While I’m no expert in marketing or advertisement I have spent the last year of my life developing applications directly applicable to the marketing and advertising world. My job has certainly not been on the creative end of things, but I have been exposed to that area in having to work with those whose job it is to sell. I’ll admit that I’ve kind of liked it. It’s an area where a focus on user experience is as important as the raw functionality of the application itself.
It’s been interesting participating in and viewing the client-audience relationship and having to be the mediator between the two. While clients fully understand their audience’s buying patterns they often have no idea what their behavioral patterns are. The best clients in the business are those who understand that they have hired us to do more than just put together a technical application, but to research a market, understand that market, and build an application that is focused on and in tune with that market. It’s here that I think things get most interesting.
Narrowing the audience allows me to be more creative with my applications because I get to build something that is much more detailed. While this may seem to contradict the developer’s code of reusability, it also opens a new door for learning, expanding, and impressing. I don’t feel forced into building an application that is broad enough to apply to anyone. This I feel leads to applications that are boring, often cluttered, and just usable at best. Many of the client’s that I have had to deal with have been willing to invest more money to get an application that fits their business model, as opposed adapting their business model to fit an existing application.
Beyond everything, it’s very important to remember, me especially, that the development is only a small part of the whole. There’s selling the application, researching the client, understanding what the client is selling, understanding what’s most maintainable for the client, and of course meeting all of the client’s deadlines. Then their is the consumer. Who is the consumer, what will the consumer be trying to accomplish, and how can the application do 90% of that work for the consumer, and make the remaining 10% super fun? Focusing first, not on which language and classes will be used, but on layout and the logical progression and flow of the application according to user expectations. Understanding the designer, and how the application will run underneath a layer of HTML and CSS. These are all new questions for me, and one’s I’m only learning to answer. Beyond all the frustrations inherent in programming, and the constant suppression of telling the client that if they’re so confident that they can build it they’re more than welcome to, I’ve really enjoyed being forced to take an audience into consideration. The web moves at a quick pace, hopefully I can keep up over the course of this year.