If you’re reading this you’ re most likely already a web designer or aspiring to be one. Being a web designer is great. You get to turn someone’s vision into reality and the satisfaction of seeing a completed project and a happy client is invigorating. Like everything else though, there are the difficult times, and today we’ll go through some of those challenges that web designers face.
Disclaimer: In this blog, I will use the term ‘web designer’ to encompass both the web designer and web developer. You can learn more about the differences between web designers and web developers in this post.
1. Clients expect it to be cheap
This is probably the single biggest challenge web designers face in Kenya. Especially new players in the game. There are times I have been in meetings with clients and at the end when I mention my rates, there’s a moment of silence because the client is in shock. Most clients will respond by saying something like, “I met someone else who told me they can do it at a cheaper price.” Sorry to say but sometimes the amounts the clients mention come out sounding rather insulting. Yet, even at their suggested, extremely lowered rates, the client will still expect a top-notch job and after-sale support.
2. Confusing briefs from the client
As a web designer, listening and understanding your client is probably one of the most important things to do as you work together. However, this sometimes is easier said than done. In my experience, when the client is not clear about what they want or expect is because it is probably the first time they are involved in getting a website. At this point, it becomes my duty to guide the client because it will make my work easier in the long run.
3. Lack of goals (or rather misplaced goals)
Every website has a goal, or at least it should. However, I have met clients that had not considered what the website is to achieve. The majority of clients use the features of a website to decide the goal. They sort of work in reverse. For example, someone has already read somewhere that an e-commerce store is used to sell online, so they go ahead and ask for an e-commerce website with the goal of increasing sales yet, depending on the stage their business is, they may have been better off with a business website to increase brand awareness first and then upgrade to e-commerce later.
This becomes a problem because if things don’t work out with the e-commerce website first time out, the client will not get a good return on investment and some of the blame will go on the web designer for either being expensive or making a ‘bad website’ altogether.
This challenge is just attached to the career, especially if you’re still a newbie. You may work really hard in phone calls, sending emails and even attending trade fairs all in an effort to market your services. Until you get a client that wants a physical meeting only to discover that for you, their offices are in a hard to reach area. Not only that but as a web designer, I’ll probably need to meet clients at random days and times. Sometimes on very short notice. At the same time, you will still need time to actually sit down and get on with all the work you’re getting. The schedule can be hectic.
5. Clients’ bad experiences with other designers
This is a tough one to tackle. In my opinion, most web designers in Kenya are actually quite skilled. The industry has really improved from where it once was. Although, it must be said there are some who are just bad at what they do. In most cases, a ‘bad experience’ is often due to other underlying factors. A client’s bad experience with another web designer can be a really big problem. In some instances, you might have to start proving your worth even before starting the work itself. Even when you actually start the web design project the pressure can be enormous.
Like I said when I started, being a web designer is great. Personally I see more upsides than challenges. My advice to aspiring web designers would be not too expect a smooth road all through.
Are you a web designer? Feel free to comment below on the challenges you’ve faced and if possible how you overcame them. Also, could there be a really pressing challenge you’d want to see added to this list? Feel free to comment on that too below.