03 07/2007Damien Buckley Let there be Web Divisions

In response to some interesting demographics emerging from the 2007 A List Apart Web Design Survey, Jeffrey Zeldman calls for dedicated Web Divisions in business. Its a sad reality that most companies large enough to have either I.T. or Marketing departments tend to let them loose on the company’s website with oft ordinary results.

Competent IT departments handle a dazzling array of technical challenges requiring deep, multi-leveled expertise. But tasks such as equipping 20,000 globally dispersed employees with appropriately configured PCs, or maintaining corporate databases and mail gateways, don’t necessarily map to the skills required to design great user experiences for the web.

Whilst we agree with Jeffrey that there are obviously progressive IT and marketing departments that do listen and are concerned about the user experience and accessibility of their websites, they are in a minority and we cringe every time we’re asked to take a look at a website built in house by the ‘IT person’ or we speak to clients who are having their site built by someone’s friend or husband who ‘is in IT, so they know what they’re doing’ or occasionally worse, their ‘graphic designer’. Print is a very different medium to the web and a sliced and diced photoshop comp should surely be handed to a developer, not posted straight to the web?

More often than not we see graphically uninspiring, tedious to use websites backed by fantastically complicated CMS that the end user has no idea how to use. To add insult to injury, the sites themselves are generally built with no semantic markup, use tables for structure rather than appropriately marked up data or even worse employ framesets and inline html styling rather than making use of CSS.

The net result can be a slow, inaccessible, difficult to use website which will no doubt require a full rebuild in order to bring it up to date in a very short time.

I visited an export forum last week and was less surprised to hear that for most Chinese companies’ looking to do business with Australian exporters, the website is the first and often critical point of contact, rather I was amazed at how many of the delegates had been surprised at this fact and as such were now beginning to take their corporate websites seriously.

With websites forming an indisposable and often front-line part of any business today isn’t it high time that web design be respected as the dedicated profession that it is as opposed to the ‘weekend job on the side’ of someone who services PC’s for a living.

You wouldn’t trust your tax return to your mechanic or have your lawyer look after your car brakes. Why would you trust your website to a database or networking engineer?

Like this? Share it!

Recent Projects

  • RedFest 2014


    Read about Propeller’s 2014 responsive reboot of the RedFest website.

  • Into Harmony Health Services

    Into Harmony Health Services

    Into Harmony Health Services are located in Bayside, Brisbane. Melanie Young has been passionate about health and wellness for over 30 years. Following a substantial period of rehabilitation following a car accident and surviving cancer in her late twenties, Melanie has dedicated years of personal development and training to assisting other people with their health challenges.

  • Brown Brothers Engineers

    Brown Brothers Engineers

    Our final website launch of 2013 brings Brown Brothers Engineers to life. Established in New Zealand in 1908 initially specialising in electrical engineering and later diversifying into pump manufacture for domestic and commercial use, Brown Brothers Engineers today employs 140 people in 13 locations throughout Australia and New Zealand.

  • Richmond Fellowship Queensland (RFQ) Annual Report

    Richmond Fellowship Queensland are a community-owned organisation that supports people facing mental health challenges and social disadvantage. This year Propeller were delighted to have the opportunity to work on RFQ’s annual report.

  • OpenSSL (Heartbleed) Advisory for PropellerMail

    OpenSSL is an open source software suite that is used all over the world to encrypt communications over the internet. Heartbleed is the name given to a bug in that software that could allow unencrypted access to that information while it is in server memory.

  • Changes to Email Configuration

    It has come to our attention that previous (and some current) versions of hosting cPanel services have incorrectly displayed email account logins with the following format:

  • Scheduled upgrade of cPanel hosting service

    We are excited to announce that we are now in the final stages of a major cPanel hosting infrastructure upgrade.

Get The Latest!

Subscribe to our free e-newsletter for our latest news and offers - direct to your inbox.