Common Misconceptions About Web Design & Development

Businesses are more and more becoming more dependent on an online presence, so the pressure to have a successful website is very high. However, some entrepreneurs have misguided notions about how web design and development should work.

This post explores some common beliefs among non-tech-savvy businesspeople about web design. It’ll address aspects like micro-managing instead of trusting your developer and assuming that hiring a web developer will make a website viral. It’ll also discuss how to address these misconceptions.

Web Design Is Easy to Do

One of the most harmful misconceptions is that web design is easy. It’s clearly not. Sure, a beautiful website may look effortless and work intuitively, but it didn’t get that way without a lot of hard work. Every button or feature on a website takes hours of coding. Every layout takes a talent for refining creativity and reflecting a brand’s voice.

Every graphic takes research, and many are created from scratch. Contrary to popular belief, some of the simplest website designs are the most complicated to produce. And complex sites aren’t cheap. So next time you’re gazing in awe at a gorgeous website, keep in mind that it took hundreds of hours (and a hefty budget) to create.

My Designer Should Respond Immediately to Every Request

Many web designers chose their careers because they have a passion for web design, but also because they get to work on their own time. Everyone works differently, and some creatives aren’t productive at 9 to 5 office jobs. This should be understood when working with a design team.

A good designer should tell you up front what his or her particular work schedule is like. If your design team is more productive at night, don’t expect an 8 a.m. email to be answered immediately. If a designer doesn’t work on Sundays, wait until Monday to ask for the changes you’ve been wanting. Just like you want your time respected, your design team wants its respected, as well. Make sure to ask about everyone’s hours before the project begins so you know the best time to ask for changes and when you can expect an update or response.

Everyone Needs to Be Involved in the Process

Keeping everyone on the same page is important, but not every person in your company has to be involved in every meeting. Many entrepreneurs air on the side of caution trying to keep everyone updated, but this can be a colossal waste of time for those who aren’t involved. Instead, keep brainstorming sessions exclusive only to those who will be working on the project.

Your programmers don’t need to know the finer points of what will be published on your blog. And your content writers don’t need to know how the blog was built. By making sure the team meeting consists of the appropriate members, you’ll save time and money, and your employees can concentrate on their sections of the project.

My Site Is Done, the Job Is Done

Web design isn’t a one approach deal. The web is always changing, and websites need to be continually updated to remain compliant with best practices and emerging trends.

Whether it’s due to a new Google algorithm or new aesthetic trend, your website will likely evolve several times over a few years. Websites also need to be maintained to make sure they’re working consistently around the clock.


Beautiful Web Design: Hoover-Mason Trestle.

Web developers constantly check for broken links, user experience, and functionality. Likewise, content and SEO standards are always in flux, so your website will need to be frequently updated if you want to stay in the top ranks. Understand that when you hire a developer to build your website, he or she will create a living entity that needs to be managed and nurtured.

My Designers Should Do What I Tell Them

It’s understandable that many entrepreneurs think they get to call the shots. After all, it’s your money; you should be able to dictate what you want, right? Not necessarily. Web developers spend the majority of their lives learning the technical and creative aspects of design; it’s their job. You should trust that the experienced decisions they make are right for your business.

That’s not to say you should never offer constructive feedback, but don’t micro-manage your design team. These individuals know what they’re doing, and they want what’s best for your business. Their job is to take the vision for your company and turn it into a user experience on a website. They have the technique and knowledge to drive traffic and turn readers into buyers, so learn to trust their judgment.

My Site Is Done; Time to Watch the Flood of Visitors

It’s natural to assume that once your website is built, thousands of users will come flooding in.

Why wouldn’t they? You have a beautiful new website that functions like a dream and portrays your brand perfectly. The truth is, just because your website has launched doesn’t mean it’s going to “go viral.” Your website isn’t the endgame of your marketing campaign, but rather the foundation. After all, people can’t enjoy your domain if they can’t find it.

While it’s the designers’ job to make sure your site is optimized for user experience, aesthetics, and functionality, it isn’t their job to promote it. This is where other marketing tactics, like content creation and social marketing, come into play. Growing your business through your website is a group effort. It requires a combination of effective marketing and website optimization. So don’t just assume that once you’re website is done you’ll see immediate payoff; it’s an ongoing effort.

Anyone Can Build a Website

There are many easy-to-use web building tools available. Unfortunately, this has led to the misconception that anyone can build a killer website. This is simply not true. While these tools are excellent for start-ups and small businesses, they just can’t meet the needs of medium and large businesses. There’s a lot more that goes into design than just how the site looks. Do you know how to build a shopping cart that takes unconventional forms of payment? Does your self-built website integrate with your physical POS system or inventory management platform?

These are the types of things web developers do when building a page. Developers build sites from scratch so they can cater to their clients’ needs. This is something DIY platforms can’t give you. If you’re tempted to ask your tech-savvy family member to build a site for you, carefully consider your business needs before doing so.

I’ll Just Copy My Competitor’s Site

Your competition can provide some valuable business insights. Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs take this too far. The “my competitor’s site is doing great, let’s just do the same thing” mindset is not the best strategy. While there may be a few elements that impress you, a competitor’s designs should serve as inspiration – not a template.

It’s important to look at a competitor’s site to find out what makes it amazing – and what makes it not so great. Your designer wants to make a site unique to your business; that’s his or her job! However, these professionals don’t want to rip off another successful company. Resist the temptation to copy your competitors, and instead let your designer use that inspiration to create something just for you.

Web Design Shouldn’t Cost So Much

One of the most frustrating misconceptions is that web design should be cheap. From first glance, a beautiful, simple website may look to the untrained eye that it was easy to create. But the truth is quite the opposite. A website that functions and looks impeccably is the result of an experienced and talented designer/developer.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand that the kind of talent needed to create a gorgeous website costs money. Web designers and developers do so much more than just make your pages look good. An effective domain will reflect your brand and define your company. You should think of your website as an investment – after all, you get what you pay for.

And for designer and developers, here are the types of web design clients you should really avoid.

Comments

  • great blog thanks, interesting read

  • Karen McRae

    *stands and starts the slow clap*

  • Dave

    All too true Stephen!

  • karks88

    Well done! Most folks I deal with tend to understand these points, but I’ve certainly run into a few over the years that think what we do is easy.

  • Victor Breitenbach

    Great perspective. If I may add: there are many designers
    who are unfortunately pigeon-holed into a mundane task by sales
    representatives, business analysts, or management who often think they should interpret what they hear the client wants, from their non-creative view, and who do not understand the client satisfaction and project success that can be realized when the designer also works with the client and hears first-hand their perspective and desired project outcome. Then has the opportunity to offer solutions to branding challenges, content positioning, the business goals of the client, and a wealth of other issues.

    I have worked in both environments and applaud the business who acknowledges the importance of designers.

  • Paul Boggula

    Yes! I agree…

  • Hi Victor,

    Very true, when you say that there are people in business who wish to pigeonhole designers like
    them to work through their perspective and attain designs that may not be beneficial. I would like to add here that there are very few people who can give briefing as per the project demand. The work starts from where you understand it first. If this goes wrong, the way it is completed can be detrimental for the project. Anyways, good that you pointed these things. I hope everyone would agree with this. Keep sharing things about your experience.

  • Hey Karks,

    Great again! That’s what happens when we take other people’ work for granted. Frankly, web design is not easy. It can be made easier when there remain no misconceptions around the work. Good designers know their work and also how to do it.

  • Hi Dave,
    Thanks for writing and liking above points. If you have some more to add to them, do write about them. Would love to hear back from you!

  • Hey Alyson,
    I am glad you liked my post! While I was writing down this blog, wanted to be very rational, and wrote down those points which designers often face. Am sure, these points will help all of us to have the realization what designers go through, and not do their work well. Would love to know your thoughts on it as well.

  • Hi Karen, I am glad you liked it. Feel free to share your experiences as well. Would love to know about it.

  • I want to say these are great points. I am agreed with you on the point ”
    I’ll Just Copy My Competitor’s Site”. I am also a web developer, and I have seen people who ask for same website as their competitors.I want to say it is not a good option to copy the whole website. We can take ideas from the website and develop a website for us.

  • Hi Bon,

    Thanks for writing and sharing your views. Copying competitor’s site is a wrong notion. That’s what I clearly explain above in the second paragraph. You can look at your competitor’s site and derive points as to know why audience is visiting that site. But never, never copy the site. As you
    rightly said, we can take ideas from it and develop a new site for them. I would like to hear more from you on some good sites. Thanks again.

  • Sajib Srs

    Great article. As a designer and developer i faced some of these problems. From my point of view, to get a good result in a creative work it is best to use another creative to deal with other creative. If its not possible client should at least have a good understanding of creative work and the platform he is dealing with. Thanks for the nice elaboration :)

  • Jesus Gonzalez

    Excellent piece. The way you laid it out was to-the-point, informative and concise. You know your stuff and I appreciate that you do. Not many people out there dare to to let their clients know how it is, with their “ideas.” After reading your piece, it not only helps clients understand our side of the workload, but it also inspires our people to take pride in their work and stand up for themselves…when they have the chops to do so. Again, great piece.