Are you sure you are a Web Designer? | Web Development Services by Ed Nailor

Are you sure you are a Web Designer?

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Yes, your design looks very nice. I love the style and the look. It is very clear that you have design skills and talent. But, are you sure you are a Web Designer?

I got a great looking website design sent to me for development. Upon first glance, I was really struck by the nice design and overall look. This was a great looking design all in all. However, the devil is certainly in the details, and it became very clear that this designer really does not understand the web.

The PSD file was rife with issues. The very first thing I noticed is that the canvas size was an odd number. Not just some strange size, but at odd number… 1453px to be exact. The background was very specific and once cut out would need to be centered. But how do you center an odd number? On the web, you can’t. There will be a 1px issue somewhere along the way… either to the left, or to the right… and that may vary from browser to browser. So I needed to go in an clean that up… bring the canvas in to an even number and move things around a bit to make sure all the items in the background still worked out as expected.

In the header area, there was a series of photos which would float side by side to create a nice row. However, each photo was a slightly different size, typically 1-2px difference in size. So I needed to go in and make the images consistent in size as the specs called for the images to be replaceable. Having a consistent size allows me to set up for that size in the CMS and eliminates issues for future images. In addition to this, I realized that the 4 images across were not even centered within the PSD! They were off to the left by about 7px. SLOPPY!

Decorative items such as borders were inconsistent. One view has a 20px pattern border located approx 250px down the page. Another view has the same border located 450px down the page, but at 21px height. Yet a 3rd view has this same border located 351px down the page… Seriously?

These are just a few of the issues I have had to deal with on this project.

Look, design skills are one thing. But attention to detail is another. If you are used to print design, you can easily move things around until they simply “look” right. You can indeed center an image that is 251px wide in Photoshop as it allows you to position at fractional pixel places. However, on the web, you can not do this. Knowing the medium your design will be applied to is critical to ensuring your design works!

The extra hour the designer may have saved in just dropping things where they “look good” to the naked eye has caused me an extra 5 hours in programming. Most of the time has been in cleaning up the file so I can even start. The rest has been in ridiculous math calculations to account for a few odd pixels here and there.

So you may call yourself a designer, but if you do not know the medium you are designing for, do not declare yourself to be a designer for that medium. Take a few extra minutes to make sure your design is clean and tight! And if you are not sure what that means, get some time with a developer to talk through some of the basic conventions of the web so you can get a basis for what you do.

Why does this matter? Well let’s assume you are budgeting 20 hours for development. The extra 5 hours in cleaning up and additional issues pushes that to 25. If you can clean that up, with every 4 projects that you save the extra 5 hours, you now save enough time to fully develop a 5th project, keeping that extra money in your pocket! Clean files are profitable files!

Ok, my rant is now over. Time to get back into this project as it still needs to get completed.

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