Web Design – Who To Hire?

We can’t answer this question specifically, sorry. We’d be happy to talk with you about why the answer should be Identity Developments, but for now, we’re really talking about the broader question. If you’ve taken a look at the “Web Design… What Is It?” question, then you’ll have a better understanding of the answer to this question.

Don’t Hire a Graphic Designer

Just to shake things up though, we’ll start off with a bold statement. No, we aren’t attacking graphic designers or trying to start a fight. We do want to make a bold statement that may stop you in your tracks to make sure you really understand what is involved in web design. Web design and print design, while having some things in common, are completely different worlds involving very different skills, education, and knowledge.

What we are really saying is that you should hire a web designer. They may also be a graphic designer, that’s fine, as long as they are web designer. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t have your auto mechanic do your taxes… unless by chance, your mechanic was also a trained accountant. Unfortunately, because the word designer is in both titles and the web has a very graphical, visual feel to it, the distinction between a web designer and a graphic designer is not as clear as our auto mechanic and accountant comparison.

Sometimes the biggest risk for this is within companies that have internal graphic design staff. If you don’t fully understand how different the two can be, it makes a lot of sense to turn to your own design staff for your website design needs. Just like before, if they are not web designers also, you may be unfairly asking them to deliver in an area that is really outside their expertise. To make matters worse, some of the design software makers tried to answer this call by building in tools to help them produce web pages. Keep in mind, there are many ways to make a web page. Some are not appropriate at all, but you can still do it. In this case, graphic designers can create a visual layout, essentially a big image, just like they would for a print project. Their design tools allow them to slice up the image into several smaller images and drop them into a web table. However, amongst many issues, these types of web pages are very slow to load and cannot be read by search engines or those with disabilities, which probably runs counter to why you were developing a website to begin with.

Don’t Hire Your Nephew

Again, unless your nephew is a web designer. This really includes more than just your nephew. One of the great things about the web is that anyone can create a website. Buy some software, read a book or two, and you too can be creating web pages in no time. The simplicity can also be a little dangerous. Many of the same skills used to build a birdhouse are the same used to build a house, but most of us wouldn’t run out and try to build a house just because we successfully built a birdhouse. Same thing with web design. We encourage you to learn about building web pages and hope that you’ll give it a try, perhaps making a hobby site or maybe a website to share with your family. We don’t necessarily encourage you to do that for your business or your organization.

Hire a Web Designer

Simply put, developing your website requires a lot of very specialized knowledge. There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes with a website and in developing a website that most people have no idea about. And that’s fine. Other than helping to educate you about why something can’t be done and why some things aren’t as simple as they seem, most web designers are more than happy to spare you some of the frustrating details.

Are You a Graphic Designer?

Maybe you are a graphic designer yourself. Perhaps you had a web project dropped on your desk and are trying to figure out how to explain the differences. We’d be happy to give you a hand. Or perhaps you are an independent graphic designer and are trying to meet your clients’ needs. You don’t want to turn them away, but you also want to make sure that their needs are taken care of properly. It’s a tough spot to be in. So let’s sit down and talk about how we can partner to give your clients the best of both worlds. We’ll work with you to address the web aspects of the project, incorporating your graphics. Your clients get the look they want with your graphics that tie into all of their print media, with a much better web presence.

Web Design – What Is It?

Web design is often the project catchall starting point whether you have a website already or are looking to have your first site developed. But you may not even really be sure exactly what web design is. Web design is the process of creating a website using various web technologies such as HTML, XHTML, CSS, server-side languages, javascript, Flash, etc. At this point, the differences between any of these are not all that important. Just understand that these are the underlying technologies, along with web graphics, used to create the individual web pages and the various functionalities of those pages. But web design encompasses much more than just designing web pages.

Web Design Starts With A Plan

Do not start with a layout or a design. Because it is so visual, it is very easy to jump in with some idea on how you want your website to look. A good web design company will help you to determine the goals and purposes of your website first. Otherwise, you may end up getting a website that looks the way you want it to, but doesn’t do what you need it to do.

Your Website Is More Than Visual

Websites are more than the sum of its parts. What you see when you look at a website is often very different than what goes into creating what you see. It is very important to understand that, while visual and perhaps very similar, a web page is entirely different than a printed page; even when looking at an identical reproduction of a printed page, they are two different things.

As design goes, web design involves more “coding” than what you might consider “artistic design”. We encourage you to look at the source code for a web page to get a better understanding of what’s behind what you see. For example, view the source of this web page (you can often right-click your mouse and select “view source” on any web page). Scroll through the page and you may pick out enough of the text to see that it matches. You don’t need to understand all the cryptic XHTML code, that’s what your web designer is for. Just understand that the underlying structure is very different than a print document, so asking to move something over, up, down, or making it wider or narrower, is very different than what you might do for a document, brochure, or flyer that you are creating.

Website = Building

Think of a website as a building. Imagine you were building a new store, office, or even a home. Building a website is very similar. You determine where you want it to be, in this case, your domain name. You determine why you want it or what you want it to do. You calculate your budget to determine what you can afford. You work with your architect to create a design that both visually and functionally, meets your needs. Working with your web developer, based on the goals of your project, you then determine how to allot your budget to best serve and achieve your goals… maybe you put more money towards flooring, and less on paint, save the 3-season porch for a future addition, but add another room. And then construction begins. It is very important though to work openly with your design team so they understand your goals, your plans for today and in the future, what is most important to you, and the budget for your web project.

Web Presence

Web design is only one aspect of your web presence. Web hosting, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), web marketing, and domain name management are other important areas that combine with the design of your website to create your unique web presence.