My Year in Review
All considered, 2015 has been a good year!
My highlight for sure was moving into my new flat. The whole searching, buying, and decorating process took way longer than I imagined. Because of this I didn’t take on as many large projects, but I did manage to find enough freelance work to keep me going.
What better way to start the year than to blog a two-parter? I wrote about SVG — using it with various experimental techniques (part 1, part 2).
Earlier in 2014 I had built a large scale responsive CSS framework for an e-commerce website. In January this year I expanded upon it to add their custom admin interface (to manage products and customers). There will be a link here soon to my portfolio page for this project!
Ending Jan and starting Feb I helped out a couple of regular clients on small projects.
Later in the month I wrapped up the final amends for an ongoing project that had crept out of scope. The full work was delivered and paid for but the client relationship had unfortunately soured. The first and last time I’ll see this happen. I’ve since adapted my workflow to ensure expectations are crystal clear. Regardless of the client I now take it upon myself to ensure all parties are on the same page at all times. Recent clients have been very pleased with the added attention I give.
At the end of Feb I used my personal website — as I often do — as a ‘guinea pig’ to help me understand Critical CSS and Performance. The results and ensuing feedback were brilliant.
March — June
March saw me begin helping Houden Bags with an assortment of design and dev tasks to finish their e-commerce store. This was my first experience with the Shopify platform and I was pleasantly surprised with how developer-friendly it is.
Throughout these months I pursued the time consuming activity of flat viewing. It helps to know where you actually want to live and how much you can afford. It took a good few weeks before I really knew what I was looking for.
Thankfully, the work with Houden Bags was flexible, and alongside several smaller jobs, it kept my business ticking along.
In May I rebuilt my WordPress website as a static generated site with the help of Metalsmith. This was another learning opportunity. And what would a year be without a complete rebuild of my personal website?
On the 19th May I attended UpFront Conf.
By July I had found my flat. Lawyers were doing whatever they do. I’d get the keys in August. Back to work for now!
The e-commerce project I had worked on in January was back with the third piece of their front-end puzzle. Despite being responsive, it was decided that a set of dedicated mobile templates would allow a more tailored experience and better performance for certain devices. The modularity of our CSS framework and templates to-date made it very easy for me to piece together a reduced, even slimmer version.
Turns out it takes a long time to move into a new flat. I spent the best part of 3 weeks painting and decorating with my Dad. Initially fun, quickly exhausting, but well worth the effort.
October — November
I learned about Accelerated Mobile Pages (and again, used my own website as patient zero). I attended UpFront Mini because the first one was so well organised.
In November I received the perfect project to learn and implement a ReactJS solution. Another project that I really need to highlight in my portfolio.
I also decided it was time to release my Tales WordPress theme for free (MIT licensed).
December didn’t start well. Following two months of ongoing issues, BT inexplicably decided to terminate my broadband services entirely. Four weeks of further trouble and I finally think I can see the light. I had to forgo paid work because of this! Super frustrating. I need a back-up plan that doesn’t involve Mc Donald’s free WiFi.
Thankfully a last minute call from a local agency filled in a couple of weeks with a very interesting job. Following that I took a couple of weeks off over Christmas. I met my niece for the first time! A great end to an unusual year.
Happy New Year!
Work with me in 2016
I’ll have plenty of availability for front-end design and development projects next year. I work with everyone from individuals, small businesses, and large web agencies. Contact me and we can discuss services and your requirements.