Friday, March 20, 2009

People have doctors, companies have web designing experts

“A client comes to us with questions about their website i.e. we've recently redesigned our website, but now our sales have dropped”, says Damian Rees from Experience Solutions.

More and more companies address web designers and focus on online interaction with their clients.

Nowadays having a website became absolute necessity. When a company launches one of the first things they do is create a website.

James Mallorie, project manager in Redweb thinks there is a bigger need for websites, because the companies can actually see the return on their investment (ROI).

He says: “For a company it’s very important, because they can see that they are investing certain amount of money and every month their revenue is coming back to them through their shopping cart or through advertising sales.

It’s recordable and they can see and it’s a great benefit. The more that benefit gets realised by companies the more companies want to do it.”

Redweb is an expert team who specialise in the designing and building of websites based in Bournemouth. They noticed that web industry has suffered least of all in the ongoing financial crisis.

Dan Hills, accounting manager in Redweb says: “Any credible agency is still going to make a lot of money and keep growing it. All the offline agencies, which are not accountable, are the ones that are going to suffer. They are already suffering, because the money is getting from offline onto online.”

“Doctors” in action

Agencies like Experience Solutions help the companies who have seen downturn in their business and want to attract the clients back by improving their websites.

The experts of the agency work with the company to profile who their customers are, review their website statistics, then recruit people who meet the target audience description to come in and take part in research.

They will be observed using the website to establish where the problems are in the process.
The agency will then meet with the client to show them video clips of people using the site and present their priority recommendations.

The client will then implement the changes and the agency will do follow up research to make sure they have worked.

Paul Seys, Head of User Experience in Redweb, says: “We have some clients that come with the existing website and it might be a case that they just want to improve it.

If the client is coming to us with a brand new idea that does not currently exist then it is very much about working with a client to identify the need for it.”

How far did the web industry come?

Web industry is developing step by step and becomes more and more flexible not only for users but also for the people working in this industry.

Jake Skedgell, a freelancer in web programming, has always been interested in computers and was on the Internet since it existed. He thinks flexibility is one of the most attractive things in this industry.

He says: “I could work in a coffee shop, sitting in bed or on a beach halfway around the world. The same goes for clients - they can be anywhere.”

However, there are changes in major issues of the web industry as well.

Paul Seys from Redweb says: “Ten years ago we had to just focus on what the website looked like from design point of view. It was more about how it looked and how somebody interacted with it. Now we’re more focused on meeting the needs of the brand. We’ve got to consider accessibility, search engine optimisation.”

The blue-sky Future

Not that long ago it was hard to understand what the Internet could do. It was impossible to imagine that some companies would exist only online.

But how far is this tendency capable of going?

Adam Wintle, creative director of the Mallmus Media says:”The future seems really bright, unless of course Google crashes and disappears overnight.

I think it’s awesome that the kids at university right now are studying for things that are yet to be invented in the digital world. These guys will have the next big ideas and lead the next big companies.”

It’s the ambition, skill and imagination of site builders that has got us to where we are today and it's those qualities that will transform the Web in the years to come.

But what does a future hold for us? Should we expect fundamental changes in the digital industry?
Paul Seys from Redweb thinks the industry is constantly changing and it will never stay the same for any length of time.

He says: “I think the big thing that’s going on at the moment is social media, sites having communities built around them is fundamental. The brands that don’t embrace the communities will really suffer, because Internet is not like TV for example, where you just sit and flick the channels. The Internet is about interaction, about having an influence. Social media will grow and grow and the brands will have to adopt that. “

Getting ready for the next successes

It is now quite blurred how the web industry will evolve. What else is to be done to make a next step forward?

James Mallorie from Redweb thinks there has always been a lack of software that matches what the hardware can do.

He says: “The hardware is always increasing, always improving and software has always been behind. People are just trying to write software that can actually do things that hardware is expected to do.”

Who knows? It might be a person graduating from the university at the moment, who is going to lead us to the new era of the web world.

But what does one possibly need to achieve success in the web industry?

Paul Seys from Redweb thinks that one needs to pick an area and not to try and be a Jack-of-all-trades and have an understanding of every aspect to be in design, development, user experience, mobile.

He says: “I think they need to be picking a niche according to the area that they are particularly interested in.”

Besides, because of the speed that the Internet moves, one needs to be educated and to be up-to-date.

He says: “We have to be playing with things like Facebook and Twitter very early on to understand how they work and be a step ahead of the client. So often the clients are playing with these things anyway, so we need to have that understanding.”

To stay up-to-date and to keep in touch with the people working in the digital industry, Redweb organises series of informal events called “Meetdraw”.

The recent event took place on 12th March in iBar, Bournemouth where students, freelancers, professionals, creatives, developers, account managers, usability gurus or anyone with a passion for digital were welcome.

Paul Seys says Meetdraw was born out of the desire to bring all the people passionate about digital on the South Coast together.

“A bunch of us got talking about the lack of a solid community in the area and decided that the best course of action was to simply set a date and then organise an event that would hopefully start the ball rolling.”

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