Thursday, August 14, 2008

Web Design In My Future?

I mentioned that as part of my desire to advance my career (and someday move on from my job) I took some Photoshop classes.

Well, back in late June, one of the women I met in class tracked me down through the teacher. Her boss was looking to create a website for a product he invented, and she immediately thought of me from our conversations in class (I have to admit I was a "bit" vocal in class about the benefits of Photoshop for website creation). Boss-man wanted a landing page website to advertise and attract customers for a product he created, and he didn't want to pay a whole lot of money.

Great! A landing page is a fairly simple website, it means extra money, and also something professional to build my portfolio, it's all good!

Anyway, I asked questions about images, number of pages, media content, who provides marketing text, and other stuff like that. Then I put in a bid to develop the website for them. I think my bid came in higher than boss-man was hoping, because they "decided to pursue other options at this time." Hey, when you prospect someone to develop a website, and ask "can it be done for about $100?" You should know that when you describe something as a "landing page," it is ONE page, not the five you actually want for the price of one. Guess what: the more pages you have me create? the further away from $100 you get.

So, they turned down my bid and opted to try to create the website themselves using Microsoft Publisher and FrontPage. Incidentally, these are programs that were so not designed to do what they tried to do with them.

Tuesday I got a call from the boss-man about the problems they are having. The result of their tinkering with programs they don't understand? A web page that works only in Internet Explorer, and which contains only broken links and text boxes in other browsers. And when I say other browsers, I mean ALL other browsers. Hmm, you think Microsoft (who owns Internet Explorer and Publisher and Front Page) could possibly be at fault? Nah, never!

I am sympathetic to their problem - by having a web page that only works in IE they're losing a third to a half of their internet-users-slash-potential-customers. Being in the marketing field, it's hard to sit by and see someone between a rock and a hard place, especially when they put themselves there.

So even though they called me, do they want to pay my fee? Still not so much. Boss-man is definitely hoping to negotiate a lower rate because, you know, he has "all this work done already, what with the layout being done in Publisher and all."

Uh huh, problem is that by going through two different Microsoft programs to lay it out and then "save as" and convert it to an HTML page, the two programs inserted a whole crap-load of proprietary code that works only with Internet Explorer - proprietary code which is the root cause of the website not displaying in other browsers. There's no hope I can salvage the existing code. It would actually be faster to re-create the page from scratch.

So, if I'm doing all the work of re-creating and re-coding the page from scratch anyway, tell me again why exactly should I drop my rate? Yeah, thought so. Especially when you would pay half again or double my rate for the same website from another freelancer. (Admittedly another freelancer might have a more impressive portfolio, but still, he doesn't want to pay my discounted rate - is he really going to pay the higher rate to get the same end result?)

Right now, that's the question: does he want to pay or not? I made it clear that I could use the images they created, and the colors they chose, but I'm not dropping my rate. Now he is conferring with is wife/business partner, and we'll see in a couple of days. Cross your fingers for me.

PS. Since I still might get the job, and I'm sort of making fun of them, I'm not naming the company. Bad taste, yaknow?

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