Oh, to be a web developer or designer these days. Great jobs, great pay, great respect. Right? Okay, so maybe we're a little off. Web workers actually have it pretty rough. From dealing with dopey clients to making do with little pay, it's a wonder you're still in the biz. Give yourself a little break and check out this list of 10 funny (but true) rants about the Web world.
- Implementing animated images: The author of this article laments that “less than 0.01% of animated images I've seen are necessary to make the page useful.” Does your client's professional Web site really need a dancing penguin hopping around in the top left corner? Unnecessary animated images often take away from a site's credibility and almost always “distract [visitors] from the real content of your pages.” But good luck telling that to your client. The dancing penguin always wins.
- Clients that refuse to pay: No matter how closely you vet your clients, you'll run into a few that don't pay. Some have their own financial problems, and may find themselves in the middle of a cash flow crisis. While you can't always predict these deadbeat clients, you can learn strategies to deal with them quickly. Don't delay, and try to speak over the phone rather than relying on emails to get your message across. If you need to use a collection agency, be sure to read through their terms and fees.
- Copycat Designs: Ever search the Web and run into a design that looks exactly like one you created for a different client? Similarities in page design are bound to occur, but every once in a while you run into a website that looks unmistakably like one of your own. Sometimes you can put partial blame of a copycat design on the client. They've seen your site and want their website to be based on your designs. The designer, however, should know how to develop an original creation that was only inspired by your skills. This post on the Wow Web Designs Forums critiques the lack of originality in today's designs. Even though Web developers now have more access to the right resources than ever before, “the majority of sites are looking and feeling the same. Just copycat stuff really, and only the originators made it look good….So when you're doing your next site, make sure you're doing something unique.” For a more contemporary view, here's another blog that looks more closely at the trend of making all websites look the same.
- Dealing with the “Know-it-All” client: Every vendor has had to deal with the know-it-all client, but Web developers might have it the worst. Everyone's an expert on the Internet, or so they seem to think. But clicking around on the Web, checking out competitors' sites or shopping online doesn't exactly give them the right to boss you around. They hired you, after all. Does the customer always have to be right?
- Dealing with the “but can't you just” client: What's worse than the know-it-all? The client who's always trying to get you to add on free services. You know who we're talking about. “But can't you just change all the fonts while you're at it?”. To many non-Web savvy customers, your job basically consists of clicking the mouse over and over again. They don't realize that you actually have to be paid for your services, not all fonts are free, and they need the appropriate software programs and downloads to implement the designs they want. Would they be willing to replace your car's windshield wipers for free since you're already at the shop for an inspection or to throw in a few complementary pairs of underwear since you already bought socks from their store? We didn't think so.
- Fighting the good fight: giving in to advertising: Losing valuable space to tacky ads makes some sites force designers to split articles among many different pages, which makes the site lose any aesthetic appeal and convenience it could otherwise claim. What's worse? Smaller, personal sites, like blogs, have also started selling out. Mobile websites are particularly vulnerable to the ever-more prominent animated ad.
- Saving a design as “final”: This rant isn't against clients, non-Web developers, or even computers. You've only got to blame yourselves for this one. Number 7 in the Bittbox.com lists “25 Reasons You Might Be A Hardcore Graphic/Web Designer” states that “you’ve learned your lesson and stopped using the word “final” in any file name when saving.” For those of you who haven't yet learned your lesson, we'll bet you're ranting and raving each time you have to re-save your “final” version. Who are you kidding anyway? Your Web page won't be finalized until you've gotten your check and don't have to speak to the client ever again.
- Web development expert does not equal programming expert: No matter how many times you tell that ignoramus of a boss, just because you know how to develop and design websites, does not mean that you know anything about programming or engineering. Doesn't your boss understand that he needs to hire someone else for the job, instead of piling it on you for the same lousy pay?
Clients that are just damn rude: Once you're employed to work for somebody, you have little choice but to see the contract through. Once your contract is over, think seriously about whether you need to work for them again. If it's time to let a client go, be tactful and polite. Nick Reese has written three example emails that can free you from clients that you despise.
- “We can't afford to pay you, but we'll link back to your site”: While it's true that online advertising goes a long way, it does not equal sufficient pay for a complete Web design and development job. It doesn't even come close. How is a measely little link going to put food on your table? Always make sure your work is valued and paid for.
Feel free to post your other rants below!