Tangential comments about Software Development

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why design costs so much

My latest project is just a free website, but it's one that needs to look good. Crowded market and an audience used to cool presentation.

So I engaged a designer. I told him the site was free, and that his costs would come out of my pocket. He told me his hourly rate - above minimum wage, but not a princely sum.

We started. In the first three hour session, we just talked about who'd be using the site. In the second session, we discussed the landing page. In the third, we came up with a new metaphor for showing data. In the fourth, we went through how that metaphor would cover all the pages and how navigation would work.

When I started this, I thought I'd have someone who'd choose colours and a font. Instead, I've a colleague with whom I've torn up everything I thought I wanted and replaced it with something new and distinctive. Twelve hours of face-to-face time, and though we're not finished I can see that the site will look professional, eye-catching, clear, designed.

So design should be expensive. It's not just picking a colour palette.

When the site's live, I will post before and after screenshots, and you can judge for yourself.