Coming full circle

Posted on Posted in Industry comment, Our Services, Website design, Websites

When you’ve been in the design business as long as we have, you see a few trends along the way …

Around the turn of the millennium, websites as we know them today were new and exciting but clunky – restricted to 256 colours and basic HTML and more or less the domain of the teccy coder types. Since then the web industry has mushroomed. All kinds of programming protocols and languages, such as php, javascript, html5, css, java, asp, and CC+ came into use to present something not just visual, but functional and (at a stretch, and after some time) attractive to the eye. But with that booming cloud there also came not just browser compatibility issues but a crisis within the design industry …

A race began to start delivering website design as part of the design agency portfolio, resulting often in great looking sites with limited function, slow loading times and constant browser and scripting bugs. In the other corner, developer companies also told their clients they could ‘design sites’ and they would produce pages that were fast but bloody awful. Meanwhile Mr and Mrs Client were scratching their heads at the word “design” – did that mean structural, functional or visual? Even the professionals couldn’t agree. The confusion was bad for the design industry but much worse for the clients, who could not differentiate between the people and companies required for the job. Smart companies bought in the expertise they lacked. Those who didn’t, or who failed to communicate this, crashed and burned in their inflexibility. 

So where are we now? Well, ironically, one glance at the job section of the guardian will give you some clues. Whilst we haven’t quite come full circle in terms of incomplete services, there is now a solid recognition of the multiple skillets required to produce an effective website – one that looks inviting, grabs attention, functions smoothly and complements the brand. Job adverts extol the distinct virtues of UID/UX designers, web coders and marketers in their own right, bringing back an air of respectability to a profession that – for a time, was lost at sea. And those agencies, like us, who never lost sight of how important it is to serve the client well, will appreciate that at last the client is embracing the importance of different roles, and the quality they deliver. 

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