadays are flooded with a number of apps. Mobile is not only a way to communicate, but it also lets you read and exchange info when you are on the go. If you have knowledge then you have got power to survive in this world.

TaylorHis said...

Web developing you have to study only some essentials languages and database. All languages are virtually same (simply keywords are different). Web designer is the person who is answerable for creating the design for UI of the website. Webnado - Web Development Company, He is not worried how the backed coding is done which progression data.

vervelogicae said...

Creative Web design and development has gained a lot of popularity now days. Every one wants a stand out website for their business and this era has bought a lot of competition for web development companies.

vervelogicindia said...

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Eon Morgan said...

Web design and development are now required for all employees in every business. I offer web development services uk People are transitioning from desktop internet to mobile internet as technology advances at a rapid pace. Everyone today carries a mobile phone that allows them to communicate with the rest of the globe.

Unknown said...

Every organisation today requires all staff to learn web design and development. I provide wordpress development services
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Unknown said...

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Lio Morgan said...

Only a few basic languages and databases are required for web development services. All languages are nearly same (simply keywords are different). The person in charge of creating the website's UI design is known as a web designer. ecommerce web design solution

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