You need a Web Designer

Posted on 29 June 2011 by Rachel Andrew


As a company edgeofmyseat.com has been in existence for almost 10 years. I started the company in September 2001. I’d recently redesigned my personal site to use some fairly shaky CSS for layout but most people were still using tables, IE6 had only just been released and the browser we all hated was Netscape 4.

As a developer I started taking on development jobs for design agencies who didn’t have web designers. The typical clients were traditional agencies, print designers, who just wanted to hand me a picture of a website in Photoshop and I would send them back a site. This worked. The web was pretty simple back then. I educated my clients – helping them to understand that they only had a few fonts to choose from; showing them what happened when text resized; explaining the reality of different screen resolutions. They sent me better pictures of websites and I built them. As time went on I explained the possibilities of CSS, of print stylesheets, basic accessibility requirements. They sent pictures of websites and of print stylesheets and I built them.

It is now 2011 and sending us a picture of a website does not work any more. The web is its own medium and needs people who have trained for that medium, understand and love it for its own sake. As a company we – Drew and I – have realised that our way of working is now flawed. It did work well in the past but doesn’t work any more.

We can’t educate someone, during the course of a job, into modern web design techniques. Especially if they have never built a site before, have no understanding of CSS and HTML. That is a huge job in itself and can’t happen during the course of a site build. We can’t explain, for example, the possibilities of responsive design to a print designer who won’t accept that users can resize text or might be viewing the site on a netbook screen leaving the fold in “the wrong place”.

If you are designing websites, you need a web designer and they need to love the web, love designing for it, and really care about making the web experience awesome.

If you are an agency who needs back and front-end web development and have your own in-house web designer, or perhaps you are a designer yourself then let’s talk. We can work out how best to work together to produce a great end result.

If you are an agency who only has print designers then we can work with you too – but we will only accept projects in future where we can bring in web design experience from our side. We work with some great people and can work with your brand and identity to create a website that is both on brand and a good piece of web design.

You need a web designer. The best web development in the world won’t make your project awesome if it is poorly designed – all we can do is limit the damage – and we don’t want to be in the business of damage limitation, when we could be in the business of helping to create amazing stuff.