Website designers seem to be two a penny these days. Whenever I go to networking meetings of any description, there are a few financial advisers, a few accountants and just about everyone else seems to be a website designer. If you are considering a career in website design, be aware, the jobs market is saturated with them.
But what exactly is a website designer? All the most skilled website designers I have come across are actually graphic designers with a background in print. They sometimes need assistance with making the transition as design elements that work with print won’t necessarily work on the web. This is not a problem as a user experience consultant can help them bridge that gap by explaining what the constraints of a computer experience are. Generally speaking, website designers are from a creative background rather than a programming background, whereas the person building the site, the web develop is from a programming background. The developer will usually have experience of web programming languages and website usability.
Unfortunately, website design has a rather bad name these days as anyone who has a copy of photoshop and dreamweaver and a PC in their spare bedroom thinks they can design a website. Unfortunately, they can’t, and I see the results every day. Websites that are impossible to navigate, text that is difficult to read, and code that has not been optimised for the search engines. Using an unqualified web designer may not cost you a lot of money, but they will cost you your reputation: a site that no one visits and that puts off existing visitors is not exactly an advertisement for your business. If you are looking to hire a website design company, make sure you follow the following three rules:
- Does the website designer have a graphic design background? Make sure you see their portfolio before making a decision.
- Does the website designer understand the issues of website usability? Is there a user experience consultant available to test the website and ensure it conforms to minimum usability standards?
- Does the web developer have a web programming experience or are they just someone who knows how to use dreamweaver? A qualified web developer should understand how to optimise a website for the main search engines and ensure that it follows Google’s guidelines.
Remember, your home page is the shop front for your business, so it’s
worth hiring a professional when building your website.