May 6, 2010

396 words 2 mins read

I feel bad for full time web designers

This might sound like a really odd statement, but I really do feel bad for web designers. I don’t mean the people who pop out “designs” using Dreamweaver or ::gasp:: Frontpage. I mean the people who make their livelihood by designing websites, most of the time from scratch. Why do I feel bad for them? Because like a lot of tech jobs, normal people have no idea what they are doing and have zero appreciation for the amount of work that goes into making a site. I think website designers might actually get less recognition than your standard IT gremlin. Why does this come up? Well two things recently brought it to mind.

First off, I was helping my uncle with some website problems he was having. Specifically, a website he was using looked different for him than for other people. I was trying to explain to him (and some other company) how some browsers worked differently. The idea that the exact same web page could look different for multiple people was mind blowing for them. Then trying to explain HTML, standards, CSS, and its ilk… forget it.

Second off, I was amusing myself and making my “personal” site (read: my resume) HTML 4.01 Transitional compliant. Why? Mainly because I could, but it still isn’t easy. Hell, the site has always worked in Firefox & IE, but was “broken horribly” if you asked the W3C Validator. I’ve done this sort of compliance work before with my companies’ websites. Updating those so that every page was compliant was… a feat. None of the websites were terribly complicated so cross-browser work wasn’t a “big deal”, even still, you have to check. When I was big into my web design work for the company, I had 11 different browsers installed.

When most people go to a website, they just expect it to work. They don’t appreciate the amount of work it requires just to make sure it looks “Good” in a specific browser or even version, because they don’t know any better. The easiest example of this is probably Internet Explorer 6 versus well… most anything else (especially later versions of the same browser). Sure, they expect their computer and internet to “just work” also, but at least when something goes awry with those, they have someone to yell at/someone to save their bacon, clearly not so with websites.