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03/11/2015 | Matt Smith

Project Trident: Two Weeks at Webreality

Matt Smith

I’ve always been keen on technology and computing, and I’ve recently tried to learn more about coding, specifically web development languages doing online courses to get to grips with the ins and outs of CSS and HTML. 

For my work experience I went to Webreality for two invaluable weeks, in terms of furthering my own coding skills but also helping me to recognise that joining the web industry was something I’d love to do. 

Going to Webreality for two weeks as part of my work experience taught me so much about all the different aspects of web development and management which when creating small code snippets at home makes very easy to forget the complexity and large scale of building and maintaining websites specific to each client.

One of the best things about Webreality was the relaxed, productive work environment with good music playing which made it very easy to be productive and get on with the work. It’s a very friendly atmosphere, with an open plan office meaning that everyone was close and could communicate easily. 

Everyone was nice and very helpful like Tom who kindly lent me one of his spare macs for a week when the computer I was using suddenly blue screened and sounded like it was going to take off.

I looked at all the different stages of a website, starting with the initial design where I watched Justin tweak the design of a website to the client’s requests. Some of their requests weren’t going to work, so rather than blindly implementing a poor change he implemented a better one and gave feedback on why he changed it to the client. 

Later that day I saw Paulo animate the same website, and I was amazed by his knowledge of coding languages and seeing how he approached the different difficulties of building the website helping me to develop my own skills.

I started coding my own section of the same website, and struggled quite a bit with some parts but any problem I came across Paulo very quickly found a fix. Having an expert to help out when I was stuck seriously helped me and I learnt a ludicrous amount of CSS in the two weeks I was there, at first struggling with simple concepts then moving quickly onto harder tasks like animations, pop out menus and mobile optimisation, going from a simple biography page to a page with pop out menus, animated logos and a gallery. 

I then saw how a website design was ‘cut-up’ into code. It’s then implemented into Umbraco, a website management system that makes the content of a webpage easy to edit which is useful for changing pictures and updating blogs - perfect for the client. 

One thing I’d never considered before about web development was Google Analytics, which plays a large role in increasing visits and leading users to certain outcomes or goals. One thing I was shown that amazed me was the split test, where there can be multiple versions of a website identical apart from a minor change such as the colour of a button and the visitor unknowingly gets put on one version of the site. A simple change from “Book Tickets Now” to “View Tickets Now” resulted in a 300% increase in users looking at the tickets and more users ended up booking them, which shows the importance and power of analytics onto websites which before I’d never considered. 

I looked at some analytics of a real company and made notes on the different demographics, location, devices used and time users went on which on this website showed me that mostly men used the website at 9-5 on weekdays and used mainly Internet Explorer, popular in workplaces. From this I could conclude that it was mainly men at work visiting the website which means that we could then target ads at the most efficient times e.g. 9-5, designed to attract businessmen in particular. 

I went to a meeting with Mark with an actual client and saw the practical use of analysis similar to what I’d worked on with Geoff before and saw how the data actually turned into a realistic, intricate business strategy and how that was communicated and clarified to a client who may not fully understand the technological side of analytics. 

Thank you Webreality for teaching me so much in just two weeks about web development and furthering my own skills but also helping me to recognise this is something I really enjoy and want to pursue in the future!