Given that the web design field flourishes in the face of honest and open feedback, we thought we would put together a post that discusses some things that we as an industry need to hear, that we perhaps don’t want to. Or that aren’t always the easiest to hear.
1 – Not Always Room for Innovation
We do have a field that tends to be very creative and passionate, but overall, when we are working on projects for clients who want tried and tested solutions, there is not always much room for innovation. While everyone wants to be responsible for the next big thing, often times finding a client who is on board with letting you try something that could effectively flop is not always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes we have to reign in the imagination and remain tethered as we work.
2 – Every Aspect of the Design Matters
You cannot just half-ass your way through because you have one or two elements that are strong and you feel that they carry those places that are lacking. Each piece of this whole is crucial to its success. From the content displaying with enough padding, to the navigation being clear and bold enough to attract the eye without distracting the eye. There should be no after thoughts, for each piece is as key as the next. Without every cog in place, the machine doesn’t turn.
3 – If Content is King, the Host is Your Kingdom
Hosting considerations should always be part of our pitches to clients, as it is so very important to the entire design we plan for the web. They say that the content that comes to fill the web design, or that it is meant to drive is the king. If that is true, then the host that will be responsible for the site being available and interacted with, is the kingdom. And you have to look after your kingdom. Without it, your king and their castle (the design itself) have no place to set up. You want people to have access to your content, so choose your host wisely.
4 – We Devalue Our Own Field
Recently we read an interesting piece that discussed how certain titans of the web design blogosphere have their ad space working against the field perception that the online masses are left with. Devaluing the very field they are attempting to prop up. This is problem, and one that we cannot expect to get better, if we do not address it. Admitting we have the problem is the first step. And if we want to improve the public’s perception of the field, then we need to take every step we can to keep from doing it harm.
5 – Trends are Not Our Friends
Yes, we are all guided and moved by the trends that sweep through the field in waves, but this can have a negative impact. While web design trends can be a chance for innovation, and they do yield some innovative techniques and solutions from time to time, they also do just as much to stifle innovation. As we said before, many clients do not want to take risks, but it seems many in the field don’t either. We allow these trends to become standard practice and we replicate them with our own flair. All instead of trying something new and approaching the solution in a different, more original way.
6 – Flash Isn’t Going Anywhere…Get Used to It
Even Microsoft is begrudgingly accepting this fact as they have had to reverse their decision to release Windows 8 without Flash support. Believing like so many in the community that HTML5 would be the final nail in the coffin for the platform. But that’s not the case. Flash isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, so we might as well get used to this fact in the industry. It is still very useful in many applications, and HTML5 isn’t fully fleshed out and developed enough to erase all need for Flash.
7 – Forget the ‘Mobile Web’
Smashing recently took on the subject of the field embracing a device-agnostic approach to communicating with users and effectively abandon this idea of a ‘mobile internet’. We need to focus on consistent communication, and be sure that our design looks the same no matter what device the user is coming to it on. It’s all about the fundamentals and not about the responsive nature of your design.
8 – User Concerns Matter More Than Yours
It is not always easy to dismiss design concerns that we have in favor of following up on the concerns of the user, but it is something we need to get better at. Because in the end, the users matter most. Sounds basic, but it is not always treated as such. That much is evident from a quick run through the web. How the users are interacting, or more importantly wanting to interact, with the design determines where it ends up. Or rather, it should.
9 – Contracts Are Not Always a Guarantee
One thing that many freelance web designers end up learning the hard way is that contracts are not guarantees of, well…anything. Even with a contract in place that specifies how many revisions a client will get, there will be those that require more, and aren’t willing to pay any extra. Even with the contract signed, that does not mean the client will actually pay everything they are supposed to, or that the project will be completed. Without the financial means and time to legally pursue the term violations of a contract in court, contracts are largely symbolic.
10 – Community Doesn’t Mean the Same to Everyone
The web design industry has a large, very active online community (as you would expect of a field like this one), and by and large, that community thrives through the shared collective knowledge and expertise that so many are willing to be a part of. It is very much an entity that could be viewed as the heart of the field. But it doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone playing there.
Some see it as a responsibility to nurture this community and enrich it. To strengthen it. Though others view it more opportunistically and just seek to make a profit off it, without giving anything back in return. It’s a sad, selfish truth. But it’s a truth that we must accept.
Now It’s Your Turn
Now that we have shared our two cents and put what we feel are some hard truths out there to be discussed, it is your turn. Discuss them. Share your thoughts on them. Disagree, and tell us why! Agree with us and expand on why! Whichever side you come down on, let’s get this ball rolling in the comment section below.
FrontPage Image provided by Shutterstock
FrontPage Image: Web design concept in word tag cloud on black background via Shutterstock