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4 Tips for Producing Error-Free Work

errorsWhether you’re taking a new website live or just posting your latest blog post, chances are you’re under a deadline and in a hurry to get across the finish-line. You’re excited to show off your latest creation, and ready to move on to the next thing in your queue, so you finish up, give it all a quick glance, and then take it live!

High-fives all around! Everybody loves what you’ve done and they…wait a minute. Is that a typo? And why is that section completely broken?! Oh, no!! You’ve pushed the go button too soon, and your work is riddled with errors.

Alright, it’s usually not as dire as I’m making it out to be, but rushing to get your work out the door is often the root cause of it not being 100% free of mistakes. The good news is, you can solve this problem yourself by building a period of testing/proofing into your workflow. Stay tuned, and we’ll go through a few tips for hunting those pesky bugs.

Make A Pre-Launch Checklist

Even if you’ve been through the creative process you’re involved in a thousand times, it can still be easy to forget a step here or there along the way. Maybe you get distracted because your coffee is finally ready, or an important phone call comes in and you lose your place. Whatever your process, a checklist can help you get through it without missing a beat. For instance, a blog publishing checklist might include things like proofing the copy for grammar and spelling errors, making sure the links are valid, setting up SEO keywords and meta-data, choosing and applying a featured image, etc.

If you’re experienced at the work you do, you can probably come up with your own checklist, but don’t be afraid to search online for pre-launch checklists that other professionals have already created. You might even discover a few steps you hadn’t considered.

Put More Eyes On It

There’s a strange mental problem when you work for a long time on something. The more you look at your work, the harder it can become to see it. The human brain is really good at error-correcting, and sometimes that means you can’t see the mistakes right in front of you. Ever read copy and swear a word was in place, but then go back and see that your brain just inserted it for you even though it wasn’t there? That’s what I’m talking about.

The solution is to put your work in front of other people that you trust. They will come to it with a fresh perspective and the ability to see small out-of-place details and errors. Once you’ve done this with a few different folks, you can be more confident that a mistake hasn’t escaped you just because you had been staring at it too long.

Take A Walk

Another way to make sure you aren’t missing errors in your work is to step away from it for a little while. This can be especially useful if you don’t have a group of peers to help you check for mistakes, or if there is just some conundrum you haven’t been able to solve. Giving yourself time away allows your tired brain to refresh and come back with renewed vigor and clarity. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had an “Aha!” moment after giving myself some distance from what I’m working on.

Let Technology Help You

Bug-hunting doesn’t have to be done alone, you should enlist whatever technology is available to support you. If you’re designing a website, you don’t have to manually check your new site on a thousand devices, use a browser-testing service like BrowserStack or CrossBrowserTesting to do it for you! If you’re a developer, use a “linting” service like JSLint or CSS Lint to automatically validate your code and check it for errors (or even better, incorporate linting directly into your editor so your code is checked as you go). If you’re a copywriter, spell-check is your friend, as are grammar checking services like Grammarly and Hemingway. The point is, there is help out there for you from robots who never blink or get tired. Hooray, robots!

Alrighty! Now you should have a few tools at your disposal to help you combat mistakes and launch your project error-free. Want to make sure that you work with folks who know how to do the same? Give the team at Solamar a shut shout!