Honesty and Integrity should play a part in your personal and career goals. It’s not the focus of many who are trying to get ahead these days, but for those with moral and religious backgrounds or beliefs, it’s something they think about regularly and hold in high regard.
This blog topic coincides with one of my previous posts “Compassion” that addresses the importance of incorporating moral standards into business practices. Honesty and integrity are not something you see in very many company mission statements or business plans, but they should be. If I were to run one of the most successful web companies in the world, I wouldn’t feel truly successful unless I had built that business and grown it on a foundation of honesty and integrity.
When I think about many of the Oklahoma based businesses that have been around for generations, I know that honesty and integrity are something they strive for. Most customers aren’t going to return or refer their friends and family to a business that doesn’t make those things a priority. Without repeat customers and client referrals, most businesses won’t survive. If you plan on starting your own business one day, hopefully you’ll incorporate these standards into your business practices.
An article “Examples of Integrity” by Sherrie Scott of Demand Media focuses on four main areas that both companies and employees can use to measure their levels of integrity in the workplace. They are:
- The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Honesty: Be honest with your customers, co-workers, boss, contractors, etc.
- Confidentiality: Respect the private information of companies and customers
(in web design/development this includes making sure security measures are in place when sensitive information is handled on a website)
- Lead by Example: Set the example of how you want those around you to behave
If you plan on working for another web company, remember that honesty and integrity are something you should make a priority. You can have the best resume, portfolio and skill set and those things will probably get you the job you want, but if you lack honesty and integrity, you won’t keep that job for long..
COMMUNICATION is a key factor in the success of a web designer or developer. Communication in web design doesn’t just entail verbal communication, in fact, visual communication is extremely important too. A breakdown in communication can lead to unhappy clients, long hours spent redesigning something you thought was on track and websites with poor usability.
What are the three main areas of communication designers and developers need to focus on?
- Communicating your services to others
- Communicating with your clients
- Communicating with your website’s end users
Let’s focus on the first one: Communicating your services to others
If you’ve ever owned a business, you know clients do not come to you without knowing you exist, what you offer (products/services) and why you are the best option for them. In this field, you absolutely must have a web presence and develop a campaign to promote your website. Your website needs to communicate to potential clients all of the services you offer, demonstrate knowledge and experience in the technologies behind those services and key points and examples of why your business is the best option compared to your competitors.
Next, you need to focus on: Communicating with your clients
After a client has hired you to create a website for them, you need to sit down with the client and communicate effectively to make sure you understand exactly what the client is looking for. You need to ask the right questions and lay the framework for what can be expected during the design process. Communicating with the client about what is expected from them (i.e. custom artwork, blog post content, logos, etc.) and the timeframe within which they need to submit those items is crucial to the success of the project. You also need to communicate up front any deposits that need to be made, contracts signed and a projected completion date. Make sure to explain to the client that any delays with content submission on their part will result in an extension of the project deadline. Throughout the project you need to communicate with your client about where you are in the process and let them know if you have run into any problems that may affect the deadline. Keeping your client informed and making them feel like they are part of the process will lead to a more positive experience for them.
Lastly (but just as important) you need to focus on: Communicating with your website’s end users
Our business is to create websites for clients that will be attract users, not scare them away. Just as you’ve invested a lot of time, effort and money into getting an individual or company to hire you, your client has invested those same things into attracting clients, members, users, etc. of their own. Creating a site that will engage their users and make them want to return to the site should be a high priority. After talking to the client and understanding the purpose of the project, the target audience and the functionality needed, you need to focus on how to incorporate all of those things into a website that is easy to navigate, visually appealling and organizes content in a way that is easy to understand. Even small things, such as adding alt tags to images and creating navigation that doesn’t require scrolling will go a long way to ensure your site it accessible across multiple devices and to users of varying abilities. Always ask yourself, does this site communicate to me in 5 seconds or less What It Is For – What I Can Do Here – Where I Should Go Next. As designers and developers this becomes increasingly challenging the more experienced we are. Having outside users test your design and functionality is a great way to make sure you are communicating everything you need to on the website. As George Bernard Shaw once wrote: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Focusing on these three areas of Communication and using outside sources if necessary to make sure you’re on track, will lead to a better overall experience for both you and your client!
- Web design: Understanding purpose (marketing.yell.com)
Every day we have opportunities to strive for excellence. Whether it be at home, at work, at school etc. Before you begin a task, you’re faced with a choice.. Do I do this to the best of my ability, or do I do just what I need to get it done? This is a choice I face with each new project or assignment I’m given in the Web Developer program. I know that I can just rush through an assignment and get it done faster, but I’m not going to school just to get a certification – I’m here to learn! I know that if I take the time to really give something my best effort I will not only produce work with a higher quality, but the benefit of experience from the extra time and effort will help me absorb the information I’m learning and be able to draw from it as needed in the future.
You have to commit to a lifetime of learning in web development and that can be very difficult if excellence isn’t a priority for you. It’s not just about exhibiting excellence in the presence of your peers, it’s about knowing that you put forth your best efforts and can be proud of your accomplishments.