“No One Is Good At Everything, But Everyone Is Good At Something”
Here at Amplify Media we have very talented people looking after the design and programming elements of our projects. Most importantly, these are different people who are only responsible for one side of the project. Our design team is made up of incredibly talented individuals who consistently produce design work that we’re very proud to show off. Likewise, our programming team is made up of expert coders who can build sites that incorporate the most tedious, time consuming, and impossibly complex functions in a seamless and easy to navigate environment. But could our designers code a complex website? Not even close. And could our programmers create a site design that would wow our clients? Yes, but not necessarily in the right way.
When commissioning a website build, it’s often tempting to go with that friend everyone seems to know who builds websites from his or her home office. It’s always nice to support a friend (or more often, a friend of a friend), and who doesn’t like to save money? The problem is that this friend usually works alone, leaving them in charge of creating and refining both the design and the functionality of the site. We frequently meet with designers and programmers who are new to the industry, and the ones who freelance from home often say things like ‘I do design work, but I’m really more of a programmer’ or ‘My coding skills are strong, but I need to work on my design abilities.’ These are great aspirations, but if your talents lie on one side, why are you spending your time and energy trying to get better at the side that doesn't come naturally to you? Programmers who are getting very good at development should be focusing on becoming astounding at site development, not at becoming half-decent at design work. Talented designers who are trying to learn more complex coding skills should be spending their time becoming incredibly talented designers, not passable programmers.
Working alone may initially keep costs down, but by forcing programmers to design and designers to program, a one-person operation ultimately keeps quality down as well. An inexpensive finished website that is ‘adequate’ in terms of function or design isn’t a cost saver, it’s an unnecessary expense that a business lays out before inevitably committing even more scarce funds to doing it right the second time. We admire the entrepreneur who can go it alone and focus on delivering an impeccable service, but when that service involves two very distinct parts like design and development, we admire more the professional who can recognize their own strengths and limitations. By teaming up with other professionals they ultimately save everybody time and money by focusing on what they do well, and by doing it brilliantly.
(Today’s title quote courtesy of almost every PSA and after-school special of the 1990s.)