If one of your primary concerns is to improve your judgement of your gear, then you have to have a good view of the placement in order to make a good judgement. So I'd forgo the high but out-of-sight placements for ones you can see and evaluate before you apply the bounce test, even if you don't make quite as much vertical progress.

The main thing that slows (easy) aid-climbing down isn't a few inches of reach, it's not getting into the top steps immediately.