When did you last search the shelf for that dusty encyclopaedia or reference book?
And when it comes to shopping, do you still browse a glossy, but heavy catalogue for your winter wardrobe or this year’s Christmas presents?
Unlikely. When we want to find out about something, we go straight to the web, via our smart phone (which these days is more or less attached to us!) or via our computer at home. It’s all there at our fingertips – and it’s instant!
But it took someone’s skill, effort and time to put it there and make it so easily accessible:
I am talking about you: the web designer!
I am in complete awe of people like you; you seem as natural with the language, the coding and the design process as if you were born with all of it. The thing is, you were born with it! We are in an era when computers, touch screens and infinitesimally small components are part of everyday life. I admit to growing up when the latest must-have gadget was a chunky, plastic 8-track music tape player, that mangled your precious music if you didn’t look after it carefully. But I believe that within the next ten years, there won’t be a person alive in our society who has not used or at least seen a computer of some description. Even my mother who passed away in her early sixties less than 20 years ago, never saw a computer. How much that has changed!
Interestingly, some of the clever souls I have met who create the amazing sources of knowledge, information and entertainment that we rely on so much, have owned up to being dyslexic. Some web designers are embarrassed to say that while they have fantastic visual and creative skills, they really struggle to write. I hasten to take away their pain by revealing that I am numerically dyslexic and really struggle with visualising concepts as simple as designing a bathroom layout!
A light bulb moment happens as we both realise that a new collaboration is about to be born – the web designer creates the framework of the website, and I create or contribute to the written content.
However image-heavy the website, it’s still essential to check that every word, caption, heading or URL is correctly spelt. NEVER rely totally on the spell and grammar check software – you need human intelligence to decide whether it’s its or it’s, and to ensure that there, they’re and their are used correctly. Competition is so fierce these days that a business – even a talented and skilled entrepreneur – may be judged on first impressions.
You do have the choice of hiring a copywriter to create the articles for your web pages, but the business owner is usually the one who knows his subject inside out. Therefore it’s actually more cost-effective for the expert to draft the words and content, which can then be passed over for proofreading. A proofreader not only takes on the time-consuming aspect of checking the web copy is accurate, they can also slip in essential SEO terms so that the site gets found easily by search engines. The client can relax in the knowledge that his website “shop window” is going to be polished to perfection, examining everything from the accidental innuendos, to the tiniest detail of a missing space or hyphen which could result in missed income opportunities or even misrepresentation.