A web developer has a curious relationship with a graphic artist. As a developer, a web savvy graphic artist can make my job easier, but a web illiterate graphic artist can make my life miserable. For a web developer, the graphic design of a site is hundreds of little elements that have to be coded. For a graphic artist who is used to print, a graphic design is one PDF.

I had one experience with a graphic artist whose own website was one large jpg. She normally worked in print, so that was her paradigm. Of course, she figured it could be the same for our mutual client’s website. My protestations about functionality and SEO were to no avail. So, I had to break up the flattened image myself – no fun with background images and very expensive for our client.

I had another experience where the site owner and a graphic artist worked together for 3/4 of the project development timeline through dozens of versions of the layout. One area of the banner had this itty-bitty login field and about 9 other elements in a 3 x 2″ area. Each of those elements were something the user could interact with. Both the site owner and the graphic artist were upset at my protestations of user interface, accessibility, etc. And, they certainly didn’t understand that I could not code the complicated theme and functionality in 1/4 of the development time and 1/4 of the $$$. In that case, there was no win-win so I bowed out of the project.

In both cases, if the designer had had training in code, there would not have been a problem. Instead of designing a problem, the designers would have made wise designs.

– Nora McDougal, The Computer Gal