Day 6: People really still do that? On websites and standards.

Having freshly gone through a multimedia design education (ok, I’m not entirely finished with it) I have my head stuffed with lofty ideals. Or so I’ve been discovering for the past few days. In the course of my internship I had to visit 1000 or so websites belonging to all kinds of companies in Denmark. And it’s been a traumatizing experience.

Turns out that not only SEO, accessibility or usability are not standard in this, let’s face it, fairly digitally aware country. Turns out that using primary colors, Flash that loads for 2 minutes, poor graphics or an image of your worn out flyer is a perfectly adequate representation of your business in the digital world.

So I appeal to all you business owners out there, if you want a website do not do it yourself and don’t ask your nephew who knows computer games to do it either. It won’t do and you’ll harm your company. Invest in your image and get a proper professional (or at least a student) to do the work.

Here are a few particularly sad cases:

Herning Industry Lager gets first prize for an attempt at SEO. Just check the description meta tag:

Midtjysk Frugtlager gets first prize for bringing the printed into the new digital era:

And Selmer Transport gets the first prize in the category of webdesign:

Painful quick impression of today: some people still make their websites in Microsoft Word.

4 thoughts on “Day 6: People really still do that? On websites and standards.

  1. Przemek Jeske

    LOL – had a good laugh when I’ve checked those . But to be honest I wouldn’t blame them – at least not entirely. I can tell you how the things look in Poland. Most of bussiness owners do not have a glimpse of an idea how the commercial website should be built. So they turn to a company that handles web design in good faith that they’ll do good job. And that’s where their first mistake lies – web design companies often do not care about that much and lots of them are not that professional anyway.
    I’ve learned it hard way – but luckily I have some knowledge about web programming and was able to tell that someone is trying to sell me utter and worthless shit.
    To defend web designers a tad I have to admit that many companies are a tad *cough* , *cough* unrealistic – their employees think that good webpage can be built within couple of hours and should cost a penny (or two) ;) .
    But on the other hand I’ve seen a couple of examples where web designer has been paid really well and still the results were terrible….
    Once again I feel we live in a word taken over by a cult of trash . *sigh*

    1. Inabox Post author

      Przemek, I agree to a point. There are of course crappy and dishonest designers/developers/agencies. I think in any given industry you’ll find some of those.
      But I don’t think this is an excuse for having a poor website. Sure, sometimes you get cheated and that is sad.
      But website is as important element of a company as for example accounting is. And yet people spend much time making sure that their accounting firm or in-house accountant is well-referenced and/or well-educated.
      If you use your nephew or an unreasonably cheap webdesign company from India, don’t expect a good quality product.
      And when it comes to not knowing anything about Internet, well folks it’s 2012…time to learn the most important means of communication. Google “finding a good web design company” and you’ll get over 1.5 million answers. The knowledge is out there.

  2. Przemek Jeske

    Well, again truth is somewhere in the middle :) .
    Personally I can’t blame people for not knowing how things work. Do you know howto assemble/reapair a car for exmaple? I don’t – so I’d turn to mechanic to fix it.
    Basically what I’m trying to say is that we’re surrounded by technology we don’t understand. Fuck, to be honest for exmaple I can operate, damn , even assemble a computer without knowing how it actually works. Ability to use something is something way different from knowledge how it works.
    So what it’s 2012? It’s still something like expecting people to be experts at everything :) . IMO for exmaple transport company owner has much better things to do than learning principles of HTML / PHP / Ruby etc. Thus he/she may lack the ability to distinguish good site from a bad one (but, yeah the site you’ve linked to is pretty damn obvious – I felt my eyes will fell off :D ).
    And yeah , I agree google search will give you millions of answers. The question is how many are good ones? What really bugs me is I often get an impression people stopped caring about quality of their work.
    But luckily not all of them :) .

    1. Inabox Post author

      Generally I agree with you. I don’t expect people to know html or php enough to correct their programmers (I mean if they can correct they can as well just program it themselves, right?).

      But to take your example with the car, I don’t know what a mechanic knows but I know how to choose a good mechanic. I’ll go to one that is well established, recognized or recommended by others. I will not go to the cheapest.

      So while I don’t expect people to know code, I do expect them to know what usability is and why you don’t want to use images only on your website, especially if they are buying a website for their company. Cause transport company owner has to be aware that nowadays website is his company’s image and strongest communication tool.


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