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First Ever Web Design Survey Results

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the where-the-big-bucks-are-yeh-right dept.

The Internet 170

rainhill writes "In April 2007, A List Apart and An Event Apart conducted a survey of people who make websites. Close to 33,000 web professionals answered the survey's 37 questions, providing the first data ever collected on the business of web design and development (PDF) as practiced in the US and worldwide. Among the findings: over 70% of people in this field earn less than $60K per year. There is little gender bias in salary. And over 70% of Web workers post to a blog; this number shows very little dropoff with age."

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And they made a PDF... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21025443)

Sigh... at least it's not a giant image of text.

Re:And they made a PDF... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21026283)

Sigh... at least it's not a giant image of text.

A giant image of text would load and render a lot faster though!

Re:And they made a PDF... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21026331)

Cute. Seriously though, I *do* really like web design and web technologies. But I can't make the plunge over cause every deal I make the people want something for nothing, and when I worked at a web design firm, it was an extra $100 bucks to make another page that matched the template and changed a little text. But you either gotta rip them off or do it for free, nothing in the middle that would benefit the designer and client. Very frustrating, also I would need someone to bounce ideas off of, or have one guy find the jobs and the other guy do the job, I get burned out doing both.

Re:And they made a PDF... (0, Troll)

fishdan (569872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026625)

Seriously! As soon as I saw it was a PDF -- posted to the web, I thought "AHA -- It's a poll of shitty web developers. That explains a lot."

And lot's not forget, it's not just a PDF -- it's a friggin' 84 page PDF. In tribute to this stupidity, I am going to follow it up by printing off copies and bringing them to my local /. anniversary party [slashdot.org] for everyone.

Re:And they made a PDF... (4, Informative)

ploafmaster general (920649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027847)

I never thought I'd say this, but R T F A. I know the post didn't link to the article itself, but I think we're all intelligent enough to go up a level or two in the URL to see the article itself.

Immediately below the download button you see:
"Findings From the Web Design Survey (1.6 MB PDF)"

I don't think 1.6 MB is too huge for us nerdy Slash-dotters with our high speed connections, especially when we've been warned. And I don't think any reader here can justify clicking the link without first knowing what file type it is.

Additional details about the PDF choice:
"Note: This PDF has been tagged for accessibility, however the graphics representing the complex charts do not yet have equivalents. An updated document will be available soon."

Anyway, they have the raw data available as well in multiple formats (with sizes indicated) so you can avoid charts if you want.

Sheesh.

Re:And they made a PDF... (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028665)

bah... the could have used SVGs for the graphs... At least that's what all the cool web developers use.

Re:And they made a PDF... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21028907)

In my day, we used characters for charts:

Option 1: @@@@@
Option 2: @@@@@@@@@@@@
Option 3: @@

That's beautiful, and don't ask me to draw you a pie chart, because I will.

teabagging (verb) (0, Troll)

Fruity McGayGay (1005769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025517)

Teabagging is a slang term for the act of a man placing his testicles, specifically the scrotum, in the mouth[1] or face of another person, often in a repeated in-and-out motion.[2] The practice vaguely resembles dipping a tea bag into a cup of tea[3][4][5][6] and can be combined with facesitting.

It is a relatively safe sexual act, and the risk of sexually transmitted diseases being spread as a result of teabagging is minimal.[6] However, along with other acts (such as the "turkey slap", in which the penis is used instead of the testicles) involving the placing of the genitals in the general face area, it is often done more for the purpose of humiliation and degradation than for sexual gratification, and in this way is distinct from oral sex in general.[citation needed]John Waters claims to have invented the practice, or at least the concept, in his movie Pecker, as a joke, and to have been surprised to learn that people now actually did it.

The practice of teabagging can extend not only from dipping one's testicles into the mouth of another individual, but also to placing the scrotum into someone's eye sockets or nose, often as a punishment for their drunkenness, especially when carried out while the other person is unconscious, known colloquially as Russian goggles.[7] When carried out as a prank, it can be a crime as a form of sexual assault, which has led to at least one arrest.[8] An example of such teabagging is shown in the movie Pecker by John Waters,[9][10][11] which showed a male stripper repeatedly striking a man's forehead, and purportedly introduced the practice of teabagging to a wider audience.[10]

First ever?! (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025521)

Nobody has done a survey of web designers since 1994? Bull-shit.

Includes the whole group?! (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026009)

This was a reasonably representative survey of all web designers? Bull-shit.

Re:Includes the whole group?! (2, Informative)

codeshack (753630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026261)

Probably it's not a bad sample. I don't trust any web designer that doesn't read A List Apart -- it's pretty much the creme de la web design sources, both in terms of style, technique, and best practices. My old boss used to mandate it.

And yes, I am a shill. But they have taught me many clever things, and turned me into a CSS Nazi to boot. And I filled out the survey way back when it started (feels like awhile).

Re:Includes the whole group?! (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026809)

If you RTFS(urvey) it's a survey of a wide range of job types.

Re:Includes the whole group?! (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026899)

In fact, just realised the title is "First Ever Web Design Survey Results", Not Web Designer

Re:First ever?! (2, Informative)

The_Crowder (946902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028465)

Yeah, the title of this headline is completely misleading. The Usability Professionals' Association has been surveying professionals for several years. Go to their homepage [upassoc.org] and under News is the results (pdf warning) [upassoc.org] for the 2005 survey. Are these two surveys different? Yes. My point is that the title of this headline is completely misleading.

Bias? (4, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025553)

There is little gender bias in salary.
It would be better to say that there is little difference in salary; 'bias' has negative connotations of unfairness. As research in this area shows, it is hard to pinpoint which salary differences are actually discriminatory and which are not, but reflect objective factors (amount of hours worked, etc. etc.).

I don't mean to start an offtopic discussion, just wanted to point out that the choice of word there might bait people.

Re:Bias? (-1, Troll)

aaaaa1111111111 (1108545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025753)

By outward appearance it was a normal-looking truck. Inside, things were much different. Each side of the inner walls had a "stall" with various forms of restraint available. An open aisle that ran the length of the 18-wheeler divided each side. As the truck pulled up to the school, a group of armed men from a smaller van jumped out and took control. The one in command hand-picked a number of boys and girls ranging in age from 9 to 14. These children were led to the back of the trailer where they were forced to enter one by one. Once in, the processing began. 10 stalls were available on both sides. On the left went the boys. On the right, the girls. Each child was asked their age, which was then marked on a chart. They were forced to strip naked and were then made to enter a stall. Each stall had adjustable steel rods sticking out about a foot from the wall. Each rod had a cuff which was locked into place around the child's throat, upper arms, wrists, upper chest, knees and ankles. Once attached, they could barely move except for a bit around the pelvic region. Gags were next. The boys received ball-gags, as big as they could possibly stand, strapped viciously tight in their mouths. The girls were gagged with monstrous penis-shaped prods that went deep into their young throats. Not used to it, a lot of retching, hacking, and choking went on but that was all but ignored by the captors. The Boys: In order to get them used to rectal penetration, the boys were fitted with lubricated ass prods designed to rape them. The prods were eclectically powered and not only vibrated, but slid in and out in a constant motion. However, they were set up to never completely leave the hole, so even on the out stroke, at least a few inches remained inside. As one can imagine this created quite a commotion amongst the boys, none of whom had ever been raped. Bound as they were however, the boys were helpless to stop the slick prods from entering their virgin ass-holes. The prods had another effect as well. The constant pressure gave them all stiff penises. The captors made sure these did not go to waste. Rubber suction cups, sized to snuggly fit each boy's penis, were strapped on. These cups not only vibrated and suckled, inside of each was a second, smaller, lubricated "ring" that moved rhythmically up and down the length of the shaft, stopping occasionally at the head to frig that particularly sensitive area. Needless to say, the youngsters came within minutes. Sensors inside the cups could tell when a boy was cuming. The ass plug would swell and jab as deeply as possible to stimulate the prostrate. In addition, the cup immediately tightened it's grip and the inner ring sped up considerably, concentrating on the penis head. There are few areas more sensitive than the head of a male penis during orgasm, and this action provoked a very intense cum. It was amusing to watch the boy's reactions and to hear them grunt and moan as their little penises were milked. For many of them, it was the first time they'd cummed. While awake anyway. Having just experienced the most intense pleasure they had ever felt, most of the boys were wondering if this captivity thing was such a bad deal after all. That quickly changed as they noticed the invading plugs stayed firmly in place, and that they had only a minute's rest before the whole milking process started again. With each successive cum, their penises got more and more sensitive and what had started out as pleasure soon gave way to intense discomfort. Before long, the boys were bucking their hips trying desperately to expel the invading plod and to get the milking devices off their sore little cocks. None succeeded. The Girls: All the gags had small holes that could be fitted with hoses. For the boys this got them a nutritious mixture of water and other fluids in order to keep them hydrated and healthy. For the girls, it was different. Oh, they received water as well, but the captors did not let all that cum the boys were producing go to waste. It was also fed the girls as rich source of protein and to get them used to the taste. The girls were not allowed to go barefooted like the boys. They were placed in 4-inch stiletto heels so as to get used to wearing them. Later on, their new owners would most certainly make them wear 5-inch or higher heels all the time. They were fitted with the same powered ass-plugs. Naturally, larger, longer, vaginal plugs were used as well. They also placed vibrating butterfly clips on the girl's little clits and nipples. It took a bit longer, but eventually all the females were writhing about and moaning as waves of orgasmic pleasure surged thru them. As a change of pace, later on the clips would be removed and suction cups placed on them instead. These cups had something akin to a human tongue inside that constantly lapped and suckled on their little nipples and clitties. One of the captors, a very attractive female, went to each child and gently stroked their faces and kissed them on the forehead as a way of soothing them. In reality, she had no feelings for them at all, she was simply getting close enough to gauge their progress and potential. They were merely property. Property to be sold for a huge profit. She knew their fate. Most of the males would be sold to old men who lusted after young boys. They would be kept chained and gagged most of the time except when forced to give head. Anal rape would be a daily thing. Once they reached a certain age, they would lose their youthful charm and simply be... eliminated. One, perhaps two, of them would be sold to women who would force them to lick their cunts all the time. They would be made to wear cuckhold devices and never be allowed to cum. Some would be castrated. With rare exceptions, the girls all went to men. They would be forced to wear provocative outfits, or nothing at all. Made to wear the highest of heels. They would be kept brutally gagged almost all the time. If not gagged with something, the girls would usually have a cock in their mouths. Cum would be their meal on most days. They would be given little extra to eat in order to keep them thin. Some would be forced to undergo surgery. Bigger lips. Bigger breasts. Sometimes, huge breasts. Nothing quite like a 10-year-old with pouty lips and double-D cups. Most wouldn't make it to adulthood. Those that did generally got resold to the truly demented who then tortured them. The captors looked around at their writhing, moaning, children and began thinking about next week's job...

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21025847)

I don't see how you can be offended when the statement doesn't specify which gender has the lower salary.

Re:Bias? (2, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026509)

I wasn't offended, and everything I said is true regardless of which gender has the lower salary.

Re:Bias? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026243)

Well there's really no other explaination except bias, is there? Salary workers don't get paid overtime; even if some due, when asked what their salary is, they woudl give the amount excluding any salary, because overtime may or may not be there.

Given 100 people, half men, half women, I would expect that they have the same distribution of salaries.

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21026665)

Unless of course the women were not as qualified or talented on average, because like it or not women and men are different. Whether these differences are cultural or genetic doesn't matter. Those don't reflect bias at all. Stop trying to see sexism behind every disparity.

Re:Bias? (5, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027135)

Salaried workers don't get paid overtime, but they get paid for overtime in the form of bonuses and salary raises that reflect on the perceived or real performance that results from extra hours worked.

If you have a man who works 50 hours, and a woman who works 40 hours all year, and the man is 10% more productive as a result of his 25% longer hours, which are you more likely to reward with a larger raise?

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21027911)

If you have a man who works 50 hours, and a woman who works 40 hours all year, and the man is 10% more productive as a result of his 25% longer hours, which are you more likely to reward with a larger raise?

I don't know what kind of company you work for, but my company doesn't reward you for having to work overtime. They say thanks for the free labor. And I work for a very, very, very large corporation.

Re:Bias? (2, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028269)

How does that very large company decide who to promote?

I've only worked for small and medium size companies so far (< 1k employees). So I don't know how the big companies do it, but all the (5) companies i've worked for decided raises and promotions based on performance and networking, both of which you can do better if you work a few extra hours.

Re:Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029333)

How does that very large company decide who to promote?

Large companies have a fast track executive program that makes you eligible for promotion. If you aren't in the program forget about it; you do better by applying for the title you want at a different company and going there. Then if you really like you former company, you apply for the position from outside. Large companies always like to hire from outside, but they expect the prospective employees to have experience in the business, and the industry. That is acquired by job-hopping.

Otherwise its 4% baby.

Re:Bias? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028627)

Salaried workers don't get paid overtime, but they get paid for overtime in the form of bonuses and salary raises that reflect on the perceived or real performance that results from extra hours worked.

Which doesn't affect this survey in the slightest, because again, I would think you'd respond with your ACTUAL salary, not including bonuses and such.

If you have a man who works 50 hours, and a woman who works 40 hours all year, and the man is 10% more productive as a result of his 25% longer hours, which are you more likely to reward with a larger raise?

You act as if there's a solid metric to measure productivity. There's not, so your question is flawed right at the start.

Re:Bias? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028791)

I'm fairly sure that salary raises do in fact impact salary.

And for productivity, there are metrics in many areas. Web design may not be one, I don't know, I'm not in web design. Even if there are not precise measures, there may yet be ways that management can reasonably gauge performance (peer review, supervisor review, blind code review, etc).

Re:Bias? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028875)

Raises do, yes. But again, unless there is some bias going on, women should get about the same amount in raises. Contrary to what some may think, women do work as hard and as long as men.

As for productivity, peer reviews don't measure how productive you are. What's a good measure? How many pages you can get done? How many graphics sliced? Those are no good, as you need quality as well. How do you quantify quality? How many times you are asked to redo a graphic?

Code reviews also don't point out how productive you are; they mearely measure quality of code.

What do you have to back up that assertion? (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029273)

I find it entirely plausible that women, when averaged across a reasonably sized population, do less work for employers than men. Don't you think it's reasonable to conclude that women, in general, take more time to care for children?

Re:Bias? (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027431)

Given 100 people, half men, half women, I would expect that they have the same distribution of salaries.


Assuming salaries are fixed, yes. But most salaries are negotiable -- and it has been shown that women generally wind up with worse deals from negotiations than men do. Whether that is because of cultural issues (women taught not to be assertive, others thinking they can always talk a woman down and therefore pushing harder) or not is a totally separate question from whether actual bias exists in salary offers.

Re:Bias? (4, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026711)

I don't mean to start an offtopic discussion

You may turn that into one that is completely on topic by mentioning that their use of the term 'bias' might shine a light on the overall quality of their research on the basis of a self-selecting sample, which they are not shy to advertise to give a 'true' picture, which again shows that they do no less than nothing about statistics based research. They don't even come to a conclusive result regarding the count of items their questionnaire might have, 36 or 37 (here http://www.alistapart.com/articles/webdesignsurvey [alistapart.com] — does not matter, just a fence-post error.

However, the meta-result to me is that they again expose themselves as half-educated and overhyped. Yes, I do not particularly like them, along with Dash, Pirillo, ... you name them.

CC.

Re:Bias? (1)

CraniumDesigns (1113153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026887)

i would have like to see it broken up for part time freelancers and full timers like me. i think the part timers bring down the salary ranges significantly. i didn't see anything addressing the differences in salary between part time and full time. ranges in san francisco where i work are a bit higher than what i'm seeing there.

Good design also has to look good (4, Interesting)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025699)

A few years ago, I worked for the head of a major University computer science department in the UK. I was in charge of building the web page for our research project. My boss told me "whatever you do, my main preference in all these things is that it hast to look good."

For inspiration, I visited the home-page of this arch aesthete. I discovered that his page, entirely in an overlarge Times font, used big thick-bordered frames (with scroll bars) a fantastically pixellated jpg of him and big flashing "new!" buttons next to various bits of the page.

Somehow, I managed not to laugh next time I discussed the page with him.

Re:Good design also has to look good (3, Insightful)

Stamen (745223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025887)

Style is a subtle thing, very subtle. A lot of people, simply can't distinguish good from bad. Really awesome design looks like anyone could of created it in 5 minutes; which of course they can't, but that's the genius of it.

For me it's music, I don't hear in a very wide range (so say my hearing tests), and I exasperate my co-worker, who is an audiophile, because I simply can't hear the difference, like he can. The "horrible" pop music, with terrible range, sounds the same as "good" music to me.

Re:Good design also has to look good (2, Interesting)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025987)

I am glad that the people who make scam web pages and garbage sites have no design sense and give themselves away quickly. THIS IS NOT A SCAM is the best indicator ever! Especially when it is in large, bold, blinking red text!

Re:Good design also has to look good (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026401)

And a lot of people can't distinguish good and bad, but like me when it comes to design something, it WILL be bad even for them. Let's face it, most people can't design just like most people can't program (I think often it's only one of those two skills).

Re:Good design also has to look good (1)

Stamen (745223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028945)

I think often it's only one of those two skills
I completely disagree. I think most programmers just aren't interested in design and have spent all of 20 minutes, or less, thinking about it. If someone spent 20 minutes learning how to program, they'd hardly be any good at it.

What makes beautiful code --code that is simple yet complete, powerful yet flexible-- is the exact same things that makes beautiful design. I believe that "beauty" is an intrinsic truth of the universe; wether mathematical, musical, or visual. If you are creating, no matter what the creation, the same process applies in your quest to reach beauty.

Much if visual design is algorithmic. Very simply rules one can apply to anything they are laying out. Saying "I'm a programmer and not artistic" is just an excuse for laziness. The least artistic programmer in the world can learn some basic rules, and produce design that is 80% perfect. If they studied hard, they could do better than that, but 80% is a huge improvement over what most people create.

Re:Good design also has to look good (1)

Pingmaster (1049548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026043)

Not surprising, I've come across alot of people who could tell you what looks good on a website, but lack either the technical or creative ability to produce it themselves.

Re:Good design also has to look good (5, Insightful)

brainproxy (654715) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026879)

It makes sense that if he could not create a "stylish" page, he hired a professional web designer, (guessing you).

You should give him the benefit of the doubt. A lot of art critics are not, themselves, artists.

Sounds like he knew of this deficit an gave you the job.

Very interesting.... (0, Redundant)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025733)

I really like web design and web technologies. But I can't make the plunge over cause every deal I make the people want something for nothing, and when I worked at a web design firm, it was an extra $100 bucks to make another page that matched the template and changed a little text. But you either gotta rip them off or do it for free, nothing in the middle that would benefit the designer and client. Very frustrating, also I would need someone to bounce ideas off of, or have one guy find the jobs and the other guy do the job, I get burned out doing both.

Surprised? Not really. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21025769)

~$60k/year or less sounds quite about right. Web design isn't rocket science.

People who don't suck at graphic design are a dime a dozen. People who can chop up a PSD and write valid XHTML are a dime a dozen. People who can apply cheap hacks to make it work in Internet Explorer are slightly more expensive at a quarter a dozen, but that's still damned cheap.

The real money's in development of all this fancy Web 2.0 Ajaxy crap, web-based services, et cetera. Bit more involved than mere 'web design'.

'sides, $60k/year might blow if you live in Silicon Valley. Elsewhere.. Well, hell, I don't make $60k/year, and I am as a King to the peasants of my area. ('course, I got out of web design; Paul H. Muad'dib, what boring and trivial work.)

Wrong survey (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025807)

A web design survey? I thought they were going to be asking web users how they felt about various web designs. That would be a survey I'd really like to see happen. Maybe us users could communicate to the designers exactly how we feel about their designs. Maybe they could ask how many web users like it when a website takes over the windowing functions your browser should be managing. If I want to open a link in a new window, I'll do it myself TYVM. Or maybe they could ask how users feel about being tied to flash based in browser media players, instead of getting an old fashioned .avi to download. This is the kind of web design survey we really need.

Re:Wrong survey (1)

gmacd (181857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026263)

Turn your pop up blocker off. You'll see that there are too many of these surveys out there already.

Now if you're looking for intelligent aggregation, summaries and publication of data from these surveys that is rarer.

Re:Wrong survey (1)

The Queen (56621) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026341)

You're still assuming that the people who are PAYING for the websites to be built really care about (or have the capacity to understand) what the users would like. Even now, with all the research and data available for us designers to argue with for simplicity and usability, the folks who sign the check want what they want and as long as I need to pay rent, they'll get it.

That said, I've talked many, many clients out of building a site entirely in Flash - and they promptly found another designer.

Re:Wrong survey (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027569)

As a newly graduated web designer, I completely agree. All I've seen so far is that some myspace pages are horrible and take forever to load, other sites where their navigation bars change based on the page, and other minor things here and there that aren't too happy. I'd assume you want a page to load quickly, be easy to navigate, and look good. However the look good part seems to be subjective. I've noticed a lot more sites are becoming static, instead of dynamic, because it's the easiest way to obtain cross browser support. But I'm a fan of the dynamic pages that fill the pages based on how big your window is. It'd be great to get an over all idea of what people like and dislike with site design.

Re:Wrong survey (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028563)

I've noticed a lot more sites are becoming static, instead of dynamic, because it's the easiest way to obtain cross browser support.

What does server side dynamic pages (PHP, etc) have to do with cross browser support? You can dynamically generate the exact same content you host statically, it just takes more processing power on the server.

But I'm a fan of the dynamic pages that fill the pages based on how big your window is.

A proper web browser will reflow the text on any web page static or dynamic. In fact a web designer has to go out of their way to break that behavior by specifying the dimensions of their boxes in pixels.

Re:Wrong survey (1)

Bobb Sledd (307434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028937)

All right let me explain a few things about web design and what "customers" actually want.

Now I know and you know what users want as far as usability, and that's all fine and dandy. But I honestly don't care all that much about you as a user. I mean beyond the fact that I can reasonably be sure that you're seeing my page as I intended you to see it. See, you and your weird-browser-configurations don't pay my salary. My client does. And my client wants a web page that looks like a page from a magazine, and looks pretty much the same on 90% of the machines looking at it. They don't want me to spend a lot of time checking for web-safe colors, making sure everything is ISO compliant, that the code is W3C compliant, coding everything using CSS instead of tables... that crap doesn't generally make me money.

Understand that I am making a generalization.

So what's the problem? With a web page, you have statically-sized images in terms of pixels, but you have scalable text. Those two don't mix easily as far as format goes.

So I'm forced to make a decision: If the text is inherent to the design, then I'm going to make the text be an image; otherwise it is going to ruin the visual effect.

I can spend all day breaking up my design in Photoshop and trying to make everything so that when you resize the browser it stretches the content to fit. Great. But my client doesn't really care about that, and there's a point to what they are willing to pay for.

So am I going to spend all day doing that if I don't get another dime for it? Or am I going to make something that my customer is generally happy with and move on to get more projects?

Yeah. Most of this crap is like building sand-castles for a living anyway. Very temporary things.

Here's my suggestion to a partial solution: Let EVERYTHING be scalable. As a user, if I want to make the font bigger, fine--let it be bigger, but then make EVERY object bigger by the same factor.

Re:Wrong survey (2, Interesting)

Womens Shoes (1175311) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027649)

A survey might not give accurate results because what people say they like is not always what they respond to. There's a pretty great presentation by Malcolm Gladwell [ted.com] about this.

For example, everyone says they dislike blue underlined links. But in my (admittedly anecdotal) experience there is no better way to let a user know where to click.

So I'd like to see the data you're looking for too... but I bet a test vs. a survey would yield very different results.

Re:Wrong survey (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028325)

I love blue underlined links.

Re:Wrong survey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21028437)

Ah, but I don't suppose you've got a fancy title like "Front-end Ergonomics Guru" or "Streaming Media 2.0 Connoisseur", now do you? People that do know what works best for you, even better than you as a user do.

Re:Wrong survey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029469)

I'm a professional interaction designer. I have a university education in HCI, I've been practicing since 2000, and for the past 5 years I've worked at a large software multinational as an interface designer. I work within a group of over a hundred designers and usability testers & have designed a very broad range of software.

The problem with user interface and experience is very rarely lack of talent from a trained designer. Honestly, making good design decisions is not terribly difficult; worse comes to worst, you follow the conventions and people will probably get what you're doing, even if it's not a very inspired design.

It's also not for a lack of surveys. The field of Human Computer Interaction knows a lot about how people behave with current technology, and there are lots of usability analysts / usability researchers / usability testers who continually provide good data about how people behave with any particular interface. Any good designer will tell you that they love working with a researcher, because it inspires good and usable design. Anyone who's trained in HCI takes it as a hippocratic oath of sorts: the software serves the people; you are not the user; and users are not dumb, they just have better things to do with their time than figure out YOUR stupid interface.

That's the theory, anyway. In many cases, when tortured designs have come out of my company, it's not because the designer was an idiot. It's because the VPs wanted this feature or that, or the product manager decided that if people can't figure it out they shouldn't use the site and we're not going to listen to the results of usability tests, or because a couple of the engineers couldn't be bothered to fix the UI bugs assigned to them. I'm not saying that bad designers don't exist, but the reason that bad design gets deployed often has a lot more to do with bad software process and a lack of caring about user experience than it has to do with lack of data or lack of design skill.

Glad it's not a profession that I chose (1)

jonnyj (1011131) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025823)

I know the average age of the respondents is pretty young, but those salaries are shockingly low.

Re:Glad it's not a profession that I chose (0, Redundant)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025913)

It is rather low, the web firm that I worked for, hired teenagers and washed out mainframe programmers that picked up HTML and CSS, and they only paid us $12 an hour, but the PHP programmers made like $18/hr....yeah pretty low. I do a tech support job now and hardly do anything compared to when I was at the design firm and I get $18/hr here, and I can do homework and manage my music in iTunes (a annoying feat that takes lots of time, but I gotta do it to use it on my iPhone) I figured striking out on my own would make me a lot of money since I would charge less and do more, but it seems that unless you are in a firm they don't want to pay you at all!

Re:Glad it's not a profession that I chose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21026271)

manage my music in iTunes (a annoying feat that takes lots of time, but I gotta do it to use it on my iPhone)

So you bought an iPhone in part for the convenience of taking your music anywhere, but that requires that you spend so much time organizing your music library that you have to do it at work, too?

Clue to "shockingly low" salaries (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026101)

...providing the first data ever collected on the business of web design and development (PDF) as practiced in the US and worldwide
Were this study of US workers alone, then yes, it does seem low. However, there is likely some skew from India and India-like workers. No I did not RTFA.

45k in california, man. (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026947)

I live in a metro area of California, have a B.A. from the UC, am in my mid-20s with no kids/wife/mortgage, have been building web sites and learning web technology for 10 years, give or take, and am one of the more sociable, agreeable nerds I know. I have 5 years of hands-on LAMP/js/css/Flash/AS experience (as in, got paid to do some work for someone)

I make $45k.

At least it's up from my first post-college job at Clear Channel Radio -- that was $43k.

The problem is the guy right above me in the reply thread: the people who decide salaries think web "design" isn't hard. Everyone knows a kid down the street who builds web sites. So you take a job doing something you like and make just enough to stay afloat and take your girl to a movie once a month, or you rage against the machine and let the next starving college kid come in and take that money.

Whatever.

Re:45k in california, man. (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028019)

I would like to see a wage breakdown by geographical area. Frankly, I don't know how anyone in a California metro area gets by. If the reference to those who "think web 'design' isn't hard" was aimed at me, I didn't mean to imply any such thing. I hate to see those who can produce static pages in Dreamweaver be thought of as web designers.

Low? 60k for web design? (0, Troll)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026487)

Maybe if your in downtown New York but outside of that, sorry web design is not nearly as difficult as many make it out to be. Some of the cumbersome tools and even client requirements can make it work - but its not like writing the back end that serves these pages or runs the business.

I can lay my hands on four "web desinger professionals" here and frankly I wouldn't let them touch anything but web pages. Web pages are not critical. What does amaze me is how long they can take to deliver certain changes, the only thing slower are C++ programmers on our pc based servers.

60K low? Yeah, if they were a C++ programmer or programmer in a real language on a mini or mainframe.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (4, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026693)

Whoa there, cowboy. I see by your UID that you're probably an old-timer, so let me explain to you how things work now-a-days.

sorry web design is not nearly as difficult as many make it out to be.
Making a web page for your mom's cat? Sure, not a difficult thing. Creating slashcode? Drupal development? SQL architecture? That's worth more than $60k.

"Web pages are not critical", are you for real? You might not have seen this, but sites like MySpace, Friendster, et. al. are making more money than many "real" programs on "mainframes".

zomg, I think I just got trolled. I tip my hat to you, sir.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (3, Informative)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027055)

I don't think you understand what "web design" is. A web designer doesn't go near a sql server.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21027613)

some people use the term inter changeably. I've seen it applied to that in a job description and even ask for C++ and Sql Server. To which I had to let the recruiter know they wanted a developer and NOT a designer. Still MVC in the web world is a hard concept to come by; I find very few professional web devs who are familiar with this concept and can use it in a LAMP environment mainly due to the fact that Zend, Cake and the other MVC tools out there are severely clunky and slow and come across more like toolkits than frameworks.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027223)

If you're designing sql architecture, that's not web design in the conventional sense, and I doubt that is who they are considering in this salary survey. Our sql architects make 150k+. Our web designers make a lot less.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028099)

$150k+ for "get" and "select" statements? Dude your way overpaying. I'm hoping by "sql architects" you actually mean "master web designer who works 12 hours a day constantly adding features and ensuring the servers are always up even if they get knocked down at 1 am and makes a massive spread-out database work fast with underpowered hardware" because it isn't that hard to write database queries. They teach it as a 3 hour class to hung-over business majors dude.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028227)

I'm not talking about get and select, that's sql development, not sql architecture.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (1)

NickFitz (5849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027507)

I see by your UID that you're probably an old-timer

243324? He's a young whippersnapper.

He certainly talks rubbish, but that's due to severe intellectual deficiency, not age: note such warning signs as the use of "your" instead of "you're", misuse or non-use of commas, "its" instead of "it's", "desinger" instead of "designer", complete lack of understanding of any technology whatsoever...

I diagnose a low-grade troll, but his gross stupidity isn't due to being an old-timer; he was born with it.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027955)

Creating slashcode? Drupal development? SQL architecture? That's worth more than $60k.


$65k maybe.... but not a nickel over!

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (1)

Chineseyes (691744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026723)

Yeah, if they were a C++ programmer or programmer in a real language on a mini or mainframe I love when people talk about real languages. Please define what a real language is. I am not a web developer in fact I all of the work I have ever done was c, c++, backend php development, and some php internals. We are rapidly approaching a point where a very large percentage of applications will be able to be written in scripting languages (BE AFRAID!!) because of the amount of system resources available to the average person. Is this a good thing? I don't know, but at some point writing applications in the real languages isn't going to make economic sense.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (2, Interesting)

butterwise (862336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027449)

The reason it seems low is because not many people are solely "designers" any more, and more often than not are asked to bridge over between design and development. I count myself among those ranks, and while I may not be the world's greatest PHP/MySQL developer, I know my way around the code and can solve a lot of the problems that a "developer" might normally be asked to tackle, leaving them to go after the big fish. I don't just create designs, chop up PSD and write HTML.

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (2, Informative)

timoni (1175927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027555)

I work in SF as a web/UI designer and I make more than $60K. There's a huge scale in terms of website quality, front-end and backend, and you usually get what you pay for. (BTW I think you're underpaid.)

Re:Low? 60k for web design? (3, Interesting)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029099)

sorry web design is not nearly as difficult as many make it out to be. Some of the cumbersome tools and even client requirements can make it work - but its not like writing the back end that serves these pages or runs the business.
I've done both: server work and front end web design. The difficult part of server work is usually integration with other systems as well as designing for performance. There are two back-ends: the internal architecture that encompasses your database, support scripts, and custom server code, and then there is the CGI layer, which queries and formats the data for presentation. The easy part of back-end work is with CGI scripts, which is the link between the real back-end and the front-end (browser). Writing CGI scripts to serve those pages is stupid simple, usually performed by junior developers, so it's not like all back-end work is touchable only by the resident genius guru.

Your insulting comment is correct in that parts of web design work is easy. Processing images, slicing pages, and uploading them is quite easy, but so is writing a CGI form that gathers a user's information and inserts a record into a database. The difficult part of web design is with managing the information architecture of the site, integrating various applications and their project files, as well as dealing with browser and CSS idiosyncrasies. Those aspects are similar to database architecture, systems integration and project files, and dealing with operating system and language idiosyncracies. It's not surprising to me that the difficult parts of both happen to be logically very similar.

The reason web designers are paid less is due to the fact it's a creative and desirable job, so more people are going to apply. It's also a field in which your portfolio makes or breaks you. You are judged quite heavily on the visual quality of your work. Producing visually stunning output, does does not mean you're a HTML/CSS/Javascript god. The problem with this scale of judgment is that it's based on what a manager sees. You and management see a nice illustration and you drastically under-estimate how time consuming creating that illustration can be. Of course, you don't try to reproduce it yourself and find out, but you judge anyway.

Software developers are judged with a different scale, which is generally work experience and education level. You aren't judged by the quality of your code*. You get to hide behind the cloak of mystery, safe in the knowledge management will never see or understand your work. Management only sees whether your product performs the task it's supposed to do or not. It could be an architectural nightmare slapped together with a fragile hodge-podge non-framework--a spaghetti code mess. But, do you lose income if you produce such a colossal piece of shit? No. You get a raise because you "optimized" a query to return results back in 2 seconds instead of the 10 seconds as before.

Web pages are not critical.
Which, you posted using a web page. Irrelevant, but funny.

What does amaze me is how long they can take to deliver certain changes, the only thing slower are C++ programmers on our pc based servers.
Maintenance changes to the back-end often follows along the lines of adding a new column or table to the database, so it's not like those changes you make are all that complicated to begin with.

60K low? Yeah, if they were a C++ programmer or programmer in a real language on a mini or mainframe.
Difficulty is relevant. If you're a mainframe developer, you are expected to know your trade. Lots of people can't do what you can do; accountants, lawyers, salesman, delivery boys, etc. Big deal. I know what you do is not that difficult. I've done work in assembler and writing network server processes that many consider "difficult", but in truth it wasn't. Knowing how to do it doesn't make me smarter than a web designer. It's just my trade and I'm expected to know it.

You sound very similar to developers I've known. They bought into the whole "programmer god" mentality and measured everyone's worth by how good their computer skills were, or more specifically how good their C++ skills were. Every employee brings some sort of value to the company. Salaries are influenced more by supply and demand than anything else, and developers are far from being the highest paid (most important) type of employee. Playing the judgment game and putting down web designers is not a professional attitude, in my opinion.


* Peers don't set your salary. Your manager does.

Re:Glad it's not a profession that I chose (1)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027315)

I know lots of people who are independent web developers, and they pick and choose their clients not for the high pay, but for interest in their field (non profits, politics, small business, etc). As well, as an independent you can write off a lot of your expenses, so $60k translates to much more. Finally, you get a lot more freedom, which sometimes leads to not working all the time.

In other news... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21025907)

...there are 33,000 web professionals.

I thought that, for many people, it was very much an "on the side" activity.

Re:In other news... (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026383)

yeah, that is what it has always been for me, though if four or five guys that do this got together, then you might be able to start a business...

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21027993)

Sure, I thought so too, until I got hired at the #1 web development company in my city/region and make a decent wage doing that, with no post-high-school education. Worked out well for me, so far... ;) So much for the whole bullshit idea that you have to enslave yourself to the education system in order to survive (as teachers and schools always seemed to convey to students as I was growing up)...

Eh, what Front Page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21025935)

You can get more than $60K a year for that skill?

Re:Eh, what Front Page (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026279)

I think that for just a plain jane web page, no, and people who like frontpage have crap for code, and I have noticed that NVU keeps shuffling my code around. But I think that if you know XML, and to parse data to and from RSS feeds, blog and a slue of other online technologies or formats, you can make a lot of money......marketing, not webdesign. It is my opinion that some of the most functional and well like sites are not eye candy, but actually have a reason to be visited other then to give the creator of the site money from his obnoxious ads...(cough--myspace--cough).

Oblig. web design site. (2, Funny)

jackpot777 (1159971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025937)

I occasionally take a look at Web Pages That Suck [webpagesthatsuck.com] to get a feel for what NOT to do.

In summary: don't be doing this [hrodc.com] . It's not big, and it's not clever.

Re:Oblig. web design site. (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026365)

In summary: don't be doing this. It's not big, and it's not clever.
Holy crap, that is revolting.

Re:Oblig. web design site. (1)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026671)

Holy crap.

That page is a GREAT example to use when showing how poorly Firefox is threaded. (or how shitty Gecko is, or both)

Re:Oblig. web design site. (1)

fishdan (569872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026851)

ok I'll bite, what does that show about FF threading model? Rendered in 5.13 secs on my gaming machine in FF 2.0.0.7 and 9 secs in IE7? I don't mean this as a slam -- if you've got knowledge, please dish.

Re:Oblig. web design site. (1)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026905)

Holy crap.

It's the mother that spawned MySpace!

Re:Oblig. web design site. (1)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026919)

In summary: don't be doing this [hrodc.com] .

I clicked on that link and all I can say is:

OWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

MOD PARENT DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21029271)

for posting this. [slashdot.org]


Moderators, let's make this asshole's subscription worthless by ruining his karma. I'm a metamoderator and I've always let things like this slide- and I know I'm not the only one ;)

Re:Oblig. web design site. (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027181)

hrodc.com, wow. I mean, that's so bad it's impressive. 2.75M page size! No wonder it takes forever to load. That's just as bad as hvysl.org but for entirely different reasons.

Re:Oblig. web design site. (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027193)

... It's not big, and it's not clever ...

I agree it's not clever, but boy was it big!

Re:Oblig. web design site. (2, Funny)

alyawn (694153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027217)

In summary: don't be doing this [hrodc.com] . It's not big, and it's not clever.
You need to warn people w/ a NSFW. I practically fell out of my chair!

Re:Oblig. web design site. (2, Funny)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027325)

That's absolutely beyond belief...

Incredibly, they do offer web design courses:
http://www.hrodc.com/WEB.DESIGN.htm [hrodc.com]

(Surely it's a joke though? A standard page format, each one populated by "Eliza"?)

I don't know what's scarier (4, Funny)

MeditationSensation (1121241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21025963)

That there are 33,000 web design "professionals" out there... or that they have enough downtime to fill out a silly survey. ;-)

Re:I don't know what's scarier (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026085)

Haha, it is funny cause I never got asked these questions! I made a really hard effort to become a freelance web designer, I scoured craigslist, have a site, sent e-mails and even just helped people out for free, I think if I get a loan, learn to code PHP, C/C++ and the like, I will be much better off, I must be doing it horribly wrong cause it is way to much work to just get a perspective client that "might" pay me.......that is scary!

About the wages (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21025975)

The low wage made by most web designers is a product of supply and demand. The barriers to entry for web design are low. In other words, almost anyone can create a web page and call themselves a designer.

The sign industry went through the same problem when it computerized. Prior to computerization, signmakers had to have the skill to produce letters using a brush. After computerization, anybody could crank out vinyl letters quickly and cheaply. What the signmakers learned was that, if you wanted to make decent money, you actually had to be a good designer. People will pay good money for signs that work. IMHO, people will also pay good money for websites that work. Ah but there's the rub. WORK. For a sign, 'work' means that you get twice as many customers walking into your business. It probably means the same for a website.

To prosper, web designers should probably know a lot more about 'design' (design doesn't mean 'pretty' or 'eye candy') and they should know a lot more about marketing.

PS, to the major (radio, tv and print) advertising company whose website is very pretty but takes five minutes to load - you guys are clueless.

Re:About the wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21026087)

Agreed: it is rather low. The web firm that I worked for, hired teenagers and washed out mainframe programmers that picked up HTML and CSS, and they only paid us $12 an hour, but the PHP programmers made like $18/hr....yeah pretty low. I do a tech support job now and hardly do anything compared to when I was at the design firm and I get $18/hr here, and I can do homework and manage my music in iTunes (a annoying feat that takes lots of time, but I gotta do it to use it on my iPhone) I figured striking out on my own would make me a lot of money since I would charge less and do more, but it seems that unless you are in a firm they don't want to pay you at all!

Re:About the wages (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026513)

IMHO, people will also pay good money for websites that work. Ah but there's the rub. WORK. For a sign, 'work' means that you get twice as many customers walking into your business. It probably means the same for a website.

Sadly, it does not. A person who knows nothing about sign-making can easily look at a sign and see whether it "works" or not. A person who knows nothing about web design can't look at a website and judge whether it "works" or not. Chances are they are using Internet Explorer. Does it fail in all other browsers? I wouldn't consider a website like that "working", but why would a person who isn't a web designer think to check in other browsers? Is it valid? Why would a non-professional know what validity is? What's the uptime like? Could a non-professional judge something like that? Is it accessible? Usable?

The real problem with the web design industry is that the people paying for websites can't usually judge ahead of time whether a person is a professional putting out high-quality work, or if they are a kid who is good at drawing pretty pictures. They only find out once the website goes live and they start getting complaints — and the usual response to that is to commission the unprofessional screw-up to do more paid work to fix it, when it shouldn't have been broken in the first place.

Re:About the wages (1)

ednopantz (467288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027603)

More important would be to control for hours worked. Annual salary is meaningless without reference to the number of hours it took to get there.

What About IE? (2, Funny)

baomike (143457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21026397)

They didn't ask how many designed web site that were usable only with IE.
and then why?

Arrgh (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027493)

There actually seem to be very few IE-only sites left. Firefox 2 is VERY good about dealing with IE-centric sites. The compatibility problems are with earlier versions of IE, and earlier versions of Firefox.

And with the giant turd-ball of shite known as Flash 9.

We just went through this with a design company that others-who-shall-not-be-named hired to "design" our new corporate web site. They delivered pages that were only compatible with IE7 and Flash 9. Actually, they worked with Firefox and Flash 9, too, but crashed IE 6 and earlier versions of Flash.

We had to argue with them a bit to get them to deliver a IE 6 and Flash 8 compatible site (sorry, the others-who-shall-not-be-named insist on a Flash site). Finally they had to send a guy on site to our office for a day to fix their broken stuff - because they had no non-IE7 non-Flash 9 environment to test in.

No one does QA anymore, anyhow, meh.

edit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21026613)

edit:
Among the findings: over 70% of people in this field who have time to fill out a survey earn less than $60K per year

Not really just design here... (2, Insightful)

sc00ch (254070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027455)

If you read the results you'll find its actually asking anyone involved with the web really. This really annoys me coming from such a respected publication.
The Job Title for example shows 25% are in fact developers, 19.9% are web designers and even includes writers/editors making up the other 55%. Without understanding which job titles correlate to all the other questions it seems a bit pointless. I know some of the biases compare the different titles but not many.

But How Many Web Designers Read Slashdot? (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027663)

I mean, actual Designers? Sure, plenty of HTML/CSS jockeys do, but that's a whole different discipline. And I wonder what the ratio of HTML jockey to designer was amongst the 33,000 people who responded to the survey was...

My experience -- not academia, not corporate intranet, not "blogosphere," not Church Group, but entertainment industry -- is that people pay pretty well for a new site design. But my guess is that better than half of the people who responded to the survey hardly even speak the same language as the artists who do that. In budgeting for various satellite and cable start-ups, I've never allocated less than $55K for the website.

Now, I've personally coded dozens of sites -- for academia, corporate intranet, "blogosphere," and Church Group -- but damned if I consider myself a designer. I've never expected to be paid for my work there (neat, trim, elegant though it might be...), in the same way I don't expect anybody to pay to come and watch me play basketball.

It's been said before, but it bears repeating: HTML ain't code, and Code ain't Poetry

Perception of design. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 6 years ago | (#21027809)

There's a big problem design in general faces. It's seriously undervalued. And I think the problem stems from accessibility. Desktop publishing has inspired a revolution in design, but at the same time it's been very detrimental to the industry.

It has made design tools pervasive. It's created this attitude that good design is something anyone can do provided they know how to use to the software. It's completely screwed with expectations on the part of clients. Some guy in sales believes it should take me a day to lay out a 24 page brochure because he knows how to type a report in Word and import a few pictures. He's convinced he could produce the same layout as I; he hires me because he doesn't have the time for it himself.

These guys also are convinced they understand the nuances of design merely because they browse the web. I can't count the times I've had clients tell me they want the design of the Apple site but they've got the content of Slashdot to fit on the page.

The accessability of design has allowed anyone to get into design. This means you've got hacks working along side of true professionals. For someone who's looking to cut costs they're going to have a hard time seeing why a company charging $20,000 for a web design is that much better than a guy working at home charging $2,000. They may be convinced of a difference in quality, but they'll have a hard time justifying the price difference. It's kind of like the guys who outsource work in order to get some cost savings but end up spending more in the long run just trying to manage the mess that inevitably ensues.

So what's the inevitable result? They're underpaid. Despite the amount of experience, research, planning and production that has to go into a sound design not many are willing to really pay for it. At least they aren't paid on the level of other professionals.

Contrast this IT and programmers. To the average business man what those guys do seems to be voodoo. They don't get it and they don't even want to try. I've known guys earning a handy sum of money while enjoying a 3-day work week. I've known guys who pretty much sat around all day, and others which had horrendous attitudes but they all got by fine because of the mystique of their work. They may end up getting screwed in the long run but while they had the work they were doing better than a designer in a comparable position.

Of course those kinds of employees are the exception. I'm not suggesting people in IT are overpaid. I know a developer who's been working half as long as I have and is already earning more than I do. And he deserves every penny because he's a phenomenal programmer. But the point is that a good designer has as demanding a job and doesn't get compensated as well for it.

But that's the nature of the work. If a designer wants to earn more they have to get into art direction or management. That only comes with experience and at that point you're not really considering a designer anyway.

And I agree that a lot of web designers out there don't really have a good sense of web design. They put art above functionality. But then many of the programmers I've worked with don't have a good sense for interface design either. They'll create something that's convoluted and bloated with features. As much as people like to criticize Microsoft applications they inevitably create something that pretty much has the same exact feel. Good layout design can be challenging.

Not enough VACATION (2, Interesting)

careysb (566113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21028015)

Interesting (and lots of) statistics, but what struck me the most was that over 50% of the respondents were getting 3 weeks or less of vacation a year. That includes people with a wide range of longevity in their jobs and years in the profession.

WIthout reading the survey, let me guess... (1)

Jeff Jungblut (744824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21029269)

Income was inversely proportional to amount of time spent writing blog posts. I'd read the survey myself but I have to get back to work.
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