Undermining the Industry

It’s no secret that the web design industry is often not given the respect it deserves. People treat it as if it’s a much simpler task than it really is. Forgive me if I come off sounding a bit arrogant, but it seems like people seriously underestimate the work involved in creating a quality web site.

One issue, for example, is people expecting to see comps of work without payment. It happens quite a bit, but it’s a ridiculous request. Do people ask mechanics to make the first couple of repairs on their car for free so they can get a feel for how they like working with them and then, based on that, decide whether or not to go with that mechanic and pay them? So why ask a web design company to create a few mock-ups first before deciding to actually pay them for their work?

Then there’s beautiful journalism like the article posted yesterday in the Wall Street Journal telling companies how to build their own site with 8 hours of work and $10. Brilliant…because that’s all that goes into a quality site.

Really, there are some fantastic gems in the article like this one:

All you need to know is that a block of HTML essentially, a bunch of gobbledygook words and symbols can add extra features to your site.

And this isn’t some second-fiddle publication being read by 5 people, this is the Wall Street Journal. A highly regarded and professional publication.

So where does all this undermining come from? It think a lot of it stems from a lack of understanding. For almost as long as there has been the web, there have been “build-your-own site” tools easily and readily available. This gives people the feeling that that’s really all it takes…a couple clicks of a button, drag a few things, and you have a site.

But the reality, as we all know, is that there is so much more that goes into the design and development of a site. So much more planning and “strategerizing” goes into the process. Can you build your own site with these free tools? Yes. Should you? That really all depends on how serious you are about making your website a business tool. If you really want to maximize it’s impact, then the answer is probably no.

I understand I’m preaching to the choir a bit here, but after coming across Jeff Croft’s link to the WSJ article, I just had to vent a bit. It’s sad to see such a lack of understanding and respect of our industry come from such a well-known and highly regarded paper.