Do you even know what designers do?
Recently I ran into a firm that had no idea what designers do.
Yes, they did call themselves designers. Yes, they were offshore hucksters. They did not know the difference between a designer and a front end developer, let alone a PSD technician or website designer.
It got me thinking that the only way these people can get away with not knowing their own business is if the market was rich with folks who might be confused on what a website designer does.
I shudder to think about all those folks hiring website designers and they just don’t know what they do, how they work and can’t tell the difference between dated offshore design and up to date modern design thinking.
So I thought I would try to explain, so the next time you hire, you can tell the difference between a cheesy PSD tech and a good quality designer.
First, there is a difference between a front end developer and designer. A front developer is really a coder and will be proficient in markup technology, use quality semantic selectors and is really a developer at heart.
A website designer is someone who is concerned with both form and function - not just design. These folks will help you structure the site fundamentally and not just make it look it pretty.
Good website designers will almost always be both a front end developer and designer. Typically they provide you with HTML versions of your site with Ajax, jQuery and Java already installed. This is preferred as you know the design will be implemented as intended by the designer.
PSD technicians are folks who know how to use Photoshop well but deliver dated work. They drop off PSD templates to you and than expect you backend developer to do all the work. This is what you typically find in offshore providers. Western providers typically deliver a finished product ready for your back end developer to plug in, code and go.
Good design is design you can't see - whitespace is king!
When you hire your next designer, ask them if they deliver HTML, what code they know well, if they practice semantics and ask to see the best website they've ever designed. If it isn’t cool or if they don’t know what you are talking about, run!