Sunday, December 11, 2011

jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none?

I'm back on my hobby-horse again - you know ... the one about techies developing websites. This is a website I came across as a link at the bottom of another website [if you own a website you NEVER have a 'designed by' link on your site]. Here's the navigation bar from the designer's site:
Yep - these folk are experts at all of these things. It is my experience that few - and I mean very, very, very few - can do all of these things. Of course, it might be a biggish company employing staff with this range of skills - but the content of their site suggests otherwise. In other words, the same people who handle the hard- and software issues also design websites. Which means they might be able to produce a website technically - but can they produce a website that can meet the online objectives of that organization? And do they even ask what the objectives are? And do they have the marketing skills and/or qualifications to help the org realise those objectives? In my experience, the answer is no. And so their customers get ineffectual websites - oh, they might look nice, but do they do the job they are there for? [and if you think I am the only one who feels this way, take a look at the quote from James Dyson in my review of the Stranger's Long Neck

I have removed anything that might identify the company concerned - but this is the page you get when you click on the 'web design' link.  
Notice how it makes no mention of marketing, communications or content - but instead concentrates on ASP, HTML, VB, database [there should be a hyphen in here as it is a compound adjective] driven sales, Flash animation and dynamic sites. I don't know what some of those are - so will your average business person?   And do they need to? These are technical aspects of a website that might [a big might, regular readers will know my opposition to Flash] help it meet the needs of its visitors, but the business person doesn't need to know about the behind-the-scenes IT aspects of the site.  Ho hum - it is developers like these that keep me in consultancy work.

Footnote - I cover this same issue all over the place, but the latest is on websites made easy.

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