You know, sometimes there are times things need to be validated by members of the industry and this is one statement that I need to validate. Being the President, Founder and Lead Designer for a successful Multimedia company I have to get a few things off my chest.
“Web designers” are everywhere, anyone with a copy of front page and the internet are calling them selves web designers, seeking out clients to make a living from selling their services. Everyday while surfing the web I come across FrontPage built sites with stick on animated gifs and bloated Microsoft html code. There was obviously no thought to the end user or design principle while these sites where in development. Open new word document >slap in some stolen gifs from the web > save as html and WHAMMO you are a web designer. NO YOU ARE NOT.
Too many times I meet with a prospective client and they show me a horrible site that they paid obscene amounts of money for and I mean obscene, some of these sites are 3 times what my company charges and they look like they were done by a no talent hack in the basement of grandma’s house. Seriously how do you sleep at night ripping people off like that. My rates are not cheap but my portfolio is large and I have a steady flow of referral business coming in. I even have repeat customers that have multiple sites. No wonder there are so many clients that I meet that get visibly sullen when I show them my company portfolio and quote them on a new site. How can I blame them? They paid more than double what I am quoting for the mess they have now. Many of these poor people convince themselves that they have a great site because their “Web Guy” told them that it was a great site and they got a good deal on it.
I spent years in school and training in art to do what I do. My credentials include a Multimedia Diploma with Honors, Certificate of Business Admin. Marketing and Sales Major, Sales management experience, 15 years of art training and practice. During my training I spent time learning about Humane Interface design, optimization, scalability, graphic design, color palettes and more. These are some of the many tools that a true web designer has in his or her arsenal. I am a registered Adobe client using the latest in graphic design software, my companies programming principles are strict and clean and we write our own code. (Some times we write out code in notepad just to make sure we don’t get reliant on WYSIWYG editing.) We know where the code editor is in Dreamweaver and understand the differences between different versions of IE, Firefox, Opera. We understand color wheels, beta testing, bandwidth, image optimization. This list could go on forever I think you get the point.
I am going to explain what a true web designer/developer does when dealing with a new client. Before I start on any project for a client I have a FREE (YES I said FREE) consultation meeting with the prospect. Instead of spitting out some arbitrary number to them and telling them what their site will do. I have a full interview with the client and educate them to the benefits of a website. Take the time to introduce them to new technologies available for websites such as blogs, news, CMS, flash etc. After this meeting which usually take 1hr or more, I thank the client for their time and let them know I will work out a quote for them and email it later that day. If the client insists that I ballpark a quote. I will ask a few more questions and ballpark a range based on other sites that I have developed that are similar. Once the quote is approved I layout a project guideline for the client with milestones and payment schedules at each milestone reached. This helps keep things scheduled and gives the client piece of mind throughout the process.
To those guilty parties out there, you should be ashamed of yourselves. You are preying on people that want to grow their business or are just starting out. All you are accomplishing is helping these poor clients fail. Before you start demanding exorbitant amounts of money for your services try going to school and taking a few art classes, at least now you will do your clients and your reputation justice. To anyone that is out there looking for web sites PLEASE do some research and make sure that your choice in designer is based off their experience and previous work. If they have no work to show you then you are well within your right to ask for a mock-up before signing on to have them launch your web site project.
Us multimedia people are not all rip off artists and if you find the right one for your business you could be developing a long standing relationship for the better of both parties involved. As mentioned earlier I have many repeat clients and referrals making it unnecessary to advertise. No newspaper ads, no billboards, no mass emailing. My advertising consists of a small link on clients sites that allow it, linking to my main company site. My phone rings from new clients and 9 out of 10 times it is because they got my info from someone who I did work for.
My company site is located at www.mk2solutions.com if you click clients there are links to work that I have done. For other samples you can always contact me through the contact form as I have lots of sample layouts etc that are archived. As busy as we are I am always open to meeting a new prospective client to discuss their project. Worst case I will put a team together to develop it while I oversee each phase to insure the level of quality is at a level that I accept.