Looking for a web designer?

Web Design – everyone’s at it these days!

Until recently, a web designer or developer was considered with a similar revere to that of brain surgeon or professor of quantum physics, etc, etc. However, in recent years, many spotty faced students and disillusioned accountants have launched their own web design agencies offering affordable and professional solutions to ‘getting your company on the web’.

To a certain degree it is great that this sector has now opened up to the masses. Increasing the competition and lowering the costs has helped in dismissing any myths that to be a web designer/developer you must firstly pop down to the local brain extension clinic for radical surgery.

To this news ‘Woo-hoo!’ I hear you cry with a modicum of the same exhausting enthusiasm that inspired this article. But before you rush out to the local web-shop to buy a few pounds of website…think again!

I’ve been on a web design course – know my stuff

If I hear somebody say that once more…! There are plenty of software solutions available to Joe Public, some of which you may at some point been offered by a bloke down at the local pub. Some of these applications are better than others, but none of them even come close to providing the punters with a well delivered website.

Let’s face it, until computers become fully self aware, suffer centuries of artistic and creative torment and then reach a blinding state of spiritual epiphany they will fall short of replacing the old soft stinky stuff that is the homo-sapiens. Nothing beats a hand-coder; a lonely individual who likes to create a website from the code upward and not depend on mY FiRsT MiCkY MoUsEs’ DrAg N’ ClIcK wEbDeSiGn software.

So next time your nephew says he knows how to build a website…ask him how. Mmmm.

Things to look for in a web designer

Once you have got past the usual levels of disbelief when confronted with a web design specialist, look beyond the pale complexion, the boot fit brown trousers and the ill fitting T-shirt with inappropriate wording/ imagery on it, to the levels of competence beyond design.

Checklist:

Is he/she…

  • …a designer before web designer?

Although it is good to find an individual who has a real talent at the visuals, all of this will be wasted if know body gets to see the website because this art-y-hool built the site purely in Flash, limiting the search engine indexing process…very slightly massively.

  • …an expert in Adobe Dreamweaver or Golive.

I can’t knock these programs myself – I use them all of the time, but they are just tools that help me along part of the way. There are many limitations with such software and the designer needs to thoroughly understand the web code that each page is made up of in order to optimise it for search engines, ensure that it is accessible and that it is error free.

Conclusion

Before you throw your money at the next web designer that drifts through your town, remember this truth; Although it is commonly believed in this day and age that anyone can be a web designer in next to no time (and take in pricey orders from day one) – think again!

I’ve been designing websites for over 5 years now and I’m still learning. Had I realised what I was up against at the beginning, I might have taken another path. Web design is a complex subject. In order to become a success, you have to know so much about HTML, CSS, W3, SEO and in many cases PHP/MySQL or ASP…the acronyms go on and on.

Look for experience. Don’t let your best mate’s niece put together your retirement fund web business if you won’t it to succeed; unless of course she is a professional web developer.