Web programmer or web designer?

By: Evan Scott, Senior Account Manager

Contrary to what many of them will say, most Web site designers are programmers in disguise. They have never gone to school to study design. They don’t know what a focus group is and they will look at you blankly if you ask about the importance of white space

You can tell when programmers are playing designer. They like to develop Web sites with the newest fun tools and gadgets. The question is, will these help the site?

For example, the Flash introduction is particularly bad for site owners because:

  • It takes three years to load.
  • Once you’ve seen it, who wants to see it again?
  • The assumption is that because it’s on your computer, it’s more than/better than a TV ad, which it’s not.
  • It makes the Web site nearly impossible to find.

If no one can find your Web site, does it exist?

This quick checklist can help bring your site to life.

  • Make sure it is integrated with your other marketing materials.
  • Have both a programmer and a designer involved in the process of integrating your site. And be careful.
  • Frames are a site’s worst nightmare. They are like Star Trek cloaking devices. Search engines can’t find you when all of your key information exists in a frame.
  • Applets are cool but should never contain key information that doesn’t appear elsewhere.
  • If you can’t think of ways to use your Web site to help your clients/customers, don’t ask your Web developer to come up with some. Meet with a marketing and strategy person who can evaluate its worth. Remember, marketing dollars ought to work like an investment, not an expense.
  • Make sure you are taking the necessary steps to promote the site. Spend time working on content that explicitly names your services, products and the people/organizations/industries you serve. Get your Web site involved in portal networking.

We know the industry is still in its infancy. That being said, Web site promotion is like a fresh diaper. Making changes to your Web site now may improve how people perceive it.


Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.

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