I have been in the web design industry since 1999. In terms of the Internet that makes me very experienced. Having been involved in the IT industry since before that time, my expectation was for things to evolve in web design at a rapid rate.
Well I was right but even so, I underestimated the rate of change.
Just as a small aside, this reminds me of something I said to a friend once in the early 1990s. I had bought my first CD player and my friend and I were discussing how amazing it was that they could fit a whole album onto such a small disc. I then said something to my friend which he viewed with much skepticism. I said:
"Mark my words, within the next 20 years you will be able to fit a whole album onto something the size of a credit card!"
Well my prediction was correct in a way. What I did not envisage is that you would be able to fit your entire album collection onto something the size of a credit card.
And so it was in the world of web design. I predicted rapid change but failed to anticipate the speed of that change. The past 5 years have been the most rapidly developing of all. There are many aspects to this but one aspect I want to deal with today is the advent of Open Source website creation platforms. So let us start from the basics:
All three of these are systems you can use to create your own website. Each has its own interface that you must learn so are certainly for for the faint-hearted but they each share one important quality. You can develop a complex website without programming knowledge. Also, being open source they are all free.
So this sounds like you don't need a web designer. In fact, this is true, strictly speaking. That surprised you didn't it? I bet you didn't expect me to say there is no need for a web designer.
Well although it is true, it does demand a lot of work from you. You have to learn how to use the interface and the more complex the website, the more frustrating and fiddly it becomes. However, if you are good with a PC, have a limited or no budget and have plenty of time on your hands, then it is possible and could even be a rewarding experience.
However, most small business owners do not have the time required to do this. So this lends itself to the next question:
The answer to this is that it does not matter. Some web designers prefer to work with these packages and others do not. Here at Net Quality Web Design, we do not develop websites using these packages because we feel that with all of our experience we can design exactly what the customer wants by starting from scratch.
However, it should not matter to you on which platform your website is designed, but rather it should matter how professional your website looks and functions and whether it meets the needs of your business. That is the true measure of whether a web designer has designed the right type of website for you.