Another blog where you can blame the prospect

Andrew Neitlich

The mock-ups discussion in last two blog entries still leaves me dis-satisfied.

I have 1 non-profit and 9 ecommerce web sites going, and after looking at portfolios of hundreds of designers, still have found only 2-3 that get the job done for me.

Now imagine the plight of a business owner who isn’t even focused so much on the Web.

It is REALLY hard to find good designers, and here’s why:

1. Sites like eLance, as many of you noted, generally provide a long list of people with mediocre portfolios and general focus (“we do it all!”), and do not engender trust.

2. Doing a Google search for web designers/developers is a disaster for a prospect. Thousands of me-too firms come up, whether at the top of page one or the bottom of page 10. There is absolutely no way to know whom to contact.

3. While local firms might do well with word of mouth and community service, they rarely have portfolios that meet MY specific needs (“MY” meaning the business owner’s specific industry and likes/dislikes).

4. Designers and developers talk their language, not the business owner’s.

5. Based on many replies to previous blog entries, many (not all) designers and developers take a holier than thou, I’m right/you the customer are wrong, tone. This is an immediate turn off to a prospect.

6. Someone mentioned “portfolio, portfolio, portfolio.” Well, that’s the #5 kind of attitude. To me, all portfolios look kind of similar, because I don’t have your graphic design or development distinctions. Unless you’ve done something very close to what I want, and unless it meets my specs, it’s hard for me to get it. My fault or yours?

7. When I interview designers, the process is often disappointing. Designers/developers with supposedly great credentials show up late for meetings, can’t start a project for a few weeks, make no promises (even ballpark range) about timelines, haven’t tried to understand my business, etc. So the interview process cuts out more supposed talent. Businesspeople outside the creative/technical realm take it for granted that professionals are professional.

So while it is hard for many of you to find good, qualified prospects, it is just as hard for many of us to find good, qualified web designers/developers. Probably harder.

The next couple of weeks will go back to basics to try to resolve this dilemma.

Okay, go ahead, blame the prospects. It’s our fault that we can’t find good designers, right?