Myth: Anyone with a computer can design a website.
Well, anyone with a computer can get a website online. But just having the right tools does not make you an expert–and there’s a lot more to web design than getting some information online.
Hi, this is Steve Johnsen, and today I want to talk about another myth that is very common related to the internet and websites, and that is that anyone with a computer can design a website.
It’s probably true that anyone with a computer now can produce a website. But that is not quite the same as designing a website. And even though anyone with a design program–with the graphic design software–might have the tools to design a website with, it does require some experience to design an effective website.
I would say this: that just having the right tools doesn’t make you an expert. For example, I might have the most sophisticated spreadsheet program in the world, but that doesn’t make me a chief financial officer. The CFO of a corporation needs to have the experience to understand corporate finance, and they need certain training to be able to do a good job of managing the corporation’s money.
In the same way, you can have the right design programs, the software, and the apps. But even though you might be able to turn out a website with it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that website is designed. I happen to have a pipe wrench and a blowtorch, and I can sweat pipe, but you probably wouldn’t want me installing your sink. You want somebody with the right training and the right experience, so you know that that system is going to work right and not leak for you.
To design a website, I need to know more than how to use my graphic design software. I need to understand the business purposes of the website. I need to understand how the graphic design communicates the message that the corporation wants to communicate. I need to understand user interface design. I need to have some technical expertise so the site can get found by search engines. And I really have to be able to put myself in the mindset of the ideal customer and how they’re going to interact with that website, so I can make the site inviting and easy to use.
You know, it’s interesting, they did a survey of people who held the job title of web designer and they asked them, “What was your previous job title before you were a web designer?” The number one previous job title for web designers across the United States was “graphic designer.” That’s not a big surprise; that’s a natural transition. The number two previous job title for web designers was “waiter.” That’s an indication of how easy it is with the right apps, the right computer software, to turn out a website.
You can buy templates and pre-designed websites and fill in the blanks, and you can have a website in ten minutes, as one corporation famously advertises on TV. That’s a great way to get a placeholder up if someone is just starting out in business and they don’t have a lot of marketing budget. But that’s not the same as web design.
Web design is the major reason why people either stay on a website when they visit it, or they leave the website. The user experience design is something that the application, the graphic design tool, cannot turn out. That’s something that requires experience to create. Not only so, but design is the main reason why people trust a brand or trust a company when they’re visiting a website; or, why they would choose not to trust that company or brand.
It’s all in the design, and those are very subtle things that a piece of software cannot do for you.