Can be your Web Developer a Cowboy?

How do you feel about your web developer?

Over the last few years we have quietly, but at every opportunity, been asking this question to business owners, marketing directors and executives responsible for their company website whether for commissioning, developing or sustaining their online presence. We furthermore asked if they were happy with the web site that the developer had provided, or even if they thought it was bringing tangible benefit to their business. The responses were sharply divided. It seems that the businesses’ experience of Web developers is like Marmite: you either love them or even hate them.

Shockingly, over 80% of respondents reported a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ experience of dealing with a website developer or designer. Several made comments that were very uncomplimentary toward their web developers. Some stated that they felt they had been, “Taken for a ride, ” by those who had either baffled them with technology and jargon, or had – deliberately or otherwise – raised their particular expectations beyond what was feasible using the investment they were making. One acquired invested tens of thousands with a web development company to build an online presence for their company and now has a website that not just makes no contribution to any business objective, neither has it produced just one enquiry. The overall impression that we gained from our research to date and a phrase used by more than one unhappy respondent was that web developers are: “A load associated with cowboys. ”

These poor experiences have a knock-on effect, not just in case you have been unhappy with their outcomes but for the web development and internet marketing industries as a whole. It results in an increased conviction that all web developers were likely to be the same, and that there was no-one out there who also could be trusted. In addition , the tendency to invest any further resources and funds on online promotion of their company was greatly reduced. “We’ve done might it didn’t work, ” was a common response.

What do the web programmers have to say?

To balance the picture we also surveyed web developers and web design companies to see if we could identify what had created this tale of woe from companies.

Many were unaware of the situation plus some were quite frank in their derision of business owners. Common responses incorporated

“They don’t know what they are doing, inch
“We’re not telepathic you know! inch
“They don’t understand what is involved. inch
“We never get the right information. ”
“They keep changing their minds, often before the previous changes are completed. ”
Each side seemed to blame the other for what might be interpreted as a straightforward break down in communication.

So why does this particular happen? There are no doubt numerous factors, but focusing on the communication problem, we asked the web developers if they ever asked for, or received, an online design brief from their clients. The majority response was: “Rarely! ” The style briefs received mostly consisted of just one page of vague information that will lacked the detail and specifics required. Although they usually included demands for things that far exceeded this or amount the business owner has been willing to spend and were full of wish lists and ‘good’ concepts that require bespoke development or even new-technology (for the words ‘bespoke’ and ‘new’, read – interchangeably – ‘difficult’ and ‘expensive’)!

So whose job is it?

Isn’t it part of the internet developers’ job to write the brief? Actually, no it isn’t, it is the responsibility of the business owner to communicate their own requirements, their goals, their current situation and future plans. In fact, as more than one developer mentioned, “We’re are not telepathic you know! inch

In addition , the pressure of endeavoring to keep a small web development company running (let alone in profit) in this ever increasingly competitive business means that there is no time or various other resources to be teaching the business proprietor how to write a web design short, even though it would create a better end result for everyone. For the majority of situations, there is often no clear or efficient communication, more a case of wondering questions of the business owner – which they often don’t understand clearly, which is no-ones fault – to get some sort of put together and then on with the job of designing and building the website.

Our experience – Web developer

Our own experience indicates that the majority of web developers really want to do the best job they can for their clients.

They have the skills and information to build websites that could work for their clients’ businesses. They have the equipment plus resources to carry out the work. We furthermore observe however that there are web developers who also mistake the functionality of the software which they use for their own creative abilities. Ultimately over a period of more than a decade we have came across very few who would deliberately, “Take their particular client for a ride, ” as being a businesses have claimed.

Our experience – Businesses

Websites for businesses create a particular quandary for the company owner, manager or similar. There seems to be considered a huge barrier of technology plus jargon to break through to be able to also speak the same language as the web development world. In addition , it is very difficult for anyone without extended experience to produce any kind of value judgement about what is good or bad. Consider a different circumstance: whether you eat in a restaurant usually or not, because you do eat every single day, if you go into a restaurant, you are able to make some kind of judgement as to regardless of whether you had a good experience, whether the food was good, whether the service had been acceptable or excellent. Of course this is subjective to your own preferences plus experiences, but at least you understand such a restaurant is, what it is supposed to do or be for and so on.

In our study we ask a further question associated with businesses: “What is your website to get, why did you get a website? ” Very few offered any kind of clear reaction, the most common being: “Because we required a website, ” or “Because our competitors had one. ” We also hear: “To generate sales/leads/enquiries etc . ” quite often, which is a minimum of focused on business, but is nowhere near specific enough to be known as an objective.

If it is not common intended for businesses to even understand what the website is for, or why they are obtaining one developed, how can it end up being possible for them to make a judgment about what is good or bad, other than it produces no results. Even this particular judgement requires something to gauge the results – or lack thereof – against.

Management by démission

In so many cases the business abdicates responsibility for the website to a web developer in the mistaken belief that ‘they know best’. While the internet developer knows about websites, they are prone to know little or nothing regarding the client’s business and even less in regards to the customers who will use the website. Together with the lack of communication between the web developer and the business owner it is not difficult to see why so many websites are poorly developed, deliver bad user experiences plus ultimately poor or no results for the business.

Is there a solution

The first step to some solution is to address the communication problem. It is clear that there must be effective communication and the first stage of the would normally take the form of a definite and concise website design brief.

The site design brief

The last time we reported on web design briefs there were surveyed 57 web development companies, further surveying has now brought this number to nearly 100. While everyone does it slightly differently, all of them had information requirements in common.

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