Cowboy Web Designers

Please read this post carefully with an open-mind…

Web design is a lot like building. The great thing about building is that there are set rules that when not followed can get you in trouble with the law. I am talking about housing insulation, heating installments, building specification etc. all working for the customers benefit, and in many-a-time customers know of these.

It’s dawned on me, however much we want to believe the w3c is the standard, on the whole web design is a completely unregulated field. Apart from the silly cookie law (which I think they’ve now done away with) there is no real structured law and set of guidelines customers aware made aware of. It’s up to the web designer common sense and in many respects decency to include those things. This opens up some real hard hitting issues.

Customers can’t judge what they have no idea about. Price being the main factor of decisions. Web designers could remove elements of the website which are crucial (SSL, certain anti-hack plug-ins) to further reduce the price. That being the case we now have a scenario where a website can cost 100 - 10,000 pounds, it’s that crazy!

Nobody really knows what to expect and what money they should pay, giving an introduction to many people wanting a website but ultimately failing to understand what will be included, many just want the cheapest option.

For me anyhow, I think I will stay away from much client based work. This is a real problem, to be fair, this lack of understanding is causing real problems and is allowing many people to come on the scene with otherwise would not.

Yes, this is a tricky subject, and I feel sorry for clients who are unwittingly paying for junk websites. There are some laws around, like accessibility standards for government sites, and laws governing protection of data such as credit card info, but on the whole, there is no regulation at all. A website is not like a building that can fall and kill people, but there are all sorts of accessibility issues that are important, which theoretically could result in big problems for people. Ultimately, as the web and its users mature, there will hopefully be a growing recognition of what is good and bad in web design. And just as some people hire an inspector to assess a house before they consider buying it, I’m sure people will get more savvy and start to check out the work of designers before they hire them.

I am glad you see it too.

Unfortunately I don’t feel companies would pay for another web designer to check over the previous guy, and for most businesses paying something for the website was bad enough, as it almost is something they need but ultimately don’t want to give much money on.

Web design so unregulated that even different web designer have their own regulations depending on their experience. Everybody works so differently that if one client would go to 10 different web designers he/she is likely to have a completely different experience. The trouble is, this unregulated field is fueling bad web designer jobs and keeping Cowboy Web Designer going as their customer know nothing about. Where this lack of knowledge is present in a business it’s the law’s job to enforce guidelines on the best way to work. Imagine what would happen if the government did not enforce houses to be build the way they are.

Web design is an educated field which has more than enough scope to cater for such needs. The problem is because it’s unregulated overall we’re seeing houses that could potential kill businesses, and huge price differences, all pointing towards the bad websites in an unregulatted field.

I am thinking of creating some kind of movement to stop this.

A quick search pulls up all sorts of “movements”. None have really caught on, and I can’t say I’ve really heard of any of the ones I saw in the search results.

Nevertheless, there have been great strides in the last few years, such as:

  • Microsoft Front Page has been discontinued.
  • Wordpress and other CMSes are now quite prominent, and templates available in the official CMS pages generally aren’t too bad.
  • Browser compatibility issues have decreased as folks have become more aware that there are other browsers besides IE. Plus, IE9 was released, which offers better CSS2/CSS3 compatibility.
  • HTML5 has risen to prominence, overtaking adobe flash’s media player dominion.
  • Mobile devices have become exceedingly popular, prompting website overhauls to allow websites to display better on mobile browsers.

IMHO, the industry is largely self-correcting.


It’s about pricing for all those things, and this is where most customers fall short of not wanting a website at all, or going to somebody else for a bad job. There are over 5,000 business in my local area, and I can guarantee than over 4,500 have botch jobs, mainly due to the attraction of low prices.

I recently came accross a client who was promoting her business with 4 USD stock business card. Where price falls into the criteria you’d be amazed how low people can go and unfortunately the masses are drown to those low prices. This price is what is drawing havoc with the web design industry.

It’s largerly self correcting as you mentioned, but again, most of those websites you’re seeing aren’t for the individual businesses. The sad truth is those individual businesses aren’t willing to pay enough for anything remotely close to keeping up the standard (template or not).

Well, with low prices, you get what you pay for. This isn’t limited to the web industry.

All you can do is raise awareness.

Guess this holds true, unfortunately some might want to believe what they hear.

to have a successful website we must follow set of rules , standards for making a website and also the guide in making this possible . we don’t have to hire experts in making a websites, we ourselves can do it , just try and believe that we can make things happen :slight_smile: