Making mistakes is part of the human experience. They go together like pizza and bread. But the beauty of a mistake is that you have the opportunity to learn from it.
Still, the reality is that we usually don’t learn until that mistake is right in our faces. Even then, that false move can come back to haunt us again and again. Once that happens, it seems impossible to shake yourself from the clutches of that horror.
Perhaps the best defense (and only defense) is to make that mistake in the first place. So, before you go about your daily business, read our list of business and design actions that can come back to bite you. It just might save you some headaches in the future!
Accepting Projects That Don’t Feel Right
Not every project or client will be right for you. And it seems, often, you can spot a bad one from the start.
But one of the hardest things to learn in business is to trust your instincts. Other factors, such as the need to take out money and our portfolios, get in the way and cloud our decision-making.
Signing up to work on a project that looks like a pending disaster can be detrimental to your business and your health. Whether it’s because of the work itself, an insufferable client, or both – it’s a bad situation. And unfortunately, there isn’t often an elegant way to find out.
So, it pays to think long and hard before agreeing to something you are uncomfortable with. If you can’t see yourself pulling off the project, it’s okay to say “no”.
Failure to Comment Code or Document Changes
Have you ever written a piece of code and said, “I’ll remember it”? Even if you are blessed with a sharp memory, there is still at least a good chance something slip your mind. This makes future maintenance much more difficult for you (or the next developer).
The same can be said for other changes. For example, you may need to temporarily remove a design element from a template or change CSS. If you don’t take the time to document what you’ve done, it will usually come back to haunt you.
You could waste valuable time searching around for a change in the past or trying to figure out why you wrote a piece of code years ago. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Websites rarely stay the same. When a change happens, wouldn’t it be nice to have a detailed explanation of how things work? Do yourself a favor and start documenting items big and small. Yours in the future with respect!
Depending on the Unreliable
Truth be told, almost any third party item we implement can be a weak link in the chain. However, it is up to us to try to mitigate that risk as much as possible. How do we do this? By taking the time to research the products we use.
Although no one is clear enough to know what will happen, you can tell the difference between well-kept products and those that are not.
Sometimes, we choose something simply because everyone else is buzzing about it. We could do that without looking at factors like compatibility and release history. The danger is that by the time we find out how poor the product is, something is already wrong.
So before you jump on that bandwagon, do your homework. See support forums and changelogs. Test things for potential weaknesses. A little extra effort up front can save you from having to remove that previously hot item from every site you manage.
No Stand for Yourself
As the old saying goes, give people an inch, and they’ll take a mile (or the metric equivalents). It’s bad enough to let others take advantage of you. But when you betray your client, well, that’s a punishment you could live over and over again.
Actions such as working for them after hours or providing price breaks can give you a boost. Reply to their message on Saturday night, and some people will assume it’s okay to contact you at that time. Charge a lot less than you would normally, and they will expect it to always be that way.
It is not necessarily the fault of the client. People tend to base their behavior on the reaction of others. In other words, if you let them do it – they’ll probably take advantage of it and not think twice about it.
Sometimes we have to tell ourselves that it is good to set boundaries. That is unless you want clients interrupting your dinner or regular binge watching sessions.
The Keys to Fewer Regrets
Like a PAC-MAN game, web designers must find a way to fight those ghosts that want to haunt us. Strategically, just like in the classic video game, to do this one must move with the future in mind.
However, many potential problems can be prevented by avoiding lazy practices. Things like commenting code, researching software, or even weighing the possible consequences of a project, could save us from many issues.
The good news is that all of the items mentioned here can be avoided, or at least mitigated to some extent. Learning from mistakes is great, but preventing them is even better.