… The Devil Made Me Do It!

Today I issued the SMM April Newsletter. It isn’t what I intended to write about. It’s been a stimulating month with many intriguing ideas floating about. However the idea I had during the early part of the month was bumped by two events that occurred within 24 hours. After that I just had to switch to another idea.

The SMM Newsletters push out many ideas on how to make more selling-effective websites. As I am in contact with potential clients, I find many value what they find in the newsletters. Yet one of these had a new website developed very recently and there it is in FRAMES. How could they? Well they put their faith in their website designer.

Within 24 hours of that, I was working with an internal web designer from one of my clients. I had already set out the ground rules for the website development including no frames. Given a technical problem, the designer suggested that perhaps frames would provide the easiest solution. He knew I would be opposed, but gave as justification that one of the largest website design companies locally seemed to work mostly in frames.

This coincidence triggered another thought when I noticed it is almost 40 years since Ralph Nader wrote his critical book on the automobile industry and the hazardous vehicles they were producing. I could see parallels between attractive automobiles and attractive websites. I could also see a divide between website owners and website designers. The owners are often old enough to remember Ralph Nader and what he tried to do. The much younger designers may only see Ralph Nader as another presidential hopeful in the USA. So with a little tongue in cheek, I’ve issued the latest Newsletter, “Is Your Website ‘Unsafe At Any Speed’ “.

One thought on “… The Devil Made Me Do It!”

  1. The newsletter titled “Unsafe at Any Speed” made me to a lot of thinking about what is wrong with the web publishing industry.

    Like you, I scour various sources for information and best practices all with the goal of improving the quality and professionalism of our work. I am often dismayed at what passes as “professional” work. I know that they are plenty of good developers out there who do try to give quality.

    But how do you sell “Quality”? How can you educate and inform a client about quality when they are so many persuasive salesmen who have no clue what they are delivering?

    I have lost potential clients and angered fellow designers, programmers, coders just by trying to strive for a product with integrity.

    It’s sometimes hard to be tactful when a client wants you to design a site for his laptop resolution and insist that you ignore other users. How do you deal with clients who want to see the pretty images even before you have the basic structure? How do you explain that Flash may not be the best way to go on a site? Clients want to see the dancing baloney; they don’t care about the preparation work that can take up to 80% of the time whilst building a proper site.

    There are standards that are set in place, yet most builders ignore then out of ignorance or the attitude that it looks good in IE. The fact that a web browser is very good at rendering poor HTML is not a reason for sloppy programming. I have had to argue that HTML should be properly coded to reduce download time, make maintenance easier and more accessible.

    Often designers are put into the position at a company where they often become the “web expert”. They are too many differences between print and web design and I have rarely seen a designer that is good at both. They do exist, and are a pleasure to work with; they help speed up production time and reduce overall cost.

    The hidden defects that you have pointed out are very true, but how to you explain that to a CEO as well as your professional colleagues?

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