At the moment if you are computer savvy you can market yourself as a website designer and I am sure you can probably create some sort of website. However there is a certain standard that clients are looking for and so professionals are well sought after since the website carries the image of the business and is the face used to attract new business online. So how do you know that you are getting a good deal?
When you search for a website design agency you are overwhelmed with results that I don’t blame you, if you don’t know what to choose. Currently the best way for existing web design agencies to differentiate themselves is through feedback, reputation and existing work within their portfolio. Here a potential client can scout for the talent and see if the agency can meet his needs.
Okay that sounds great but what if you are a new web design agency? How do you make yourself known if you don’t have a portfolio or any feedback yet? Well this is going to be tricky and like with anything else, you have to start at the bottom. One thing that can set a great example is if your own website, this will be a live example of your work; that along with a competitive prices to attract clients looking for an affordable web design deal you may get a big break and start your portfolio.
In the US they are trying to combat cowboy web designers, to encourage internet innovation by making certification for web designers a law by 2015. This means that you can only get accreditation if you know what you are doing. This would do wonders for consumer confidence and will certainly set a new benchmark for high quality web design this will allow the US to lead in internet innovation and design.
One thing I am sure you will agree on is that website design is a different trade to art, even though they intertwine with each other; the skill of maximising UX (user experience), optimising SEO and giving the right first impression takes a different approach to what they teach you in art and design school. However, this is not to say that the artsy-type will struggle here, quite the opposite, the power of an inspiring image and the ease of sharing such media is one of the most powerful ad campaigns out there.
So what does this mean for the UK? Well my personal opinion is that we should definitely take a leaf out of their book as this is certainly a worthwhile pursuit. We’ve seen it all before in other trades such as builders and financial advisors. I think it is time that website design follows this path where skilled website designers can proudly brand their name accompanied by some mark of quality and standard that will only inspire consumer confidence.
Okay so let’s weigh up the advantages and disadvantages:
- Enforcing everyone to complete a certified course in a recognised institution and having a submitted portfolio reviewed by a committee will ensure that customers are buying into high quality – allows good web designers to charge more.
- Creating new forms of apprenticeships which can lead to new jobs
- If you have studied website design and you are good, you can get certified, it puts you in a higher earning potential straight from the start. (meetings might have a lot more teenagers present)
- ‘Cowboy designers’ will decrease more business up for grabs.
- Experts have said that about “90% of designers are not as professional as others” – so certification wouldn’t make much of a difference to the 10%, they just charge more.
- Shutting out rookie designers providing cheap designs may hurt new businesses with low capitals trying to make their way into the business sector.
- If you are good and you have the reputation and portfolio, certification should make much of a difference as you have paid your dues.
So where do we stand? It is hard to say as certification is only coming into effect in 2015 in the US which means that a lot can happen in that time. Designers might end up increasing their game ready for 2015 to ensure that they do get certification and not be left behind but it is hard to say what the resulting effects would be as it is so far away. However I would certainly see this as a step forward for innovation and progress.