In the digital age everyone knows something about making a website.
From one page website builders to complex layers of PHP, Ajax & jQuery and everything between, most people have fiddled with making something that is eventually plonked down somewhere on the world wide web. These days you don’t need a university degree, you barely even need knowledge of coding or even color coordination for that matter as there’s a growing number of platforms that take care of that for you.
This being the case, where does the lonely and oh-so-talented web designer find himself (or herself) in this world where digital knowledge is coming to the people and the power balance is shifting from specialization to everyone-ization? People in positions of power or in possession of certain levels expertise sometimes tend to fear the spread of knowledge, the growth of others who may, at some point, come to compete with them and challenge their comfortable and perhaps lofty podium.
What many people don’t realize is that web design is like any other skill. There are are various levels and no matter what angle you approach it from it still takes time to learn. Just about everyone in a first world country can drive a vehicle but that doesn’t make them capable of handling a Formula 1 race track, in fact it’s arguable that many drivers are barely capable of handling their daily commute. Though something can be said about the enormous amount of poor drivers in the general community (but we don’t want to stretch the analogy too far).
Back to the topic — one of the most important elements that people who need web services don’t tend to have is time. Many business owners are smart, savvy and quite effective at acquiring a decent level of expertise in many fields in a brief period. Given that, wouldn’t it make sense that most business owners pick an easy online editing program that takes care of most of the legwork and just cranks out a site?
The answer, as it turns out, is no. While the rising tide of simple web construction may raise all boats, it also pushes those who are ahead of the pack to rise even farther. You can add a contact form with a few buttons? Great, but the new cool thing is being able to take that contact form, disseminate it’s keywords, when the visitor decided to send it and automatically delegate the tasks on the email template into a collaborative CRM software that’s accessible by mobile, tablet and computer devices worldwide.
Not quite as simple… yet 😉
When you hire someone to do web design for you, you’re not paying them for their university degree or qualifications, you’re paying them for time, even if you’re working on a contract basis. What takes you 2 hours takes them 5 minutes. You don’t want to spend 3 hours tinkering with margins or padding to get just the right look? While that’s why you hire someone to do it for you.
There will always be room for competition, growth and the exchange of services. People only have so much time to acquire skills and learn new things. In many cases you save time in the short and long term. If time = money you should be focusing on the things that bring you money, not spreading yourself thinly over a 100 different tasks. This is not advocating 100% specialization, but before you decide to handle a web project on your own, stop and consider if the time investment is worth it. Are there better things you could be doing? Everyone can learn web design, it’s the truth, but not everyone needs to. Leave it to the coffee-drinking nerds and you’ll be just fine.