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    12 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2013 1:39 PM by Moderator Jim

    Confused About Web Designers?

    monimesz Adventurer

      confused.jpgYou may not believe me, but most people building websites are unqualified. Most people that build websites fall into one of the following three groups, amateurs, graphic designers, or programmers. Which one should you hire and why? How can you tell them apart? Does it matter which one builds your website? Why should you care? Let me show you why, read on.

      The Amateur – He is motivated to learn. It’s true that his day job might be delivering pizza, but he is willing to try. He hasn’t done it before, but you are providing him with on the job training. As long as you are willing to be the guinea pig, he is willing to see what he can do for you. I almost forgot he is cheap, or maybe even free. The most interesting amateur scenarios involve family members, neighbors, roommates, or even coworkers. He works on his own schedule. Forget about deadlines. Your website may be finished in a few months or it may never be finished, but it will be an interesting roller coaster ride, whatever happens.

      The Graphic designer – He loves pretty things. He designed cute little postcards and brochures in the past. Websites are just like brochures, right? Yes, it is a trick question. He is more concerned with looks than functionality. A pixel to the left here a shade of blue there, and we are done. He has heard about lead gen, traffic, and SEO, but he doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.

      The Programmer – He means business when it comes to websites. He knows his code. He has a no nonsense approach to developing websites. Yes, developing, not designing, after all, he is a programmer. Who cares about design. He wants clean code. Looks are secondary. Usability is not his concern. After all what matters that it works.

      If you are lucky, you never have to hire any of the above, but the best web designers might have little of all of the above characteristics. The best ones are willing to learn and try new things. They are always ready to experiment with new ways, taking risks. They also deeply care about design. Yes, it is true that design isn’t everything, but all websites should have great design. The programmer in us will always care about optimization of code, loading times, and efficiency.

      When you hire to have help with your next web project look for all the traits listed above, a professional web designer will have them all.

        • Re: Confused About Web Designers?
          mganthony Wayfarer

          Great article and highlights the most important traits in a website creator. As an aspiring website developer previously, I can honestly say you have hit the bulls eye on website development. I began making websites because I have a little bit of these three components, but I am not advanced enough in the programming area to be successful. Several years ago I learned data processing, so I understand how programming works and today there is software that makes programming easier. I have developed a few websites, however, I have no training in graphic design and it looks so much easier that it really is. I would consider myself to be the amateur out of this group. I have just enough programming knowledge and creativity to be willing to learn how to build an effective website. It doesn't necessarily require a team to build a website, but someone who has the right combination of these traits. So as the article states, when evaluating who you will hire to build your company's website, make sure to find out how much programming and design experience the candidate has.

          • Re: Confused About Web Designers?
            Moderator Berta Guide

            Great information! Thanks for sharing.



            • Re: Confused About Web Designers?
              greg_warren Wayfarer

              I agree, great article. The best web designers also get the "pretty" side of things since no one wants a great functionality but unappealing to the consumer. Here at TABB Solutions Inc, all of our web designers must be, at minimum, CIW Certified. Although experience is a plus, we cannot afford to have amateurs building and manageing our client's online presence. For those that may not know how important this is in today's technology:

              • CIW certifications verify that certified individuals have the skills necessary to master a technology-driven world. In today's competitive workplace, certified CIW professionals have proven abilities that set them apart from other Web professionals.-Sourced from CIW TABB_Solutions_Inc_Logo.jpg
              • Re: Confused About Web Designers?
                j.thompson Newbie

                The best plan from my experience is to separate the functions.  Have a freelance graphic designer (with web experience) design the look, then hire a programmer to do the actual construction.  A little iteration will be necessary to get them to agree, but at the end of the day you will end up something you like that doesn't cost a fortune.


                The graphic designer can be the person/company that has done work for you in the past (logo/cards/direct mail), a googled freelancer or just someone you know with the skills.  Its important that they design within the limitations of an actual website though.  Google "CSS Awards" for fresh ideas.


                The programmer can be found much the same way.  Show the design your graphics person created to a few prospects and see if they think its within their capabilities.  Now, you can't ask that question directly, because they'll all say yes.  Ask them how they would do it.  You won't understand what they say, but the level of knowledge and confidence in their answer will tell you whether they can.


                Just my 2c

                • Re: Confused About Web Designers?
                  pauljoachim Scout

                  Bottomline, web sites are created by businesses to generate business!!    When writing a business plan would you be worried first about how pretty it it?   Would you have the pizza delivery guy writing your business plan for you?  NO!!  Well, you certainly can but you'll get what you paid for!  Same thing goes for a web site.  Worry about the message, usability, content and it's ability to convert to a sale or whatever your goal might be.  You define those FIRST.  Then you present these goals to a graphic designer and interface expert to design the look and site architecture of your site.   Then you hire a programmer to put the concepts into a web site.  Good web design is not easy.    Good web design can be an important part of your businesses bottomline.  Don't just hand the job to anyone. 

                    • Re: Confused About Web Designers?
                      katandmouse Adventurer

                      Love this post but I also agree with Paul. I was that amateur, and I was that graphic designer who agonized over pixel perfection, and I was that programmer who obsessed about usability.  But I became a marketer because I learned the hard way that a pretty website means absolutely nothing if 1) it can't be found (and found by the right people), and 2) it can't sell. So I changed my priorities. My process now starts with a messaging framework in which I define the target market, the value proposition, the differentiators, the call to action and the goal of every single page. Then I take that understanding of the product and the target market and do keyword research. From there I weave the keywords into the entire website build from urls to the content so that it can be found online by the right people, and then keep them engaged once they land. After that, and only after that, comes the design and then finally the actual development. To do it any other way, I feel, is like building a house without a foundation. But the beauty of great messaging is that it can resurrect a sinking ship. I've seen "amateur" websites (out of the box Wordpress, default template sites with only "Welcome" as the title on the page) become powerful sales machines and get phones ringing off the hook, just by replacing ho-hum content with very targeted messaging that is expertly presented (yesyoucan touches on that).

                    • Re: Confused About Web Designers?
                      YesYouCan Scout

                      One thought to add to what is already a very good discussion - If a visitor does not land on a page that strongly identifies with their search keyword or keyphrase, above the fold (they will not scroll down otherwise) and the design does not catch their attention, most will click off and go elsewhere.  First impressions count - and just like a book if the cover does not catch your attention, the rest of the great content will not matter.

                      • Re: Confused About Web Designers?
                        crifjohnson Tracker

                        I think Programmer and designer both play an important role for any website. Nowadays it means business when it comes to designing websites. They knew their code as well as designing and animation. Programmer usually do the code and designer gives the complete layout and design of the website should compel marketers view...