Jeremy Girard was born with six toes on each foot. The extra toes were
removed before he was a year old, robbing him of any super-powers and
ending his crime-fighting career before it even began. Unable to battle
the forces of evil, he instead works as the Director of Marketing and Head
of Web Design/Development for the Providence, Rhode Island based Envision Technology Advisors. He also teaches website design and front-end development at the University of Rhode Island. His portfolio and blog, at Pumpkin-King.com, is where he writes about all things Web design.
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There comes a point in the career of many Web designers where the logical progression in that career is to take on a leadership position. A logical step or not, when a designer "assumes" this type of a position, there is often another "assumption" happening at the same — that wizard-like proficiency with HTML and CSS, coupled with a number of years in the industry, equips someone to take on a leadership role. This is, of course, not always the case.
Over the past few years, I have gone through this transition myself, moving from a Web designer to a Creative Director to my current role as the Director of Web Development. During this transition, I turned to the blogs and other resources that I had found helpful in my career to that point, looking for tips and lessons that would help me in my new role. I quickly realized was that while there are countless articles to help you become that aforementioned HTML and CSS wizard, there are precious few that deal with the move from designer to director.
Websites are designed to be used by people of varying backgrounds, educations and technical levels. One of the challenges we face when designing for the Web is finding a way to create sites and applications that can be accessed by a widely disparate audience while avoiding the pitfall of sacrificing the quality of our work to cater to the dreaded ‘lowest common denominator.’
Even though it happens to me with some frequency, being told by a client that one of the requirements for their project is that it must be ‘idiot proof’ never fails to give me pause. The sentiment itself is offensive enough, but the concept also seems somewhat misguided to me. Do we really want to begin a project by assuming our site's users are idiots? Read more...