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  1. #26
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    We don't live in a vacuum

    No matter who you talk to or for that matter what line of business they are in, almost without exception they would echo the same sentiment as the original poster that there is a lack of respect, people are always trying to beat them down on price etc. I think in Britain at least there is a great deal of cynisysm about being "ripped off", virtually everybody thinks they are being "ripped off" by somebody. Blaming amatuer web designers for the lack of respect you are being shown as a web designer is ridiculous, as several other posters have pointed out respect is earned not an automatic right. Hand on heart the sort of sums that some web designers are seeking for very ordinary sites are obscene and it's that sort of behaviour that earns them the same sort of respect or lack of it that we mete out to Estate Agents and the Banks. We have to rise above it by producing better value for money, producing sites that can prove their worth to the client. This will give the client the impetus to look forward to having an even better site. Everybody is happy, the client trusts you and the respect builds and the costs become irrelevant. Trust me it works.
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  2. #27
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    This thread is awesome. Good people with some heads on their shoulders.

    One point I have not seen here is the fact that a lot of the clients who want a site designed and developed are really not sure what that entails, the scope of it. They have a vague idea of this intangible universe called internet that all their friends are talking about, but they do not have a true grasp, too esoteric and confusing. Insecurities about the whole thing develop and they are not quite sure if they really should get a site at all, on the other hand feel pressure because Joe Competition down the road has one too. I think that would also be the reason for stalled appointments.

    Because they do not get their arms around this issue, they can not value a person much that would provide this service to them. Therefore the seriousness is lacking and a certain respect for the developer as well. This kind of ignorance happens not only in this industry, it happens every time when there is something new: and new it is to many still. So the only way to overcome this is by hand holding in cases like nycwebe is facing. Pamper your potential clients with overflowing knowledge. Show them what you will give them and deliver on that. Be charming and do not show tension that comes through by being too eager to get the job. Be firm and back up your claims, the respect will come all on its own -- Datura
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  3. #28
    SitePoint Evangelist old_expat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycwebe
    If their lawyer or doctor called, I am sure they would make sure to speak with them.
    How about some other guy trying to sell them something?

  4. #29
    SitePoint Evangelist old_expat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by worchyld
    You mention accountants, lawyers and doctors and that professional web developers who have successful clients should be treated or respected in the same manner. This really comes down to trust.
    I think it is a lot more than trust.

    Part of it is Standards. Just have a look at acaedemic credentials, exams and licensing requirements for those professions that you are comparing web design to.

    Until web design reaches that point .. although I doubt that it ever will .. designers will get the industry respect they deserve .. none.

    The reasons that the Professions have standards, which have very gradually led to a tendency toward respect, include self discipline as an industry and *shudder* legislation.

    The reasons that the web design industry gets so little general respect, IMO, is well illustrated in the "Bug Fixes" thread. If you're going to act like a gang of opportunists, you will probably be treated like a gang of opportunists.

  5. #30
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_expat
    The reasons that the web design industry gets so little general respect, IMO, is well illustrated in the "Bug Fixes" thread. If you're going to act like a gang of opportunists, you will probably be treated like a gang of opportunists.
    Well put!
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by fkr
    Same with web development.

    Probably the best thing a developer can do is *highly* develop their skills and move away from the bog standard home/about/contact kind of sites.

    Those are the ones the company can do themselves or for pennies and they know it because their kids are all lined up offering to do it for a couple hundred dollars. Those are also the sites that serve no real or profitable purpose to a business so even if you do a great job the company sees no financial value to it or your time and work.

    With the right skillset and sufficient experience and knowledge you can take a home/about/contact site and add real value to it by adding sections that address inefficient business practices, increase client and potential client communication and understanding and more.
    I don't agree with you on this. Even though most of our projects are much more complex then brochure sites - database programming, ecommerce, etc... I think you are wrong to state that a brochure site is worthless. It actually takes skill to develop a good brochure site and the market should not be ignored because it seems "easy" or any kid can do it. I have seen tons of horrible brochure sites that can actually hurt a business.

    One of our recent clients is a estate planning firm that has some very wealthy clients. Well they were at a presentation and a client asked to see their website. They were deeply embarrassed to show their brochure site - not because it didn't have a lot of information , but because it was simply ugly and looked like it was built in frontpage by a 10 year old. They hired us and are paying a decent amount of money for a very simple brochure site. They don't need anything more advanced - they just need to present a professional image to potential and existing clients.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox
    This goes back to the point made of adjusting your internal business processes to either learn how to deal with such a situation (and re-adjust the committment balance) or to learn how to avoid such a situation in the first place (which is my preference).

    From the moment someone rings me looking for help, I let them know that I have my own business processes in place; I asses their situation, I ask qualifying (or disqualifying) questions, I assess just how much committment I'm willing to make based on their situation and I look at how much committment they are willing to make back to me. I also ask them what they expect from me in order to satisfy their buying process. For example, if it's a 20 page proposal, I tell them straight that I will not provide such a thing (for free) and that it's something that's handled at the start of a project, once I have a premlininary agreement and retainer in place.

    I set the ground rules early and find that this helps earn the respect required in a balanced business relationship. If I spot that I'm dealing with the type of client who likes playing power games and is unlikely to share committments, I usually walk away. Hence I don't tend to find myself in siutations where prospects are failing to answer pre-arranged phone calls - if it does happen, there's usually a very good reason for it and it's usually the prospect who's falling over themselves to make amends. You say the prospect is 'in the bag' - if so, there really is no need to allow such a heavy power shift in the relationship - if they are not making the committments they agreed to, remind them of this fact, let them know that you feel they are wasting your time and let them know that they can ring you when they are ready to move forward.

    Again, it's all about how you percieve yourself in these matters - are you a desperate vendor looking for his next gig, or are you a consultant, a collaborator ready to assist with a cry for help and develop a balanced, mutally beneficial, long term business relationship?

    You make some excellent points. I think this is the route we are going to take - but I just feel that we are going to lose customers if we are not persistent. Not to the point of being desperate - cause we have enough work, but some clients just need to be nudged a bit to get the ball rolling.

    However experience has taught me that you do get more respect if your prices are high and have a firm business process in place. That is why I think it is crazy how some web designers don't even have a contract. A well developed contract instantly gives you credibility and even respect as a professional. I think the business processes that shadowbox has in place also earns respect and shows the client that you are in control.

    I really believe it is all about how you project yourself and your business. Location also has a lot to do with it. For example, in NYC a lot of respect/worth is determined by your image - how big is your office and where is it located, what car do you drive, what watch do you wear, etc... It's a pain, but it's the reality. If you come to a meeting with a financial firm, driving a oldsmobile - wearing your mickey mouse watch - you're not going to get valued or at least treated as an equal. Clients need to see that you are successful as it gives them the impression that your business is successful.

  8. #33
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycwebe
    However experience has taught me that you do get more respect if your prices are high and have a firm business process in place. That is why I think it is crazy how some web designers don't even have a contract. A well developed contract instantly gives you credibility and even respect as a professional. I think the business processes that shadowbox has in place also earns respect and shows the client that you are in control.

    I really believe it is all about how you project yourself and your business.
    I do think the psychology of confidence is a lot of it - good contracts, reliable practices, not screwing around, attention to detail, being predictable, staying positive. Personally, I've always found it to be in my best interests to be more organized than my clients - it's certainly frustrating sometimes, but it almost always gets across the best possible impression. Anything that projects the "got it together better than you" vibe is usually a good thing.

    It seems to me, though, that we're taking up two different issues in this thread: respect as a profession, versus respect as an individual business. Big difference - one is about being judged based on the actions of your competitors, and the other is about being judged in contrast to those actions. I think as long as someone just identifies as a "web designer" and leaves it at that, they're going to keep running into this respect problem.

    But if you're not truly distinguishing yourself as a one-of-a-kind business, the rest of the image stuff is a con game. A very effective and profitable one, possibly, but a con game nonetheless.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycwebe
    ..
    I'm not saying a brochure site is worthless, I'm saying from the client's perspective the raw skills needed to produce one are skills their kids are learning in school.

    People want respect but armed with the same skills as their clients' KID they're just not going to get it.

    There's plenty of companies who just need a simple site. But even then there's a marked difference between what a professional will produce vs someone with some photoshop/html "experience".

    The value is not in the html or the layout and it doesn't have to be in applications or the complexity of the site. It can be in researched, perfectly worded copy, professional photography, seo, marketing and a site that is tailored from the ground up to achieve goals. Plenty of other criteria too.

    At the end of the day a professional should be able to offer more than just photoshop, a sliced up layout and ftp services because those are generic skills these days.

    Can you agree with any of that?

  10. #35
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    Im not a professional, I'm one of these hacks who knows just enough basic HTML to put a site together, and along with some pointers about how to use Frotnpage (which I had never even heard of before this year, Id always been a notepad handcoder) I am one of those hacks who knows just enough to do a little bit but not enought o do it properly. My main role here at work is sales and customer service. I _am_ the face of the business. I'm the one the customers deal with when they come in the door and when they ring up. And when I expressed an interest in fixing the companies website (and for all the problems I'm having at the moment with it it is far better. It had been half done. There was a skeleton framwork only and the boss wasn't happy with any of it and the people had skipped town or somethgin) I made him aware that I knew a little bit, and that I had never actually published a website, only ever played around with them at school. I have to admit, that I do now have much mroe respect for professional web designers, havign gone through some heartache and frustration myself over this and realising that it's not as easy as I thought it would be. (not that I thought it would be easy). But at the end of the day, unless people get in and try themselves that is how it is going to be, as they wo't go through the frustration of trying to work it all out. They just point their cursor and click and it all works for them. And we have to accept that that's how it's going to be.

  11. #36
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Ah, yes. The Web site I said I'd help you with. Did you get that email I sent you about the .psd file?

    As far as Web design/development communities go, Sitepoint definately has one of the better ones (I won't say "best" because I wish to withold judgment at this time). Most of the professionals in the field who are deserving of respect can easily be found if you know where to look. Fortunatley Sitepoint has them in spades .

  12. #37
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    I have a Phd in Biochemistry and a degree in Software development and I am now working as a freelance web developer and I still don't get the respect I think I deserve for this, no matter what letter you have after yor name this industry still remains of a amateurish nature so how can you even compare it to being like a doctor or lawyer.

    There is no comparison here.

  13. #38
    SitePoint Enthusiast willsmith727's Avatar
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    I agree with this 'respect' issue. Im a 19 year old working in a web design company locally and ive found from one year working that people tend to discriminate against my age a little. Ive recently taken up the 'im not standing for this' attititude and started voiceing my true oppinions and ive found you get respect for it.

    I do find that when im communicating with a 50+yr old marketing expert about a website they do think they know more than me about web design and start ordering me to do this and that. Hell, one just asked me to remove the navigation from his site. I put him in his place. Thats very frustrating for me and the one thing i hate about the job.

    Rant over .

  14. #39
    SitePoint Zealot pooney's Avatar
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    Great thread, web design must be one of the least respected industries there is because it is so filled with cowboys. Not long ago my mother came to me and asked me if making a website was hard? Surely it isn't? Because my 10 year old cousin has made one. Oh really?

    Some brilliant posts about the need for websites. It is annoying when a site has no purpose and you have to 'design' a website. There won't be much content? There isn't really need for any images? The content is static? Uhh - what am I supposed to do here?

    Web design will never be an industry as professional as law, or medicine because there are too many people always learning how to use dreamweaver, photoshop, HTML. All of these up and coming people want to start selling websites straight away. Does this happen in medicine? Law?

    Do you have somebody who just finished reading a book from the library about human anatomy telling you he is a doctor and setting up a practice? No. So why does it happen in web design? I'm not sure, probably because the industry isn't respected and ameteurs don't feel obliged to become experts before they 'set up practice'. How can you change that? Is anybody trying to change it or is this just a rant thread?
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  15. #40
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    I don't think comparisons to life-savers like doctors are particularly relevant, but I do think the web development industry should work towards gaining a level of respect somewhere closer to accountants and architects. I put current respect levels closer to tradesmen like plumbers and plasterers, industries which are also full of cowboys and where propsects will without thought, waste the time of several vendors in their quest for low prices and self satisfaction (except tradesmen cottoned on years ago to charge call out fees to cut out the time wasters).

    Honestly, I get really sick of this profession some times and have found I'm putting less and less time in working for third parties and instead putting more effort into my own projects and ecommerce sites - these are far more profitable (as they should be, nothing like practicing what you preach).

  16. #41
    SitePoint Wizard cranial-bore's Avatar
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    Not meaning to target anyone in particular but the medical / legal analogies are pretty weak IMO.
    Yes, they're good examples of 'respected professions' but the implied link between (even the best) web consulting and medicine is a bit of a stretch.

    If you're subconsciously thinking that your expertise with HTML, CSS, <server side language>, usability, internet marketing, SEO, Ajax, Javascript or e-commerce is analogous to the knowledge a doctor would require then you're a bit off the mark.

    What about plumbers, carpenters, engineers, car designers, architects, teachers, sales people, graphic designers or ninjas?
    I guarantee the workers of those occupations frequently encounter additudes that underestimate their knowledge and experience. They may not have to compete with the proverbial nephew but I doubt their situations are massively different.

    All of these up and coming people want to start selling websites straight away. Does this happen in medicine? Law?
    Yes. It might not be as apparent but Doctors and Lawyers do learn on the job (albeit with supervision). Younger doctors practicing are frequently confronted with situations they don't know exactly how to deal with. They do their best, they learn by making mistakes, they gain experience. Sometimes a supervising safety net can catch their mistakes, sometimes it can't.

    *Edit*
    The post by shadowbox was not there when mine was written. Any similarity is coincidental

  17. #42
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranial-bore
    Not meaning to target anyone in particular but the medical / legal analogies are pretty weak IMO.
    Yes, they're good examples of 'respected professions' but the implied link between (even the best) web consulting and medicine is a bit of a stretch.
    Not to mention there's a major power difference, which alone makes the comparison slightly ridiculous. The doctor has the power to save your life. The lawyer has the power to save (or take away) your freedom and fortune. A web designer has the power to (maybe) build a marketing tool that might do some financial good if done properly. People tend to respect real power. Always have, always will.

    (Personally, in my more cynical hours I tend to think of our collective professions as more in line with arms dealing. Here's a sparkling new XM-8, instructions on how to use it, maybe some training - need me to show you where your foot is? No problem! All part of the service, sir!)

  18. #43
    SitePoint Addict smittenbite's Avatar
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    well i am not a web designer, or a developer, or anything web related actually. but just a few points of view that i have gained while being around sitepoint and online at other places where these communities can be found - there are just too many people who dont really know what theyre doing, but claim these titles. and they sell things and make deals with people to get them a website. and this is why its hard to give respect when there are so many people who dont know what theyre doing out there.

    obviously since i've been around here i am aware of the find a freelancer websites and web developer, designer business websites around. but i am really discouraged from using them or asking anyone i dont know to do anything for my money because of some of the posts i've seen here. i dont really feel at ease when i see posts that say "i have a client who wants to do this, i dont know how, how do i do this?" what happens to that person if no one responds to the thread??? why did they take a job that they cant handle??? if i was a client i wouuldnt want MY website that im PAYING for to be a 'learning experience' for the person whos getting paid. how can i trust that this situations wont happen to me?

    then there are the many posts that says "i am a 15 year old looking to get into this career, what should i learn first?" or "i am 16 and have done this for years now, i know how to do ..." really? do you really know how? i am not saying that age has a factor in how well you can program a website. but i AM saying that there are just too many people trying to get into a 'business' when they dont know whats really going on outside of their notepad or dreamweaver window.

    then like someone else mentioned before , the 'hacks' threads. whats even worse is that in those threads theres usually posts like 'yes, that can work, except when... then it doesnt do anything...'.

    the more i learn about this topic, the more i learn that i actually know nothing about it. so i DO know that this is not an 'easy' thing to do WELL. but with all these people out there 'making websites' , its hard to know who to trust and how to stop myself from getting ripped off. and i admit if i didnt really read more into a lot of things around here i would still think that 'making websites' is easy. and this is the idea that a lot of people have in their minds.

    all the suggestions posted by others before me are good suggestions. you need to act professional when you want to be treated like one. if i could just tellyou to call me whenever and then keep putting you further and further down my list everyday i wouldnt respect you either cause i know youre there whenever i call you. if i was looking to get someone to build me an important site, i would want a contract with terms and how you work (like someone else said, lay the ground rules for me, tell me how you do things) in black and white and with a blank line for my signature. you should make clear what information you need from me from the very start, be clear that you cannot start with out it (i've seen many threads about how people cant get the info from the client, and things get put off until it ends in "well..i guesss ill take it as a learning experience"). in fact, if someone said that they cant start without a certain amount of information, i would keep their information with me and when ihave it all ready id contact you again. because now i know that have a process that you go through to do your work and i need to follow it if i want you to do my project.

    just some thoughts and perspectives from someone who isnt in this 'business' at all
    nothing.

  19. #44
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    I work in both the software industry and the web development industry (borth as a consultant and for my own business, respectively) and I can tell you that the difference in the respect level is absolutely amazing.

    As a software developer at the enterprise level, there's really no problem with respect. In fact, the developers are well-paid and treated very respectfully by clients and employers. There is a high standard for quality, everyone has good communication skills, the vast majority of the team members have a 4-year degree (minimum), and there is very little complaining about the work or the clients. We use the most recent standards that are reasonably applicable to the project, and there's no lengthy discourses about what 'would have been better'. My teams will find and apply the best solution for the client's needs without feeling the need to push them towards technologies that may not be right for them due to non-technical requirements (and non-technical requirements are mostly what businesses and governments care about). The contractors have to push a little to get paid, but they almost always do and it's not a major issue. Scope-creep is expected from clients and everyone knows how to deal with it, so this is an annoyance but we don't need to discuss it constantly because it's an accepted challenge of the business. I have rarely heard a discussion about how the developers aren't respected.

    Web developers, and designers in particular, are the opposite in almost every way. Some of them are quite professional, but in truth they are all over the map. They vary in age, level of education, and communications skills. They frequently feel the need to push their clients towards certain technologies (such as tableless design, etc.) without understanding the actual benefit to the client as it pertains to the client's actual business. While most freelance software developers tend to be well sorted out with regards to taxes, insurance, and invoicing, many web developers are unincorporated and have no real process for invoicing, etc. Clients of web developers will frequently have horror stories about having worked with their newphew or cousin, or being screwed by someone who underbid, then failed to deliver, their job. I have seen a freelance designer get into a mac vs. pc debate with an uninterested client (who was stuck with PC anyway) and derail a meeting for a $100,000 job.

    I know that the above remarks are generalizations, and I don't mean them to be taken qiute literally. But as someone who works with web developers all the time (most of my clients are web developers, and many come from Sitepoint) I can say that AS A GROUP they are less deserving of respect because everyone and anyone can jump in. The developers who get organized and do great business get respected, but you have to earn it in this business.
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  20. #45
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    I think part of the problem is that there is are so many freelancers from India, Indonesia, etc that call themselves web designers and really are not even close to being designers .

    So I think that industry has lost a lot of its respect because of that

    And most people who own websites seem to be at the point where if they want something done right they do it themselves or are at the stage where they will buy a quick template from the first site they find

  21. #46
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    I dont see any more or less incompetence from offshore vendors as compared to domestic ones. I dont think offshoring is the problem. There are as many 'cousin joey' types in the US or AU as anywhere else
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marapets.com
    I think part of the problem is that there is are so many freelancers from India, Indonesia, etc that call themselves web designers and really are not even close to being designers .

    So I think that industry has lost a lot of its respect because of that

    And most people who own websites seem to be at the point where if they want something done right they do it themselves or are at the stage where they will buy a quick template from the first site they find
    I also don't see offshore to be a big problem. There are as many unqualified people here in the states. Most of our clients wouldn't want to off-shore anyways, as they require US office hours for phone calls, face to face meetings, etc...

  23. #48
    SitePoint Zealot pooney's Avatar
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    I'm not claiming web designers and doctors are on the same level. Its just an example of a profession which requires learning, training and experience even if they are in different leagues. A med student working as he learns under supervision of an experienced doctor isn't really the same as some kid picking up dreamweaver and selling people websites.

    A part of the problem is probably due to the fact that this industry is relatively new, and needs people to help it evolve properly and kill off the cowboys. As far as I know there is no industry standard qualifications to have as a web designer, maybe Microsoft certification as a developer but no such things exists for designers. Potential are possibly warey of this and with a lot of business done online they probably find it difficult to differentiate between professionals and rookies.
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  24. #49
    Compulsive Clubber icky_bu's Avatar
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    I agree with the original poster of this thread but have another view on the situation. In my opinion it also has a lot to do with the general perception of what is the internet to the people you are working with.
    I'm from Portugal and Internet is at least a half dozen years behind in general terms compared to UK and the US. Standards are yet to be followed by and only a few (couple of dozen) of us keep up to date and follow the latest.

    What I feel that really hurt the webdesigner is the amazing expansion of the template market. The websites just started popping up here and there and in no time, people could have a good looking website for peanuts and as far as they know, it's top deal!

    Why would someone that doesn't understand much about internet other than it has email and kids download music and movies from it, pay me 500-1000 euros for a standard compliant website with custom made backoffice and what not... when they can purchase a website for 40 euros and have it ready in 2 days.

    These is just too much garbage offerings running around, in my opinion.
    And keep in mind that prices here in Portugal are relatively cheap when compared abroad.

    So, there are a lot of factors mixed in but I would assume that the main one would be public awareness of the Internet's potencial.

  25. #50
    Gone Fishing Japhi's Avatar
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    Just because I work on my truck or do my own plumbing doesn't make me a mechanic or a plumber. It follow that just because I have 5 websites, I am not a web developer.

    There needs to be a certification process for Web Developers backed by a strong professional association. Good developers should be able to distiguish themselves from hobbyists, apprentices and imposters. Untill there is, clients will continue to get burned, compensation wil continue to soften and the industry will not get respect.


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