OH MY GOD.
Okay, WARNING: public display of elitism, arrogance, and self-aggrandisement ahead.( YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. )
Professional web development firms, by the way, is the reason behind one of the projects I've been working on for a while, which is provisionally entitled PAEAN -- Professional Artistic and Electronic Assistance for Nonprofits. It's a non-profit organization I've been developing for a couple years now that does web design (and other artistic or technology-related) work for other charitable organizations for free. GOOD work. Standards-based, accessibility-checked. With a solid sense of aesthetics. I think that if you're doing good charitable work, you should NOT have to pay out the ass for some incompetent, profiteering company to build you a site that will crash next year. If you're helping orphans in Rwanda, I don't think you should get scammed and scalped like that. If you're helping lost kittens get adopted, I think solid web sites should be handed to you on a goddamn silver platter. And that's what I'm trying to do.
To those of you who think this is trivial, that web design (though I do mroe than design, as I've outlined above) doesn't matter, let me tell you that you're wrong. On the Internet and elsewhere, design matters a lot. It's a HUGE part of whether something is AT ALL USABLE. And the sad thing about a lot of nonprofits' websites is that they're really bad, really ugly, and really hard to use, both for people trying to make use of the charities' resources and for the charities themselves. I think this is awful, and I'm trying to change it.
Likewise, I am now officially appalled at the really ridiculous state of web development in the branch of the government I work for. And now that I've been put on this committee, I'm going to try and change that. I've got the power to do something amazing and fantastic here, and by God I am going to try to use it.
Oh, and a disclaimer. I don't want to dictate the internets or design any more than I want to dictate the various fandoms I've taken an interest and started newsletters, communities, and other projects in. There are subjective parts, yes, like what's pretty or ugly design. Some things, however, are simply the way the web is heading, led by brilliant people and industry champions, and that's the direction sites should be heading. You know, the future. Not being left behind in the internet morass of the mid-late nineties.
And by the way, I don't think that what I do -- all that stuff about being familiar with all aspects of web development -- is something that's extraordinary about me, nor that it should be. I finally thought of that analogy. It's like building a house. If you're building a house, you should have at least a passing familiarity with the principles of construction, architecture, design, basic accessibility, and physics. You should probably also know about or know where to go for information/contract work on electronics, plumbing, landscaping, and other particulars. You need to also know the building codes and other such regulations in your area. Well, the SAME THING applies to web design. You're building a home for yourself/others on the internet. These are things I WOULD THINK that any decent, self-respecting web developer should be familiar with -- design, coding, how servers and back-side stuff works, usability, accesbiility, specifications for the languages they work in. This shouldn't be something special -- this should be standard knowledge! I think that what I do and know is somewhere near the bare minimum of what a web developer should do. Apparently, I am alone in this belief.
Okay, I rarely go off like this. But I was pretty damn pissed there.
For once, I also won't be checking over this before I post it (highly unusual for me -- usually I go through a draft or two), so I apologize profusely for any mistakes.