Bring out the mini violins and paper towels for this one…:)
I often wonder why in the web design profession it feels like I never get the sort of appreciation for all the extremely skilled and hard work I put into web design projects as I maybe deserve.
Clients are happy, clients stay with me, I make all my clients cash (positive ROI), produce high quality work and don’t over charge but I sometimes feel like I am not valued that much.
I say this as you know it’s nice to get some positive feedback (ok a bit of praise) about your work (which I do, but not all that much).
So why are people seemingly more inclined to heap deserved gushing praise on their hairdresser, painter, plumber or chef than a web designer who works 40 + hours on a job and is often paid as much as a hairdresser and will bring you more business and make your online presence look fantastic (if they are any good!)
Answer: (my theory..:)
Clients do not really know what we do and therefore have no reference point to know if they have been ripped off or given a great service.
I think like mechanics, lawyers and other consultants there is an element of the unknown and mistrust sets in, plus no one wants to praise a potential con artist mentality, especially as an ongoing relationship can leave you looking like a soft touch so I sense a barrier is put up as defence.
Less is safer.
Anatomy of great web design
So I am going to dissect what I do on a typical web design project to give those uninitiated a few facts about the process and hard work, skills and experienced knowledge that makes my projects go smoothly and where I help you stay sane, now putting a value on that usually only comes through experience.
So let us see what methods I use and avenues I go down to ensure your projects works and the rough time it takes to deliver this:
Scoping period – quote stage
Usually I communicate by email, Skype and phone once a lead comes in and we discuss the basic requirements and get deeper into the nitty-gritty soon after so I can properly quote unless it falls into one of my package offerings which many do roughly speaking.
We are working out at this stage how many pages, what design will be needed, specific requirements, and a general idea of what you require so I can quote fully.
Skills needed: communication, empathy, creativity, knowledge of options.
Time: 2-5+ hours
Scoping period – working
At this stage we will have agreed a price and started a contractual relationship and I will need to start working on the website in various ways.
Perhaps you already have designs, cool, I will help work out how we can make these a reality or we can start a basic mock-up or if I feel I can nail your requirements by starting a live mock-up I can go that route too.
Whatever way we start the design process it will be armed with knowledge about your font requirements, colour schemes, and any other aesthetic or brand requirements.
Skills needed: communication, creativity.
Time: 5-10+ hours
Production stage – design + functionality
At this stage I will be getting the site to look close to what you are needing on a test site that I usually allow you to see at various stages, otherwise it is behind a coming soon page on one of many options for testing a live site.
I will be looking at plugin/extension integrations (cool functionality) and testing that these do not break the site and also that what you need in terms of functionality is delivered at the best price or totally free, such is my deep knowledge of options for WordPress and Magento that I will save you lots of time, get you a great choice of plugins (that are often free) and integrate these into the website so it is working as expected and desired.
Skills needed: plugin/extension knowledge, technical ability, understanding client requirements.
Time: 6-10+ hours
Production stage – testing, snagging + sign off
At this stage we will look to iron out issues that may pop up; layout, broken mobile experiences etc etc.
This period can be short or long depending on various factors and is the final stage prior to the contract being signed off and our relationship on the web design project ending and you becoming managed client on hosting and support.
Skills needed: ability to problem solve, technical ability, understanding client requirements.
Time: 6-10+ hours
All in all a web design project takes me many hours, from around 30-45 hours generally, but what you need to know is I actually work quick.
My ability to know what you need, how to implement it, what to do when things go wrong, saves me time, you time and delivers excellent results, and it’s all pretty seamless.
This is unlike getting your haircut, house decorating, plumbing where you can see (usually) what is being done and the skills required to deliver the results.
And of course you know a bad haircut straight away, what you might not see so easily is the deep quality that underpins my work and the work of others, this can become apparent with poor search results, bad coding or plugin choice for site speed, the added values that I offer go on and on.
If I was to explain what I do at all stages and why, rather than just get on and do what is required (maybe I should I know) but I feel this would take up too much of my time and it becomes a lesson in digital marketing and web design, and maybe overkill for many, plus time is money, so I find a balance is required, and a need to know basis in some areas.
I am afraid most people just don’t see the deep skills that go into the delivery of my web design projects and yes sometimes I feel like I am a little under appreciated as a result, but such is life and I see why this may happen!
Knowledge is power! (sort of)