156: With Anna Debenham

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Anna Debenham is a freelance Front-End Developer based in the UK. She started finding clients when she was 18 and never looked back.

In this episode, she shared some great advice about how to get started as a web freelancer. We also discussed handing off projects to clients, working with Flexbox, how to present work to clients remotely, how to come up with awesome job titles for yourself, and more.

We talked about (roughly in order):

Q & A:

  • 17:08 I always wanted to be a contractor, I consider myself a cool (not as cool as Anna Debenham) front end, but I cannot step on the contractor world. Since you work that way, what are your steps to get into it?
  • 22:08 Dave talked about “Tiny bootstraps” for each client. I really like this idea, but am curious what that looks like for you in practice. Do you deliver a folder of sass partials for them to work with, or do you have a minified stylesheet and a style guide with classes that they can use?
  • 31:53 As I was just about to write a small Flexbox grid system, a coworker (let’s call him Big Time Timmy Jim) showed me this article about how you shouldn’t use Flexbox for major layout things because paint times drop significantly. The author’s answer is to use the grid spec, but that’s pretty far in the future with not much browser support today.What are your thoughts on this?
  • 41:34 I’ve recently taken the jump to full-time client work and I have a question regarding working remotely. When it comes time to present a concept for a new site how do you prefer to demonstrate it to a client who is hundreds of miles away? I’ve heard of designers using video and web-based prototyping and I’d love to hear what’s worked well for you.
  • 49:41 Is there a place for someone who is both a designer and a front-end developer? How do you describe to a potential employer that you can in fact do both, and want to do both?
  • 55:12 I am from France and I do HTML/CSS and a little JS for a web agency. I do not do the ux and the ui design, my mate Clément does it. I never know if I should say “front end developer” (because I don’t do the development of our web-applications) or “front end designer” (because I don’t ux/ui design). What should I call myself?


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Also, you might like Chris’ other podcast, CodePen Radio. Just saying.