What You Don’t See

I confess I’m a bit distracted by web development issues these days. My ever-so-smart-tech husband and I are finally getting to our own company website. We’ve been been busily designing websites and web apps for others without having completed a website for ourselves.

Well, that’s not entirely true. We actually do have a website, it’s just that people who go to it will only see one lone page, aka the landing page. What they don’t see are currently 3679 pages that make up the backend. Of these 3679 pages, we use 75-plus pages almost everyday! Shocking, isn’t it?

Until I got into web development, I pretty much thought it was magic. I knew there were some real people doing some real coding behind the scenes, but I had no understanding of the breadth, depth, and complexity that was invested to make happen what we almost take for granted today. Every time we use email, view a website, place an online order, search for information we’re seeing and experiencing something that’s taken hundreds of thousands of hours by hundreds of people to develop for an ever expanding number of devices and platforms, while trying to anticipate what’s in the future. If it seems mind-boggling, it’s because it is!

Most of the people we work with have a very limited understanding of the technology and web apps they use and need to run their businesses effectively and efficiently. That’s why they come to us. They trust us to put it together and make it work. We know they aren’t thinking about how their website will work and look on a desktop computer with a 27-inch monitor versus a smartphone. Most of them don’t even know how they connect to the internet, much less how many browsers and different versions of those browsers people will be using to access their website. Almost no one thinks about the visually impaired, yet colorblindness (and there are many variations of colorblindness) is quite prevalent. How and what colors are used will determine whether or not someone can see what you want them to see. And that only scratches the surface.

What you don’t see is all the work, expertise, experience, and knowledge that goes into the backend to make what you see and experience on the front end. If a website doesn’t load quickly or what you see on your laptop is not what you see on your iPad, for example, usually has something to do with how things were coded and all kinds of contingencies anticipated and accounted for in the code.

What does any of this have to do in the eternal scheme of things? First, we can’t judge people and circumstances only by what we see. There is so much more behind what we see at first. If people judged our business by what they currently see on our one lone webpage, they wouldn’t think we had much of a business! They wouldn’t see the web apps we use or the web development we’ve done for other businesses. Even when we complete our website, they still won’t be able to see everything. They’ll have a better idea of what we offer and how it will benefit them, but even then, they’ll never completely see all that goes into how we do it.

Secondly, how we tend to our own inner “backend” impacts the experience others will have of us. Our spiritual development influences our values which impact our character which informs how we treat and interact with others. Attention to the details of code, adherence to web standards, and the diligence of comprehensive testing will directly impact the user’s experience. The ease and delight of one’s web experience is only because an experienced team was dedicated to the minutest of details during the development and design of that web app.

The advantage we have over our own inner”code” is that we don’t have to learn new code languages, comply to standards, or even test. If we just started with being mindful that there’s a lot we don’t see, thinking before we speak, and treating others how we want to be treated, we’re well on our way to being fully optimized!

Thursday Tech Bonus: Email and websites are web apps.

2 Replies to “What You Don’t See”

  1. Was just talking about this in class yesterday and today…………that everyone has a “backstory”. Often patients get labeled “difficult”, “needy”, “demanding” which frustrates me to no end. If one takes the time to find out more about the backstory of those patients many of the challenging behaviors are not challenges at all. An example is a patient I had who would tell me where to put each pillow, exactly where he wanted the call lite, exactly how he wanted to be positioned and “oh, don’t forgte to move my table where I can reach it”. I found my self frustrated one day and finally took the time to get to know his backstory. He had been a highly decorated, high ranked military man used to giving orders, and in the hospital he had been stripped of his clothes, told when to eat and when to take his medicine, when it was time to turn etc………..All it took for me to work with him effectively and without frustration was to give him as much control as I could………..even if was something as simple as “I want to make sure you get your bath before lunch so what time this morning is good for you” or “it’s time to turn – which side would you like to be turned to? From then on I understood him and did not find his requests demanding at all. I was able to get the things important with his care done and he felt like he had some control. Taking time to listen and get to know………..how simple is that?

    1. I think you are so right! Everyone does have a backstory. In fact, that’s what i think is so interesting about getting to know or working with people. It’s like being on an investigation and uncovering something mystical!

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