Rant for Web Designers

Designer Respect - For the Love of Pixels - Webcopyplus Writer

With close to 80% of North Americans using the Internet and online retail sales in the US slated to hit $370 billion by 2017, it’s mind numbing that business owners continue to discount the value web designers can deliver to their bottom lines.

Since the launch of our content writing company in 2006, our copywriters have repeatedly witnessed major disconnects between what business owners are willing to invest in website services and their expectations. Most decision makers insist they want high-end websites, but they bulk at allocating adequate funds to the projects.

The disparity seems to arise from not understanding the web design and development process, as well as a general lack of respect for the web design profession.

You’re a Commodity


We were recently hired by a small Canadian business to write website content to improve SEO and conversions, and suggested the client update and enhance the site to maximize the optimized content’s impact. After much resistance, the client agreed to invest up to $5,000 for a redesign. After getting a couple of quotes from reputable designers, the client located “a friend of a friend” who was willing to do the redesign for around $1,200.

To no surprise, the $1,200 redesign fell far short of the client’s expectations. In response, he sent the designer a link to a $30,000 competitor’s website with the comment: “This is what I want. We need to WOW people!” One can liken it to walking into an auto dealership, waving $1,200 in the air and pointing to a loaded 2013 model, announcing: “That $30,000 car — that’s the one I want!” It just doesn’t add up.

Outcome: The website is continuing to undergo revisions with no improvements in sight.

Lesson: If you want professional results, pay a professional to do it right.

I Know Better Than You

Web design competition - For the Love of Pixels - Webcopyplus copywriter 2

If you hire a plumber or electrician, it would be absurd to hover around telling him how to do his job. Yet, it’s something web designers face often.

A design partner once shared a horror story about a client who actually pulled up a chair and insisted on providing step-by-step directions on how to design his website.

Outcome: The designer eventually switched to a ‘give them whatever they want’ mode to complete the project and eliminate the client ASAP.

Lesson: Take the time to select the right web designer, and let him or her do the job.

A Web Designer Can Be a Businesses’ Best Friend

As noted in this Smashing Magazine article, professional web designers don’t just pick colours and move pretty images around. They solve problems and create online experiences through the thoughtful, deliberate application of design. They also take into consideration how a website will look and be used.

These are just a few of the elements a web designer works on:

  • Planning: Requirements analysis, sitemap, servers, folder structures, software.
  • Design: Wireframes, mockups, reviews, coding.
  • Development: Framework, code templates, special features, content population, functionality tests.
  • Launch: Live server transfer, final diagnostics, cross-browser checks.
  • Maintenance: Performance analysis and reviews, software and security updates.

It’s not 1996 anymore — web design has been around long enough to be accepted as a profession. Fortunately, there are organizations like the GDC devoted to a codified set of uncompromising standards, which helps designers attain certification, professional recognition and status.

Considering how imperative websites are in today’s business landscape, investing in a skilled web designer could be the best marketing investment a business owner will ever make.


3 responses to “Rant for Web Designers”

  1. Grant says:

    Business owners think templates make free websites. It still takes time and knowledge to make them functional, not to mention customization is often required.

  2. K Wills says:

    I read this post with interest as I can totally relate. When I started my business a few years ago, I got four quotes and just went for the cheapest. It was about $800 and I got nothing for it. In the end I just tagged the cost onto the $2,300 quote I eventually went with to get the work completed. So in the end I spent $3,100 and wasted 5 months (of frustration). Lesson learned! I got what I paid for.

  3. Renee Mak says:

    This goes for any visual designer, not just web designers. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had bosses/clients hover behind me and literally tell me what to do whether it’s editorial design, package design, branding, etc.

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