To all those don’t meet you yet. How do you describe yourself?
That’s a good question; I barely know anymore! Generally speaking, I make websites. I’m a front-end web designer by trade, and increasingly I consult with organizations to help them make better web experiences.
When you started developing, what were some common mistakes you made along the way?
My introduction to web development was all table-based layouts and other older techniques. It wasn’t until I read Jeffrey Zeldman’s Designing with Web Standards that I was introduced to a better way to develop websites.
Front-end seems to be easy until you start to learning. How do you face the challenge of learning new things?
It takes a while, but learning where to look when you get stuck is crucial. Learning how to learn is a critical skill in an industry that’s constantly changing. Google the things you’re stuck on, and take note of the sites that give you the answers. Eventually patterns will emerge and you’ll find yourself seeking those resources out first the next time you get stuck.
What would you qualify as the top few problems facing developers today?
There’s an over-abundance of tools, technologies, and opinions out there for developers to learn. I touched on this in a recent talk, but the fact is the Web is too big for any one person to master.
How would you recommend somebody to start learning web development?
I’ve answered this question in detail over here.
What are the things you would have known when you first started?
I personally wish I got up to speed with a lot of computer science principles and more traditional programming earlier in my career. I come from a design background, so that stuff still feels a bit foreign to me.
What was your first development job and how you faced it?
I made a website for my uncle’s chiropractic practice. It was my first site and I had no idea what I was doing, so it helped to have a client I was related to!
What was the most challenging project you ever faced and why?
Every project has its challenges, and almost all of them have to do with people rather than technology. The best way to overcome those challenges is through honest conversation and as much collaboration as possible.
When starting a new project, if you feel stuck where do you look for inspiration?
I step away from the computer and spend some time in my back yard. I also travel a lot which is great to get a different perspective.
Generally speaking, I start with structured content (HTML) first, then begin layering on styles, and ultimately move onto laying on functionality. I try to solve problems lower in the stack whenever possible. I’m a firm proponent of progressive enhancement, and this layered workflow helps me created more accessible experiences.
What excites you most these days?
I really enjoy teaching and helping people do better work. I’m also excited to work on a product of my own rather than client work for other people. It’s a bit too early to share, but I’m excited to get it off the ground.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned?
Work hard. Don’t be an asshole. Share what you know.
Do you have any favorite books, videos, or resources that you could share with the readers?
Again, I’ll redirect people over here. Those are the resources that I find really helpful.
What can we expect from Brad in the future? Anything you want to share?
More stuff! Again, I’m working on something that I’m looking forward to sharing over the next year. I’m also finishing up my book called Atomic Design.