The dangers of automation

We’ve all chosen the fast and cheap route at sometime, whether it was to get a product, add a room to a house or make changes to your website or marketing materials.  If we are lucky then we also learn the lesson of “you get what you pay for” but there are many people and businesses that never quite seem to get the idea.

Here in the web development business I get most of my business because a person tried the cheap route and suffered the consequences. I feel bad for people who are suffering as I can’t blame them for trying to save money and get things done quickly. If anything, I hold the frustration in for the designers and programmers that are cutting corners assuming that the customer will never know.

When it comes to your website here are a couple of things to look for that could cause problems.

Bloated code: web designers  and programmers will try to save time by using code that they made for someone else. While being efficient is good, often unneeded code is not removed which can cause corruption and errors in time. If the code is downloaded (like a CSS or JavaScript file) then it also means increased page load times which can affect customer and search responses.

Bloated images: After a design is approved the images need to be sliced up in to individual images in order to build the page. This can be an art in itself as skillfully sliced images will make the website load faster where poorly sliced images will cause delays, again affecting customers and search engines. Many designers will use fewer, large images which is less work for them and can negatively affect search engines. There is a lot of technical stuff I am leaving out so I apologize if it seems lacking.

Lack of features: I will always offer suggestions and additions to clients if I feel that my experience and knowledge will help. Sometimes I am able to help a client with a good idea become a client with a great idea.  Many programmers will do just what the customer asks to avoid extra work. I have found that by putting extra time and thought into a project sometimes I end up saving time  and money while making a better product.

Templates: I have seen many web designers claim that they were building a custom website only to find out that the designer really bought a template and made a few modifications. While templates can save time, they were not designed for your business but rather to accommodate  the widest range of possibilities. To use one you would have to fit your business into the design rather than vice-versa. Templates also will suffer from bloated code as they have to accommodate features you may not use.

There are many more areas that can be added here but these are a couple of the big ones. The question now is how do you know if you are not getting the better end of the deal? This can be difficult if you don’t have knowledge of code and design. To start with, make sure you list all requirements in writing so you have something to reference should problems occur. Test your website and any questionable components thoroughly, on multiple computers, browsers and devices. In fact, have other people test them also and report back any issues. And lastly, if you know of someone who understands web design, ask them to take a look.

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