What Qualifications Your Webpage Designer Should Have?
Not All Designers Code Equally (if at all)
A successful website starts with a well coded webpage. A webpage that is optimized with only the necessary code downloads faster for your visitors, presents the webpage content clearer to search engines that crawl and rank your pages, and is easier and should cost less to maintain overtime. Moreover Google factors webpage download speed as another factor in ranking webpages-yet another reason to code with web standards.
In General an aspiring web designer or one you are thinking about hiring should be comfortable, at minimum, coding a webpage with HTML5 & CSS3-not just designing with a WYSIWYG visual editor as I have seen some do. HTML is the fundamental web language all web pages are, to some degree, coded with. Depending on your webpage goals and needs a website designer may need additional skills/knowledge like cms, scripting, e-commerce, etc....
Who cares if I use a WYSIWYG editor to create my webpage?
The problem with many, not all, WYSIWYG design editors is that they usually output more code than is necessary to create the webpage. Some visual editors even attach proprietary code (Microsoft Word for example) which enables you to reopen the webpage in the program to make updates, but has absolutely no benefit for webpages... it actually harms it with bloated code that somewhat camouflages your content to search engines, and potentially slows down the download speed for your visitors.
*(8/12/2013) Lately there are design-centric web programs that show a lot of potential like macaw.co & webflow.com. But BE WARNED... they only work well and produce clean code if you have a good understanding of HTML & CSS and structure the file accordingly-if you don't know HTML & CSS and use these visual web development tools the code is going to suck! Yes, that's right, you still should have a good understanding of HTML to use a WYSIWYG tool if you want to call yourself a web pro and produce good quality websites for your clients. But in the end nothing beats hand coding by a quality web professional!*
WYSIWYG Webpage Editors Are A Good Choice Only If...
If time or financial constraints do not allow you to learn or hire someone to code a webpage for optimal results a WYSIWYG editor is a good option for you to look at. Moreover, WYSIWYG editors allow business owners to maintain their own website to some degree instead of paying for a web designer for each and every webpage update.
There are also decent if not good WYSIWYG editors out there. There are even free solutions like Wordpress that I recommend if you are leaning towards a WYSIWYG editor. Wordpress has a nice user interface, produces fairly good code, and is also a CMS which allows you to manage your website assets.
Keep in mind that you won't be able to customize everything with Wordpress or any other webpage editor, unless you can manipulate the specific code that handles the framework, layout, and functionality of the site... you may need to hire a web designer after all.
Web Standards are Good
Another major consideration with hiring a webpage designer is if he/she uses outdated table based layout techniques... "boooo"... or has the better web skills and codes with web standards. Web standards is a movement that has led to many improvements in webdesign and delivery by browsers. Basically, you or the web designer should know in addition to HTML or XHTML, CSS. How they implement CSS is another topic... this post is long enough. If they separate the content and the styles with CSS then that is a good start.
Have anything to say? Agree? Disagree?