This is just a small change to code, right? NO!
Small change is just a tip of the iceberg!
“We decided to use a different font, can you just change the one we’re using to this new one? This is a small change – it’ll just take a minute right?”
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Sure, a programmer can quickly go into the CSS and change the font-style to what the client was looking for. And in a perfect world, that would be it.
The headaches begin
But then our testers load up the new site and realize that the chosen font doesn’t look the same on every browser, and on Macs especially it’s downright ugly.
We could find a similar font compatible with Macs and modify the CSS to load that one, but it won’t be exactly the same. Or we could create an image of the header instead of text that would look exactly right across browsers, but that might impact our SEO ranking.
And while the font LOOKS fine on mobile devices, ones with a lower resolution now push the half of the header text down a line, meaning almost have the screen is filled with a title – not good.
We can create a separate CSS style for lower resolution devices, but we’d have to figure out exactly where the cutoff is and make sure that every device triggered the proper CSS to generate the most appropriate style.
Starting to feel like a migraine
Say we get all of that figured out. Then someone points out that there are website screenshots in your brand new explainer video, and making these changes means they won’t look the same. Should you re-do the video with the new look? Doing that will wipe out any analytic data you’ve gathered as you’ll have to upload a new version.
That font style was also used in the free eBook you were giving away in exchange for newsletter subscribers. You used to have a uniform look across all of your media, but now it’s getting fragmented.
What is a small change?
There are of course some changes that are small. When we do split testing on a site we might make a change as small as changing the text on a button (e.g. changing “click here” to “submit”). Or we might change the button from blue to red. These are small changes because they don’t affect anything else in the site or in the code.
Sadly these small changes are few and far between.
Whether you’re building a website, an ecommerce store, a mobile app, or anything else, we always have to focus on:
- Efficient code for fast load times
- Proper documentation
- Compatibility across devices and operating systems
- Positive user experience
- Pleasing visual style
Requests that seem simple (like changing the visual style) may seem simple, but even minor implications for these other areas means a lot more planning that’s required and man-hours to execute.
Why are you telling me this?
It’s important that our clients understand that when we tell you something isn’t a small task, it’s not because we’re trying to be difficult. We know you want your software built properly, in a way that minimizes bugs and keeps your clients coming back.
Agreeing to these small changes without considering the consequences will lead to far bigger problems down the road.
When you’re focusing on quality and the long-term, small changes rarely are.
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