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Wednesday Oct 12th, 2022

Q&A With Werkbot’s Lead Developer & Co-Founder, Jay Richardson

We sat down with Jay Richardson, Werkbot’s Lead Developer, to learn more about the technical aspects of building a website. Jay has been working in the tech industry for 20 years and had a lot to say about best practices, optimizing workflows, and finding the perfect development solution for each and every client we work with.

Can you take me through the process you go through when you're starting a new web design project?

Jay: It always depends, but it usually begins with trying to scope out the features of the project. We say: "Yes, we can do that!" or "Hmmm, we have never done that before; how can we do that?" or "No, we are not going to do that."

jay richardson

Werkbot's process has really been streamlined over the years, but with new technology and trends there is always something new that comes up where we need to be flexible. Usually, for development, by the time a project reaches us most of this is rock-solid to where we can start building the site right away.

Free/template site vs. custom development - pros and cons?

Jay: I think the biggest pro for a free/template site is the low cost and the value received. Depending on the free/template site chosen, you are getting a well-tested theme and the time-to-live is reduced considerably. The free/template sites work well because they are built with a focus in mind, whatever that may be.

When you start to stray from that focus, that is when things begin to break down. Adding new features or customizations, if it is even possible, is when the cons start to appear. Sometimes it means compromising your original vision of the feature just so it works with your site, or it straight-up isn't even possible.

When we do a custom development website build we are in a better position to implement new features and functionalities in the future. Our entire workflow is built to be flexible, which aligns with clients who are accustomed to updating their site frequently.

What methods have you adopted to avoid projects falling behind schedule?

Jay: Personally, it's just a very structured workflow which allows for flexibility and team transparency: we all know who is working on what and when. Organizing my tasks for each day and week is a huge help, both to myself and for everyone else on the team. Things will always pop up that take time away from something else, but that is the nature of the business.

What was one of your favorite projects to work on and why?

Jay: If I had to pick one, it's probably the internal workflows and frameworks we have built out over the years that really encompass all the sites and projects we have built. It's cool to see everyone working within these workflows and producing a high-quality end product for a client.

How would you explain a concept like accessibility/ADA compliance to someone with no tech background?

Jay: I don't think you need a tech background to understand it or even explain it. It's simply making the web accessible for everyone. There are techniques we implement that make this possible, short and sweet!

Name one website/app that you appreciate in terms of development - why is it so good in your opinion?

Jay: There are so many, but one that always sticks in my head is The documentation, from a developer's point of view alone, is amazing :)

Tell me about the projects you’re working on (or have worked on) in your spare time.

Jay: I always bounce around from one thing to another. Currently, I am working on a procedural storytelling game using Unity (It's basically Tom Hank's idea from the movie Big). I don't know if it will ever see the light of day, but hopefully!