Wikipedia has a long and annoyingly complicated article about web design, which begins:
Web design is the skill of creating presentations of content (usually hypertext or hypermedia) that is delivered to an end-user through the World Wide Web, by way of a Web browser or other Web-enabled software like Internet television clients, microblogging clients and RSS readers.
So, ‘creating presentations’ you say. To call oneself a ‘Web Designer’ is about as accurate as saying ‘I work with computers’.
Saving files in HTML format is now a common feature in Office 2000 programs. In other words, you can save Word documents in HTML format and you can publish Excel workbooks as Web pages.
– taken from Opening and saving files in Office
For years now we’ve been able to export Microsoft Word documents as HTML files. By Wikipedia’s definition, everybody everywhere who has ever created a word document could be called a ‘Web Designer’.
This topic came up recently because we had the phrase ‘web designer’, or something like it, on our About page. Meanwhile, on our portfolio page we had some, admittedly ambiguous, text about a specific piece of work we had done before Soupgiant was created.
This caused confusion. We received a demanding email from the graphic designers responsible for that work that we explain ourselves. Apparently their client saw our site and said “somebody’s taking credit for your design work”.
It took a little while before we worked out where the confusion. At no point did we intend to take credit for the design. As a matter of course we outsource all our graphic design because that is not our skill-set.
The common term is ‘Web Design’, but we don’t do design. Can we be ‘Web Engineers’ without having an engineering degree? What about ‘Web Architects’?
We’ve decided to go with the term ‘Web Production’ because what we do is more akin to a Producer’s role than anything else. We coordinate the production of websites and content. We can create, or organise the creation of, audio and video for podcasts. We can code but we also work with information architecture, testing, usability, and accessibility.
We bring together all the things that go into making a website. We stay up-to-date on technologies to ensure our clients get the best product possible for their budget. We coordinate, we define, we build, we code, we acquire, we provide, but we do not design. At least, we don’t do it well. We hire graphic designers to do that because that’s their area of expertise.
Our area of expertise is creating excellent, accessible and functional websites using every resource we have at our disposal.