Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Web design sucks.

Maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe it's just that I've been doing this for too long, but I'm getting really, really sick and tired of building websites with no imaginative content. Seriously. The same old lame brochureware stuff with few graphics, just a bunch of text in a semi-modern color palette, is just painful. Today I spent all day building a site for a project that's nice and functional and all, but aside from having some halfway decent texture it's just boring. Here's hoping these last couple of sites are the last ones I have to build before moving on to something more interesting, like more films or games or mobisodes or books or, well, anything.


Although I understand that this post about web design is somewhat old, I would still encourage myself to divulge my own experiences with this exact same thing in hopes that the knowledge and information I pass on may prevent the same experiences for someone in their future as a web designer.

First and foremost, let me state how awful the world of web design can be. Granted, like everything, there can be times where moments in this field can be great, but most frequently it is the opposite. Having had my shot with many agencies around Indiana, I have found that much of the success and glamour of designing these things is very much dependant on the foundation of the company with which you are designing for. If you have a new or un-professional agency which you hope to contract your abilites to, you'll undoubtedly end up gaining angst in the entire process simply because there will not be enough funds from the agency at hand to support a web developer. If there is, then the ideologies or else "strategies" thereof will be so strict that conformance to such a business will likely result in a negative experience ten-fold. You'll have to do what they want regardless of your personal oppinion, and when they realize that you're horrible piece of work that they demanded out of you will not organize something like paragraph padding correctly in Internet Explorer, they'll end up firing you simply out of misunderstanding.

This is the case to my endevours. I am an intern with a 4-year university, and things should be professional, but are entirely not so. As an intern who spends most of his time trying to convey importance of web standards, I feel that the anxiety of burn-out quickly welling up inside because I never get anything finished. I have lost count of the amount of times I have tried to explain the importance by setting margins and padding to "0" for the body element, and why certain things like Alpha Transparency fails to work correctly in Internet Explorer '6' and latter... It is these things which sour the taste of beautiful markup when you come into the office and realize that it's going to be another day to conveying ideas which everyone above you disregards on purpose as they simply neglect to take the time to understand them.

In conclusion, stay away from this business for commercial or "friend & family" gain. The Dot-Com bubble never busted, it's just that the people who make the decisions within the businesses that make money never take the time to be patient and concerned with this wonderful technology due to their professional predisposition as a commercial or "gaining" institution of sorts. They demand things which take longer to fulfill, and when they realize that you as a developer cannot produce, you receive the cold-shoulder by all who feel you were slacking off as an employee.

ONLY DEVELOP FOR YOURSELF. And NEVER, and I mean NEVER develop for 501(c)(3) agencies and the like. They're disrespectful, uncaring, and very VERY shady. Learn the skills to do whatever it is you feel you would like to do (build CMS's, forums, whatever), and take those skills and remember them. Go get a job in some other field of work, then gradually build for your own devices.

You'll never regret it.

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