My favourite pieces to commission when I jobbed as a packer at a chainsaw factory were the health and safety instruction videos. "Never check the level of petrol by holding a lighter to the opening" and "Never keep the blade between your legs when trying to start the chainsaw" were just two of the highlights.
Health and safety measures are important – they ensure that our work environment is enjoyable and will not make us sick. Just because our job is handling user agents and typing funky words into an editor does not mean we shouldn’t follow some of our own.
When your tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, or – in some cases – a thumb.
Ideas that prevented me from repeatedly hitting my thumb:
- Generated HTML follows the same rules as written HTML: Don’t create invalid HTML. We stopped using CSS to make elements look like headers instead of using real header elements. The same applies to the DOM - redundant HTML elements to fix a design or add a design feat are – well, redundant, no matter what technology was used to add them. By the way, this also applies to server side scripting.
- Don’t break too many conventions. As posted earlier, I see the web as a secondary media, and assuming that the visitor pays detailed attention to our web sites is more narcissism than reality. If we need to explain functionality to the visitor in a piece of text, there is a big chance that we will confuse rather than help. Example? Users hitting the back button on AJAX apps and pure Flash sites.
- Leave a clean desk. Especially in distributed developments it is of utmost importance that everybody speaks the same "code language" and that handovers are painless and quick as the code is already properly documented. Define an in-house coding standard, comment your code where applicable and there will be a lot less stressed faces and moaning when people get assigned to projects.