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Recruiting Web Designers
Impossible dream?
knighty




msg:3023997
 11:32 am on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)


I'm based in the UK and looking to increase my team of desingers and developers. I am having an absolute nightmare trying to find decent web designers.

I just want someone with good visual design skills that uses CSS for layout. Thats it! I have been advertising on monster, totaljobs, using agencies etc. I have seen many, many people but have not found anyone that can do what I want.

Is there a massive shortage or something? Am I advertising in the wrong place?

 

Dayo_UK




msg:3024001
 11:37 am on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Where abouts in the UK are you? - I need a job ;)

moltar




msg:3024024
 11:59 am on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think these days designers that know this much are usually happy on their own (freelancing, running own projects). You'd be much better off outsourcing or contracting other developers.

rocknbil




msg:3024777
 7:39 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

knighty, how does your pay scale compare to the current market in your area? It could be what you think is a good pay scale is being perceived as peanuts.

Believe me, the market is glutted with web designers. Most designers I've met or worked with see every job position as a stepping stone. What quality of a stepping stone are you presenting to them?

Another take: you say "decent designers." What standards are you setting to define "decent"? "Good visual skills" is subjective, I have a BFA in Art, have worked in the printing industry for over 10 years from everything to a cameraman to stripper to high end scanner operator, on the web for almost 15 - color is the central core of my career life. I have had some clients who have never done anything creative AT ALL have the audacity to tell me I don't have good color sense. So look at it objectively, are you looking for a designer by the wrong set of standards?

abbeyvet




msg:3024828
 8:19 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you are looking for someone to work in-house it may well be that it's London, specifically, where the shortage is. Or any big city.

To live in most major capital cities you need a hell of a good salary, whereas a decent designer can now easily work from home somewhere cheaper to live and earn probably just as much if not more - cut out commuting time and there are simply more hours in the day.

Have you considered employing someone who works from home?

Edit: Oops! You never said London - how did I read what wasn't there? :~#

mclethe




msg:3026389
 7:47 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I don't know what you are looking for exactly.
But try my planet and have a look at my site. So long.

drakke




msg:3027894
 1:36 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I can sympathize. I have been trying to find someone who can design sites in xHTML+CSS and it is very difficult.

Most people that say they are qualified end up not knowing it very well at all.

The best advice I can give it to try a lot of people and when you find one, keep them!

jay5r




msg:3027923
 2:14 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

design sites in xHTML+CSS

That's sort of a contradiction in terms...

Designers design, they're conceptual and don't deal with the manner of implementation except perhaps to know the general parameters of what can and cannot/should not be done (just like print designers know that certain colors can't be printed).

A coder would take a designer's design and execute it in the manner specified (in this case XHTML and CSS). If you're lucky you'll get a coder who respects the design and isn't sloppy in how the design is executed and can do variations on a theme for new pages.

What you're looking for is a person who's creative and technical. You'll do better if you have a creative person do the creative part and a technical person do the technical part. People who can do both are almost non-existant. I know one who comes close, but he's a designer first and a technician second - I'd never have him worry with XHTML - he really doesn't care about stuff like that and I doubt any really good designer would care. He's motivated when it comes to doing things in Flash because the motion/animation IS the design, but most good designers don't even go that far.

Jack_Hughes




msg:3028102
 7:19 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Designers design, they're conceptual and don't deal with the manner of implementation except perhaps to know the general parameters of what can and cannot/should not be done (just like print designers know that certain colors can't be printed).

Isn't that kinda like having a painter that doesn't touch paint?

surely, html/css are the tools of any web designers work?

vite_rts




msg:3028119
 7:47 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Me thinks JAy has it right,

It would be more like expecting an architect to do the structural engineering computations for a 5 level building,,

Different folks different strokes is the saying,,

Unless off course, there is a CSS optimised verion of frontpage or dreamweaver thats just come on the market,,,

Then again, you would still need to dig intothe underlying code anyway

rocknbil




msg:3028138
 8:25 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Designers design, they're conceptual and don't deal with the manner of implementation except perhaps to know the general parameters of what can and cannot/should not be done.

This is actually one of the biggest problems with web development, one I've encountered far too often.

And when you tell them they can't do THAT, they argue ad nauseum, doubt your advice because they don't really know, and it often ends up at this:

"Hey man I'm a designer. Don't come at me with all this techno stuff and expect me to know your job. If you can't make it work, that's a problem with YOUR incompetence."

I have actually had this statement said to me, when I tried to explain to a designer why his design was bereft with acessibility and implementation problems. I never got to the point of suggesting alternatives. Rather than expand his capabilities which would make him much more valuable to the field, he draws the line at pretty graphics. Often they then go directly to the client and relate how "difficult" the developer is being.

IMO, this is ALSO why the web is still flooded with table layout designs. The designer sells the design the the client, auto-generated from Photoshop or some other program which does so tabled, the check is collected and the project is passed down to the developers. Sorry, we've already paid for it, deal with it, this is what we like, this designer is good and we know it, our money SAYS SO, so figure it out.

I myself am grappling with a maintenance project I hate for this reason. the nature of the design forces it to be in tables, it will not work any other way. The client is immovable in their design decision, there is no way they can be convinced their money was ill-spent, and their concept of "what looks good" is ALL. So whenever any one of you crosses this site, you hate me and think I'm an idiot, but my hand is being forced. :-) (Comments submitted via the contact form prove this to be true. <shrug> )

One of the qualities of a GOOD designer is to know enough of the process by which pages are rendered so that the FORM they design follows the FUNCTION and it is easily managed with minimal spec problems. They will be accepting of changes to the design in the name of accessibility and semantics, in fact a REALLY good designer will have already addressed these in their comps. You need to know HTML, CSS, ACCESSABILITY, AND SEMANTICS to design, and know them well enough to know what problems you are creating. This indeed is more rare than the average "designer," but by the quality of the posts on this board I can tell you they are out there. :-)

jay5r




msg:3028215
 10:26 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

My dad was a structural engineer who was educated WELL before the advent of computers. He used to say he knew how to manage people who used computers, but he didn't know how to use them himself.

Just as a print designer has probably never worked in a printing shop and couldn't run a printing press if their life depended on it, they do understand 4-color printing and the fact that the color gammut when printing is significantly smaller than what they can see on screen and they'll know how to do a color separation before delivering the file to the print shop.

The point is that just because someone can't do everything doesn't mean they can't contribute to the process in a productive manner.

A GOOD web designer may not know how to set up CSS or XHTML, but they'll understand the concept and they'll know what that means in a practical way for their design. I've worked with a few excellent designers and it takes a bit of work to "train" them to think about the limitations and possibilities of the web...

Someone disagreed with me when I said in another thread [webmasterworld.com] that print designers don't make good web designers - it's a whole different mindset. I'm not saying that print designers can't be retrained, but "out of the box" they usually don't "get" web design no matter how many websites they've used. User interfaces are very different than brochures.

Yeah, there are crappy "web designers" out there who will give you an unworkable design, but a GOOD web designer won't do that - they'll give you a workable design (usually in an Illustrator EPS or a PDF) plus cropped images that have been optimized for the web and RGB color values to help you get the colors right. But they won't do the coding themselves (most times). Or if they do, you'll regret it since they won't use things like includes for nav bars and the like.

Many people think web design is simple just because there are some tools that can sorta make it possible to mock up HTML without really understanding what's going on. But there's a big difference between getting it done right with a slick but unobtrusive design and most of the crap that low-end web designers come up with.

agbenny




msg:3028674
 12:39 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why not send the work to India to us? ;-) We write no nonsense HTML code, clean, tableless and CSS based.

jay5r




msg:3028711
 1:27 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why not send the work to India?

For many projects India, Eastern Europe or South America are valid places to get designers. But there are times when the cultural differences in "design sensibilities" lead to results which the "foreign" designer thinks are great, but American and Western European consumers find "not quite right".

Hell, even among the narrow tastes of "modern design" (talking furniture now), the difference between Italian design and French design is significant...

It used to be that there were certain web sites that you would only use a high-end New York or London designer for, but lately there have been people in surprising places that have been doing that level of work.

Bottom line - check the designer's portfolio. If you want your site to look like stuff they've done, then it can be a good match.

Newbie56




msg:3028766
 2:36 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I thought Web Development meant part design skills and part development skills correct? I am studying web development. I've just finished my Comptia I-Net+ studies for certification and now I'm studying Visual Studio using Visual Basic and ASP.net, and I know a little of Flash but plan to know it fully. I believe a really good web developer/designer should have knowledge of the programming/markup languages (html, css, xhtml, etc.) thats behind the scenes as well as a good eye for design concepts.

I don't know what went wrong but some people in this business don't seem to realize that development and design really do go hand in hand - side by side.

Just my opinion.

Newbie ;-)

Harry




msg:3028770
 2:41 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Recruitment is always a problematic issue and often, you have to train the people you work with so they can share your vision of thing. I have found that training young designers is the only way - and don't worry about training your "competitors." Eventually all your staff will leave for greener pastures anyway.

jay5r




msg:3028778
 2:47 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

My original major in college was Architectural Engineering. I went into it thinking it had something to do with Architectural design and left it when I realized that it was just Civil Engineering for buildings.

I've been a web developer for 10 years now and can assure you web development is not the same as web design. They're both important members of the same team, but one's a right brain task and the other is a left brain task... A few people can be decent at both, but the people who are truly stellar in one usually aren't very good at the other.

Newbie56 - You're not getting an art school education and people with their MFAs just do better design than those without an art education (on average).

Newbie56




msg:3028810
 3:11 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Jay5R: I don't need a degree in art - it comes naturally for me always has. Sorry, but I don't agree that if a person is good in art he/she can't be good as a programmer as well. I happen to love both and believe I will become proficient in both areas. :)

Newbie56

jay5r




msg:3028833
 3:26 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Newbie - I never said "can't" - I was talking averages, not particular cases.

If you're that good at graphic design you should go to art school. Trust me, it will make you a better designer.

That said, most web sites don't need (or want) top flight designers. After all, ugly web sites are doing well these days [webmasterworld.com].

Vali




msg:3028846
 3:36 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm based in the UK and looking to increase my team of desingers and developers. I am having an absolute nightmare trying to find decent web designers.

I just want someone with good visual design skills that uses CSS for layout. Thats it! I have been advertising on monster, totaljobs, using agencies etc. I have seen many, many people but have not found anyone that can do what I want.

Is there a massive shortage or something? Am I advertising in the wrong place?

Are you sure that there are none around? or that there are not in your price range? (you get what you pay for)

opifex




msg:3030827
 11:44 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

At lest you are looking locally! Importance of this was touched on above in the manner of cultural differences .... very important that the viewers are comfortable with the visual design! the code design is another story! the suggestion to farm out the grapic design to one and the code to another is more than valid. My question is the specification. WHy do you require a certain code structure? Seems to med that if you know enough about what you want for the design you might be able to supervise? Design team? Pull together a group of team player freelancers for the project .... entice ONE to stay on to manage what ever it is that your doing.

Newbie56




msg:3031822
 5:50 pm on Aug 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

One of the qualities of a GOOD designer is to know enough of the process by which pages are rendered so that the FORM they design follows the FUNCTION and it is easily managed with minimal spec problems. They will be accepting of changes to the design in the name of accessibility and semantics, in fact a REALLY good designer will have already addressed these in their comps. You need to know HTML, CSS, ACCESSABILITY, AND SEMANTICS to design, and know them well enough to know what problems you are creating. This indeed is more rare than the average "designer," but by the quality of the posts on this board I can tell you they are out there. :-)

This is exactly how I feel Rocknbil - but I would refer to this person as a webmaster as opposed to a designer - correct?

Newbie56

rocknbil




msg:3032327
 1:02 am on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well . . . there have been vast discussions right on this board as to what a "webmaster" really is (as well as whether or not "webmistress" is even a valid synonym :-) ) For the sake of your interpretation, I would say that a competent web designer and webmaster are synonymous.

jay5r




msg:3032335
 1:17 am on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

a competent web designer and webmaster are synonymous

LOL... Not in my world...

anallawalla




msg:3032422
 3:28 am on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Great discussion. My old job at Macromedia involved segmenting this market and designers were completely apart from developers, even though many people think they are good at both or that the terms are synonymous. In fact there were seven major categories in my region (APAC) and the word "webmaster" was never used. The latter is a shorthand these days for the person who pulls the most weight at a large site and at a small company he/she is the only person with the keys to the site.

The OP's dilemma partly explains why the SEO industry exists. Designers are artists, whereas developers have one or more web dev methodologies under their belt. Of course there are individuals who have both skill sets.

Perhaps the real problem is that CSS is an orphan that resembles a developer skill but really belongs in the design camp?

Jack_Hughes




msg:3032976
 2:42 pm on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am completely incredulous that there are people around who think that web designers don't need to know html. heck whilst we're about it, why bother encumbering them with actually having to use the internet at all.

still, it does explain why there are so many completely unusable websites.

bateman_ap




msg:3033002
 2:54 pm on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you look at an average advertising agency there is a creative team and a studio team (usually unless artwork is sent out of house)

Usually the creative teams would come up with concepts created in Photoshop/Quark which the client signed off and was then passed to the studio to make "artwork ready". Make sure everything was 4 color, generate hi res images, drop in eps logos, check trim and bleed, maybe resize etc. They both had their strengths, the creatives created without having to know every single problem that might occur in the printing process and the studio produced.

You have to see web design like this. We get our designs created by creatives, they then get passed to the tech coders who create valid CSS based layouts from their Photoshop files. Do I never expect designers to be able to produce valid code? Of course not.

Gibble




msg:3033430
 7:43 pm on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have to agree with those that say designers and developers are two different mindsets that a single person rarely can master both.

I'm a developer, give me a problem to solve, and I'll solve it, doesn't matter the language (PHP, ASP, .NET, PB, HTML, CSS) I'll use whatever tools I need to in order to make the website function.

Now...when it comes to design...I have attempted it, and I know what good design looks like...I just can't create it.

My sister on the other hand, she is a graphics designer and works in both print, and web formats, the things she can do are amazing...she's competent when it comes to HTML and CSS...but only to the extent that it "works" and her design still looks correct.

It's a constant back and forth between designer and developer when working on large projects...they design, you develop the backend of the app, and use their design...they complain you butchered their design, and they make changes, and after some give and take everything works, in both the designers and developers eyes.

willybfriendly




msg:3033440
 7:55 pm on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

IMO, this is ALSO why the web is still flooded with table layout designs. The designer sells the design the the client, auto-generated from Photoshop or some other program which does so tabled, the check is collected and the project is passed down to the developers. Sorry, we've already paid for it, deal with it, this is what we like, this designer is good and we know it, our money SAYS SO, so figure it out.

Isn't this the truth...

I just got done rewriting a table based design to CSS. The template went from over 21kb to under 5kb (that with the css still embedded in the head).

I was able to preserve 95% of the table based design.

A web graphics designer has to know something about html/css, and a good web coder needs to know something about graphics design. The disciplines overlap, but seldom does one person excell in both.

And, we still struggle with customers and graphic artists that simply refuse to make the transition from print based to web based design. How many times have we been asked to turn a glossy, trifold brochure into a web page? Arrrgh!

WBF

rocknbil




msg:3033555
 9:56 pm on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

.....a competent web designer and webmaster are synonymous
LOL... Not in my world...

AH-AH! Context!
For the sake of your interpretation

:-)

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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