Twice this week, I have been offered introductions to people who need help with their IT. One was someone who had lost data on one of their hard drives, and the other was concerning cyber security. Both times I had to explain how that’s not what we do at Engage Web, and offer alternative introductions for people who could help.
It’s been a recurring theme over the years at Engage Web, with even people within our own business centre in Ellesmere Port knocking on our office door and asking if we can help with their internet, or their printer. It seems having the word ‘web’ written on your office door suggests to people that you work with computers, therefore you must help businesses with their computers.
While this should annoy me, I realise it’s more an issue with how I have failed to communicate with some people on what we do at Engage Web. Most of the people who make this mistake are people I have not really spoken with at great length, or at all, and it presents an opportunity for me to get to know them and find out more about what they do as well. So I’m really seeing this as an opportunity to build a future business relationship, rather than an issue caused by poor communication.
However, there are occasionally people who I do know well who also make this mistake. When I’ve met with someone every week for months, or even years, and they’re still unclear on what we do and believe that web design, online marketing, IT and cyber security are all the same thing then there’s perhaps a bigger issue.
This also explains why it is that, when there are people who fail to see the distinction between all of these service sectors, IT companies and print designers are able to pass themselves off as web designers.
Now this really does annoy me.
Web design is a creative industry. It takes aspects of art and merges them together with function, and then uses aspects of marketing to ensure the function does what it is supposed to do. It’s technical, and creative. It’s functional, and artistic.
IT is something completely different. I don’t know how to set up a Windows Exchange Server and configure it for multiple users to have local and remote access, while ensuring data is securely backed up to the cloud. I know how to design a website that works across multiple browsers and devices, and achieves the goals of the brief – whatever they may be. I know how to create an online marketing strategy that takes the website from launch to achieving its goals each month.
I don’t know how to design a brochure. I don’t know how to format the files for print, create the right bleed and ensure the document is properly setup to maintain brand consistency throughout. That’s a print designer’s expertise. Equally, a print designer won’t know how to design a website – no matter what they claim.
I remember working in a design agency many years ago in Cardiff, and one of the print designers (a great designer) asked what page size a website should be. He wanted to set out his Illustrator document for the correct size, and didn’t know what size in millimetres a website should be.
Printed documents, such as flyers, posters, postcards, brochures and business cards, have set sizes. Websites are fluid. Their size isn’t set, as it differs depending on the device and screen size on which they are being viewed. This was something I couldn’t get across to the print designers as it was a completely different way of thinking.
This is why you can spot websites designed by printers a mile off, just as you can spot websites designed by IT companies. They have very distinct tell-tale signs, ones that will not help their success.
If you want a new website, use a web designer. If you want a brochure, use a print designer. If you want your server and computer system setting up, use an IT company. By using an expert in a particular field, you’ll get the best result.
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