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8 Web Development Projects to Help Improve Your Skills

Once you've gotten the hang of basic web development, you might be hungry to test out your new skills.

With nearly 600 websites being added to the web every minute, you're not the only one out there trying out your skills. While some of these sites like the ones we create at Avila Web Firm may be permanent, a lot are probably temporary web development projects.

Why not get into the mix and build your own project? Here are 8 ideas for fun and challenging web development projects to help you develop a portfolio and try out your new skills.

1. A Website For Your Favorite Restaurant

Even in this era when everyone seems to live half of their lives online, nearly half of all small businesses don't even have a website. You could create a small project to thank your favorite taco spot or all-night diner for coming through for you during late night coding sessions.

Find a way to populate a menu using MySQL for an added challenge.

Otherwise, you can hardcode all the data in. Show the business your work and you might have set yourself up for a lifetime of free guac.

2. A Sign-Up Form for A Contest

Sign up forms are a challenging way to test your ability send queries and receive responses from a database. Add a random counter (1-10) and when the entry number matches that random counter, have your application send a positive response.

A signup form can be a way to test out your best idea of a form flow, front-end design, and database chops all within one little app.

Your signup form should be easy to understand, with a prize exciting enough to make it worthwhile. Keep users engaged while keeping the design simple.

3. An HTML5 Game

Creating an HTML5 game is a great way to show off your designs and get them to move through space. Using JavaScript, you can display different behaviors and programming concepts.

Set it up on a server accessible to friends and get them to play it. JavaScript game dev libraries like Phaser can expedite the prototyping process. The basic structure of a game is ready for you to plug in the details.

For Android users, try making this game into a downloadable app. Save scores to a common database and allow your friends to compete with one another.

4. Tinder For Cats

Are you stuck thinking of a great new app? There's no point in reinventing the wheel. Come up with a simple swipe behavior analyzer, connect to a database of thousands of cat photos, and allow users to swipe through.

Similarly, you could create an app loading two cute cat videos through an embedded YouTube search. Allow users to watch both videos and make them choose which is the cutest.

Save the rankings on a database and then you can start to rank all of the cute cat videos on the internet. You never know where your project will end up if you start with simple concepts for your web development projects.

5. A Magic 8 Ball

Here you can toy with simple animation and built-in phone accelerometers. Start off with a simple app that toggles through your options randomly. Allow users to shake as long or as vigorously as possible and respond accordingly.

For an added bonus, add a text-based version. Set up a number to receive the word "SHAKE" or any text at all, then respond with a version of magic 8 ball text.

Adapt this model for any group of variables: Which Seinfeld character are you, which Black-ish character are you, which NBA all-star are you, etc.

6. A Site For Your Friend's Band

Not everyone is as good at making websites as you are. You likely have some very talented friends who are in desperate need of a new site that embeds and reskins all of their different creative accounts.

For friends in bands, having a great website can bring in digital download sales and show bookings that will take them to the next level. This may seem out of their reach but by putting together a simple site with contact info and great photos, you could help them build their career.

If you really want to impress them, try creating a multipage WordPress website that allows them to post pictures and add tour dates.

Additionally, if you have friends who are great photographers and painters, you could make a simple JavaScript gallery for them.

7. Clone A Website

If you're stuck on ideas, there's no reason not to consider cloning an existing site. The sites that you go to on a daily basis are your favorites for some good reasons. Figure out what it is that you love about those sites and see if you can get your project to behave the same way.

Find a way to make it your own and you can include it in your portfolio as an example of the sort of work you're capable of doing. If potential employers see that you're capable of designing and implementing a search engine, they'll be impressed.

8. A Cool UI Component

Have you seen something on a site that you couldn't stop looking at or a button that you wanted to click over and over? A simple, elegantly designed contact form or a cool interactive javascript gallery could look great on your portfolio website.

Having some nice components that give a nice user response when you click them shows that you know the value of interactivity and how to attract users. If you've got a fresh idea for a signup flow, this could be a great opportunity to show it off.

Web development projects don't require that you build an entire site. They can be small projects you can build over an extended lunch break.

So Many Potential Web Development Projects

Your imagination is the only limit to the cool projects for trying out your web design skills. If you've got a tool you've been working with for awhile, why not challenge yourself by building a simple project with a new tool?

Once you get your project up and running, test ways to optimize your site speed and show you're not only the best designer but also the fastest on the web!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clayton Johnson

Clayton Johnson brings over a decade of experience in marketing, communications and PR to his role as marketing director at Avila Web Firm. You can follow Clayton on twitter.

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