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Web Design VS Web Programming

Lots Of Room For Misunderstanding

The different kinds of suppliers in the website building industry have a lot of clients labouring under a serious misconception.

The misconception lies in the term ‘web design’ vs ‘web programming’. Web programming companies serve a great purpose on complex sites with their deep technical knowledge. Though some say they offer ‘design’, they usually know very little about design, branding or other forms of marketing. There is a very simple reason for this – they are web programmers. Their skill sets revolve around the mechanics of making web sites function… period. Web designers skills revolve around design, communication and brand, on and beyond the web.

In the communications business, we see this misconception time and again. A client will come to a branding company like us for a complete branding package, then for some unfathomable reason, choose a web ‘programming’ company to design their web site. These companies plod ahead, trying their best to make things fit, but rarely take the brand into consideration and consequently never get it quite right.

We know this to be true, because in the instances where this has happened to us and other firms we know, clients will call and express their regret at not having allowed us to design the site properly, or even ask us to step in and get things back on track.

Either way it’s never a good situation for the client, the integrity of their brand or their budget.

Branding & Integration

The most important thing to keep in mind about a web site is that it is an integral element of your company’s branding. And branding, as we all know is very much an organic process. It starts with the development of an Essential Message and it grows from there. It grows into corporate identity. It grows into packaging, signage and advertising. It grows into a presence on the Internet through your web site.

In order for all of this growth to be effective and give you the best possible return on investment, there must be synergy between all the elements that comprise your branding. This is why you hire a design firm with knowledge in all areas of brand awareness in the first place.

We become the shepherds of your brand. We nurture it. We are fanatical about establishing and maintaining synergy. And, when it comes to your web site, we make sure that it is designed properly in conjunction with our web programmers to make sure your site is 100% functional.

Don’t Get Us Wrong

We don’t have anything against web programmers. We work with them all the time and take their knowledge into consideration for the design process – we have our own on-site certified programmers. But the simple fact remains that most web programmers, if given the choice, would prefer not to attempt to design a web site, but would much rather work with a good design provided by a designer or design team.

When the programmer is brought into the process early their knowledge of functionality can enhance the design. They can then apply all their skills to the task of programming the web site so that it is easy to navigate, so that any content management functionality they build into the site works properly and that all the bells and whistles they add to the site ring and toot the way they are supposed to.

This is a very important part of the web site development process. But none of it really happens successfully without a creative design that has synergy with the rest of your branding.

Caveat Emptor (May The Buyer Beware)

Regardless of anything I have said here, there will always be companies out there that will claim to offer web design when what they really mean is web programming. That’s just a fact of life in the business world. All we can do is remind you that your marketing efforts and the integrity of your brand will fare better in the long run if you allow one group to shepherd it for you.

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