Granted, you may be a most excellent designer in your field, whether that be newspaper layout, graphic design, or whatever. Odds are, however, you don’t have that same level of expertise in the world of web design. So why not? You have the essential skills in your mind, the capability, you’re capable! However, being capable is great when you’re designing your personal blog, your MySpace profile, and that site for your neighbor’s book club. However, clients tend not to see this and figure that since you know HTML, hey you can make them a website too.
Now, I don’t claim to be a master of the trade, far from it, but I do understand the difference between other design mediums and the web. Not too long ago I recall reading an article (I forget where), and someone mentioned that the final stage before a design is coded is the handoff of a wireframe to the graphic designers. Then it goes straight to the production team. No, that’s not a typo. While the graphic designer may be able to apply brand standards design, I’ll bet the button on my pants that his decision making process for handling the navigational elements are quite different than mine, or any other web designer for that matter. Print is a different medium than designing for the screen.
It’s the reason nearly every site that comes out for a movie is a one hundred percent flash based site that requires me to learn some new type of navigational scheme for each one. The reason design decisions frustrate the designer who was omitted from the design process but tasked with production when he sees glaring errors. The reason freelance sites are flooded with 14 year olds doing work for free to “build their portfolios.”
make sure to involve the geeky looking people who are being paid to share their knowledge.
However, you open new doors, new techniques, and think about things in an entirely different fashion than normal web designers. This is a good thing. But make sure to involve the people who know the user conventions, the design patterns. So please, continue to do so, but make sure to involve the geeky looking people who are being paid to share their knowledge.
So, Your Point?
I’m sure every web designer has, at some point, been passed over for the client’s son who knows HTML, or has been asked to do production on a design crafted by a designer of a different trade within the client’s company, or what-have-you. And while we may mutter “you get what you pay for” there is no list of reasons why we are worth our salt in comparison to clients who are uninformed.
So why are we different? What do we bring to the table that others don’t? I’d love to hear from others their thoughts or stories, or if you’re not a web designer, how do you feel about it? How ‘bout it?