Ever get this vague feedback? - "Your approach was not what we were looking for"

Discussion in 'Web Design' started by Faux_Real, May 19, 2014.

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  1. Faux_Real

    Faux_Real New Member

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    I just had a Jedi mind trick kind of moment, with this really vague and confusing feedback from a recruiter for an open web designer position. I had a technical test to convert a PSD into HTML, making it as pixel perfect as possible. But have any of you fellow devs or designers ever gotten feedback like this?

    “We thought that your attention to detail was fantastic, but your approach with HTML (coding) was not what we were hoping to see”.

    I’ve already replied back to the recruiter for more details, but I’m not holding out hope to get a reply.

    For some background, the only requirements were to make it Safari or Chrome compatible on OSX, and pixel perfect. An example of the result is here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/157221806/tech-test-Intercom/index.html

    Have you ever gotten feedback like this before? I’m really bewildered by it, and of course there’s 100′s of approaches to take on converting PSD to HTML. (I did an initializr boilerplate, HTML5 tags, and CSS3 effects).

    Is this “your approach was not was we were hoping for” a new feedback term floating around? Have you encountered it? And what does it mean? I’m always looking to improve my skills, and just don’t know what to do with such vague feedback.
     
  2. winnergirl

    winnergirl New Member

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    Thank you for your post. I do not have any answer for you; however, I loved learning how designers get hired. I work for myself, but I always wondered how it worked. Thanks!

    Please don't stress, and I hope they reply and give you an answer, but remember, you could have 10 people taste the same omelet and you'd get 10 different opinions. I am sure you did great.
     
  3. Faux_Real

    Faux_Real New Member

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    Thank you winnergirl, you're awesome!
     
  4. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    maybe it was the fact that YOU did not actually do the coding but used some "tool" instead.

    As demonstrated by the class names.

    HTML:
       		<p class="User_performs_an_action">User performs<br> an action</p>
       		<p class="Intercom_records_the_event">Intercom records the event</p>
       		<p class="Message_at_the__perfect_time">Message at the  perfect time</p>
    
    AND
    HTML:
                        <p>&bull; Product managers can get better feedback</p>
                        <p>&bull; Growth marketers can drive adoption of features</p>
                        <p>&bull; Customer success agents can provide proactive support</p>
    
    Let's face it, NO web developer worth employing would use paragraphs with bullet points


    Employers don't want to know if you can use a particular "tool" they want to know if YOU, that's YOU, yourself, on your own, are capable of accomplishing the task. And YOU proved you could not.

    http://www.webdesignforum.com/20153-bootstrap-grid-system-too-constrictive.html#post88411

    The vague comment of
    actually means:

    But they are not 'allowed' to say that because knowing the truth might 'hurt your feelings',

    Me??? I have no qualms about being blunt, so before you could even CONSIDER applying for a job as a developer you need to know a LOT more than you have demonstrated here.
     
  5. Faux_Real

    Faux_Real New Member

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    You're right, I did use a tool. I used Photoshop's copy CSS. Why did I use this? Because it's the best tool for the job. I was asked to make it as pixel perfect to the PSD as possible, and for that to happen, and be most efficient, exporting CSS from Photoshop is the best solution. I could hand-code it, and if I did, it would take more time, be less accurate.

    Since the primary criteria was to be as pixel-perfect as possible, that was the best solution. And since the job I was inquiring about would entail a lot of PSD to HTML emails conversions, and other such landing pages, smart designers, developers, and product managers would recognize using the right tool for the right job.

    Have a wonderful day :)
     
  6. RDB

    RDB New Member

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    Most companies I know of use a Code Editor such as Sublime Text. A better way of doing your bullet points would have been:

    <ul>
    <li>Item1</ul>
    <li>Item2</li>
    </ul>
     
  7. Phreaddee

    Phreaddee Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No. It's. Not.

    As shown by just a few of chris' examples it still gets some things fundamentally wrong. Which is why you didn't get the job, even more so if you still believe this to be the correct "tool" for the job.

    Nothing beats your brain...
     
  8. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Accuracy was NOT the point of the exercise, as demonstrated by the use of "as possible" THAT was a trap and you, knowing no better fell for it.
    When a prospective employer provides an "aptitude test" it is YOU they want to test not some anonymous software developer who coded the "least line of resistance" into a 'tool'. Aptitude tests for interviews are there to weed out the 'chancers' and 'no-hopers' A school maths exam requires 'accuracy' and tests your memory, a job interview 'test' is testing your skills.


    Wrong on all counts.

    Personally, I have been converting 'pictures' to code for around twenty years and I have only used the Photoshop "PSD to HTML" slicing tool once, then I looked at the pig's ear it created and immediately went back to doing it properly. I
     
  9. ronaldroe

    ronaldroe Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh this is good. I saw this thread on another forum also, and never really looked into it.

    Ya, you can't just use the slice tool and have PS output the code and think anyone in their right mind would ever be happy with it. In fact, a handful of the people who work at that company likely had a good, long laugh at your expense.

    Anyone, and I do really mean anyone could do what you've done. It's a useless non-skill that no one is willing to pay for. I would never attempt to test someone's skill with something so simple, but if I did, and that's what I got in return, there's no way I'd even consider hiring you. I do wish they'd given you this feedback instead of feeding you the corporate-speak they did.
     
  10. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Oh deity forbid that people should be told the truth!!

    They might get upset and sue for their 'feelings' being hurt. Instead they have use platitudes and continue along the path of inspiring people to be 'average'.

    "Well, ... Yes Mr Einstein your theories are quite interesting, but it's not what we were hoping for" probably would not have made him prove his detractors incorrect.

    No one, absolutely no one, should fear being wrong, because being proven wrong is the ONLY way we really learn anything.
     
  11. Faux_Real

    Faux_Real New Member

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    If you look at the code, you can see I didn't use the slice tool at all.

    Now I know the problem with the feedback. Old developers don't know how to use new tools, and make assumptions about workflow. Thank you guys.
     
  12. ronaldroe

    ronaldroe Super Moderator Staff Member

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    1,223
    I did look at the code. That's why I thought you used the slice tool. If you didn't, and you hand-coded it, that would be the problem. Classes_that_look_like_this miss the point of classes, which shows you don't have a good grasp of CSS. Using 3 <p> tags and &bull; instead of a list shows you don't know how to properly and semantically use HTML.

    If you had used the slice tool, at least you'd have an excuse for the code you wrote...or perhaps "new tool" means you used a WYSIWYG editor, which is just as bad.

    And I'll tell you this now to save you a lot of problems down the road. "Old developers", which doesn't really describe me to begin with, are the ones writing your paycheck. My "old tools" are actually the tools you'll be learning to use a few years from now when someone asks you if you know how to use Grunt, NodeJS, write code using Sass, SCSS, Coffeescript or HAML, use tools like Emmet or create some sort of interactive page element without copy/pasting some jQuery plugin and running to the forums to figure out how to make do something it isn't meant to and you stand there looking like a deer in the headlights.

    We see people with that attitude quite a bit around here, and I hope for your own sake you check it now before the "old developers" refuse to give you any of the help you're eventually going to need.
     
  13. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    2,638
    Now I'm laughing as much as the interviewers probably did when they saw your "code"
     
  14. Faux_Real

    Faux_Real New Member

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    Wow, you're making assumptions about everything and don't even know.

    To clear a few things up, no WYSIWYG editor was used. All CSS export was cleaned up to have the best mix of efficient and pixel perfect. Yes, <p> tags and &bull; were used, and used because they were more pixel-perfect than a list. I ran this by the interviewer to see if the list semantics would take precedence, and he said no, making it pixel perfect was the top priority.

    For the User_performs_an_action classes and such, how would you have coded it? If there's a better way to mark up those 3 sections, I'm all ears.

    Overall, the best thing I've learned in this is to only code during a pair test or in person interview, not send it in.
     
  15. chrishirst

    chrishirst Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    2,638
    Actually it is YOU does not understand;

    Asking for "pixel perfect" in a aptitude test is a trap set by people who already know that it is impractical to actually attain absolute perfection without 'hacks' and 'kludging' the code. Aptitude testing is to test HOW you handle things and whether you would have the balls to say "pixel perfect is impossible across all platforms, I've made something that works instead".

    IF all they cared about was how the end result looked, your "approach with HTML (coding) was not what we were hoping to see” would NOT have been a issue.

    If you want to know how us "Old developers" would have accomplished the task, attach the PSD and we will probably show you :)
     
  16. ronaldroe

    ronaldroe Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm curious how you got from PSD to html by "exporting" CSS without either using Photoshop (or Fireworks, no real difference) or some kind of WYSIWYG.

    But, like Chris said, post up the PSD so we can show you the best way to do what you were asked to do.
     
  17. krymson

    krymson Member

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    338
    Psh im down for a fun side project... Post it man. We'll all do a PSD to HTML, We'll all code it just a bit different but I can bet you that the semantics will all be the same or very close... But the end result will be the same across the board...

    You have to remember man... when you're using a tool developed by someone else it's going to put in unnecessary code and give you some odd output. This in turn leads to longer loading times, making life a pain the the butt for anyone after you trying to go in and make changes because now they have to hunt everything down. With the way those css classes are... instead of the css taking a global effect it's only going to effect that single container which may use the same styles 27 times on 150 different pages... now let's do the math 27 x 50 = 1350... that's 1350 different classes you now have to update... versus just one... This is why companies hire people who don't use any tools other than what you have in your head because software does not have a brain and common sense.
     

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