My Pet Peeves with Bad Web-Designers

When coming up with new blog topics there are a few ways I think of ideas. Sometimes educating, thinking of things that my clients or other web designers may want to know, or educating people on something I wish they knew that would make my life easier, or also sharing some things that drive me CRAZY that I wish people would not do – this is one of those types of posts. I wanted to share with you my top 4 things that drive me crazy that other, likely BAD, web designers do.

1. “I designed the website so if you want to keep using it you have to pay me, if you stop paying me you lose the website”.

I have come across this a couple times with clients.  They have a nice website and they come to me to get a re-designed, or similarly designed website and I’m scratching my head as to why they even want a new site.  Upon questioning I learn that they’re paying a ridiculous amount of money monthly to keep their site live.  Their signed an agreement with their original designer that the website is not their own, thus, if they stop paying they lose their site.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves with other designers. I’m sorry, but think of buying a product like a coffee for example, if I went to Starbucks and ordered a coffee, do they charge me a dollar a minute and if I stop paying take my cup away and throw it out?  Sure they wouldn’t get much business or happy customers if they did that!  How is a website any different?  It’s a product that’s been designed for the client, they’ve BOUGHT it, so in my opinion it should be THEIR’S, not held hostage for a monthly ransom!  Rest assured, if you’re a client of ours we would not do this to you!

2. Using a Content Management System, such as WordPress, but not making it easily editable by the client (or other designers for that matter)

One of the selling features I often use for the websites that I design is that you can have it set up so that if you want to do the edits you can and we’ll set it up so any parts of the site you want to be able to edit you can and we’ll show you how to do it.  So designers that make websites using a Content Management system like WordPress and then have a ton of the website area not editable with WordPress drive me crazy. What’s the point of using WordPress if you can’t use WordPress to edit it?? Defeats the purpose if you ask me!  Sure, sometimes it’s easier and better to control not having it accessible by WordPress, but then you’re making it so just the designer can make changes and the end user cannot, not good.

One of the great things with WordPress is that there are tons of Plug-ins, Widgets, etc, that you can take advantage of that play so nicely with WordPress that they’re easy to maintain.  So there’s often little point of putting it outside of the editing capabilities of WordPress.

3. Messy Code

I know every designer hopes that any website they design will always be maintained by them, but that’s definitely not the case. It doesn’t matter how awesome you are, how great your service is, etc, at some point one of your clients will probably go somewhere else. So it would make sense to have your code nice and organized so anyone could pick it up and be able to make adjustments.  As a designer it also makes you look good to your peers.  There have been far too many times in my design career where I’ve agreed to maintain, add on to, etc, someone else’s design, template, etc, only to find out that their code was disastrous. I look at the code and think, “Even if I wrote that myself, how in the world would I remember where to edit things a year later??” Organized code is like an organized office, makes everything easier and efficient.

4. Easy Route vs. Proper Route

Much along the lines of messy code – it may be easy to do something one way, but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean that it will be easy later! It’s like when you finish eating lunch, it’s easier to just put your dirty dishes in the sink instead of washing them or rinsing them and putting them in the dishwasher, but when you get to the pile of dishes at the end of the day you’re kicking yourself for not having dealt with it in the first place. Same should apply to coding/designing websites.

There was one project we did where we were taking an existing template and website from a client and designing a couple additional websites using the same template.  We realized that the old designers had made what looked on the surface like a great site, but once we looked at the code there were MANY things that could have been done WAY better. They had great little boxes on the site for testimonials but they were set up in such a way that only the designer could change the content, no access to it with WordPress. So when our client got new testimonials, maybe ones that were better, they couldn’t take full advantage of them. So when we designed the new site we too the extra hour to figure out how to do it PROPERLY and have it so the testimonials area was editable so they could choose what was shown there.  A whole whopping hour, really not the end of the world!

A website is an investment, yes, but having a great face for your company is crucial. Make sure that if you’re going to get a website designed for you that you check out your web designer. Take a look at the kind of work they’ve done, find out what sort of tools they use, and see if they can make something that works for you.  If they can’t then ask someone else!

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This entry was posted by Anna Kouwenberg on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 7:00 am and is filed under Web Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.