I have over 10 years experience in graphic design, web design and development and have worked with such companies as Forbes Magazine and the American Liver Foundation. I’m an expert in graphic design and WordPress and have a master’s degree in Public Relations.
She is 5 star ... nothing else would describe her ... especially not accurately
very happy with the work and flow of communication
Deborah was tasked with bringing a pre-existing concept design along with pre-existing WP back-end work and integrate them into a fully functional front-end. She was my 3rd Codeable expert that I've hired at the time of the start of the project. I have since worked with 5 experts in total at the time of this review.I don't want to bore you with more details (though I did take the time to draft an even more detailed review than this which I can furnish upon request) so I'm just going to go through bullet points and takeaways in this review.In no particular order, here are the positives I took away from this relationship: * She pushed me to take the time to come up with Wireframes or chart decks to facilitate communication while forcing me to really think about all the details about what links go where, how to organize the site, etc. This was time well-spent on my end and worth the effort. * She implemented the front-end for the Home Page based on a designer's mockups (to first order) and my feedback on functionality and styling issues * She implemented most of the waterfall custom post type front-end; at least got me past the abandonment point from a previous non-Codeable developer (to first order; this was a lot of work) * Although I didn't have it during my working relationship with Deborah, I appreciated the value of having a revision-control system like Git * The project was far enough along that any future correspondence with other experts could be more specific and less abstract, which was definitely not the case at the start of this project (i.e. it was more abstract and less specific; things we couldn't have known up front are now known and I'm wiser for it)And here are the negatives I took away from this relationship: * The project (at least this working relationship with Deborah) took over 6 months. There are still issues to resolve so the goals of this particular project remain unmet. Looking back, it didn't need to take that long but it very easily could have gone on longer if I didn't take additional initiative to push the project towards closure. * I had to take additional time off my day job in order to hold weekly Friday tag-up meetings going through a status spreadsheet that I took the time to compose to keep the project moving (sluggishly) along. Even with the tracking spreadsheet, it didn't seem like Deborah adequately processed the issues in a timely manner, and in some cases I had to settle to move things along. * It turned out that I overpaid for services that weren't necessary like "Install of WordPress & Necessary Plugins" which were already done before her, or I could have installed the plugins myself. This alone put me out over $700 before she started the work I wanted her to do. She collected over $2.5k from me and with hindsight being 20/20, I now know this cost wasn't justified based on the end results. * Workmanship was such that I have to spend upwards of an additional $1.3k to go back and clean up the work she did with another Codeable expert who is picking up the slack after Deborah had to extricate herself from this project for personal/health reasons. This doesn't include future costs of finding yet-uncovered bugs/workmanship issues and fixing those even after the 30-day statute of limitations per Codeable policy. This is what bugs me most about this working relationship. She may verbally stand by her workmanship, but the actions speak louder than words. * She didn't understand or fully appreciate the scope of the project due to lack of communication on her part at the start. It was almost as if she came up with some itemized list nickel-and-diming me for every chore (no matter how trivial) and tried to justify her prices based on that instead of being goal-oriented and really understanding what needed to be done. In hindsight, I believe this is the root cause of what resulted in the cascade of issues that I'm pointing out in this review. She could have taken the time to really communicate to me her understanding of what I needed from this project and I wouldn't mind spending over a month or more if need be before a piece of code was written or a plugin was installed. * Schedules and promise dates were easily blown by or slipped. Most of them she self imposed verbally during the conference calls or were captured in the tracking spreadsheet. This further undermined the pace of progress of the project but it also undermined my trust in what she was telling me. * She had a tendency to jump to conclusions and mis-direct me when I pushed to close troubleshooting issues (actually helping her do her job as best I could knowing that it wouldn't get resolved without my direct intervention of contact plugin developers, looking through code, etc.).So in the end, Deborah wasn't the right person for this job.I believe she meant well at the start, but when she started to realize the full scope of this task as issues came up, that's when defensive nickel-and-diming behavior started to creep in (same kind of behavior as the previous non-Codeable developer who abandoned the job after over a year on the job). She did provide an estimate spreadsheet in the beginning (that I alluded to earlier in the bullet points) that was well over $8k. I was very glad I didn't go for it.Suddenly, instead of being solutions/goal-oriented, I now had to re-think my approach with her and scale back expectations to get the project moving along (even if it meant compromising goals I had laid out at the outset).This experience has undermined my trust in the Codeable network and support as they're pretty powerless in helping me out once the money's out of escrow (which was necessary to do in order to move the project along even if I didn't trust that the quality was 100% at the time).While I have a technical background, I went to Codeable for assistance on under-the-hood WP stuff and to help push the project along when I don't have the time to learn and do everything myself. I still openly question myself whether I could have spent all that time and money taking some class with a safe lab or sandbox to play and experiment with and do everything myself. Of course, there's only 24 hours in a day and that time is reduced by sleep, day job, family, life, then this website/project.Could all this have been avoided given how things played out? In hindsight maybe, but during the moment, probably not.As it stands now, it is what it is. I hope I'm wiser for it. But I still have an incomplete website migration project that's going on 2.5 years (of which this particular project I'm reviewing is a big part of), and I still have to push forward with the lessons learned here.