Whether you are a web designer, or have worked with web design vendors, the web design business has changed immensely over the last few years. Despite major changes in this market, there are several main streams developing, most of which are positive trends for
independent web consultant.
The larger Fortune 500 companies have now devolved most of the responsibility for web work to their internal information
Department of technology (IT).
While marketing continues to have the word, IT will make the most of vendor decisions. This is a shift that can be problematic for web design shops or individual consultants if they traditionally deal with the marketing department and maintain that relationship. Marketing and IT departments have traditionally been at loggerheads in most companies. Many web design firms may not have the technical breadth and depth to become an IT consultant; therefore they never really built a strong relationship with IT. Since they haven’t built this bond, it becomes more difficult to get business from the IT department. However, many independent consultants who move into the web space do have IT backgrounds, and therefore they can easily make the transition to become consultants to the IT dept.
As the web moves beyond the brochureware stage for these clients, as they provide more functionality; they are increasingly interwoven with their legacy system. As they become more connected to business systems, the standard carrier of business systems, IT, becomes more and more involved. As IT becomes more involved, they will tend to turn to the contractors they already employ: usually independent IT
consultants or a larger consulting firm they may already have on board to do other IT consulting work.
Designing Independent Consultant Websites
The web is moving from medium to application. When moving from medium to application, the user experience becomes a part of the application, as opposed to the user experience application. For example, when the web was young, it was more of a medium: similar to TV and radio, that is is not very interactive, and while there is some interactivity, it is usually not interconnected with core business practices. Look and feel, interface, the ultimate user experience is the goal to hit. In some cases, there is a defined task flow that users can follow, but in the early days, users were expected to explore rather than be guided.
Now, as the web has become more than an application, the look and feel is not as strange as helping the user to complete the task at hand, a skill that requires more than proficient graphic design (which helps but not the entire image)
Ad-hoc interface standards have now emerged: there is no need to create new interfaces and taskflows all the time: standard web paradigms have emerged that can and had to be reused in a new design. For example: the product company website should have these standard navigation items: product, support, customer, about us, contact us.
As budgets are tightened, clients no longer see a huge difference between larger web design stores like Scient and Razorfish, companies of 2-5 people, or even independent consultants, working from
Their homes have very low overheads and are able to provide similar services at a lower cost.
Since the big web shops have dissolved into small breakaway shops with the same personnel, these runaway shops have been able to pick up and finish the original shop business unable to settle profitably. In some cases, independent consultants can do the same job at a much lower cost by pulling together
ad-hoc developer team to work on project based projects.
What we are seeing is a web design commodity Experience.
The larger web design companies see a lot of competition from small shops of 2-5 people, or independent contractors, working from their homes, with low overheads and / or offshore resources, be able to compete on price, and steal contracts from the larger web design shops on that basis.
Large companies, facing budget cuts, are no longer interested in dealing solely with name brand companies: A Fortune 500 such as Cisco are just as excited to deal with Brand X Design as they are.
with Razorfish, because when you put the final design side by side, they can’t see the difference for
justifies the expense. Although while usually there are small differences in quality and usability, to the layman, these differences do not present themselves as sufficient added value for the added cost.