If you own a website or are a major Internet retailer or even an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar retailer with a strong electronic presence, you have probably learned by now that most of your problems are in the two-thirds of the software that no one ever sees, the software below the surface. Today, the graphics design and programming worlds are at a point similar to the one in “Titanic,” where they see the package on the surface, but where most of the action happens, below the surface, and there are some issues that include:
1. A lack of good graphics designers
2. A lack of a pool of trained programmers trained in up-to-date graphics software
3. Large sites dredging up and hiring most of the good programmers
4. Independents earning top-dollar to do your work
Most people in the website design know this and they also know that there are very few ways they can turn to make use of the power below the surface. Website owners know they can:
They can, of course, hire one of the software also-rans, people who just about made it through a course but are slow and somewhat unimaginative. These programmers often require lots of hand-holding and repeated meetings so they can finally get your concept and by the time you are finished, you have done the work for them. If you hired them as contractors, at least there’s an end in sight.
They can become desperate to keep “an artist” on staff, so they hire this person when, perhaps, they should not have hired him or her.
They can pay a real wizard some heavy-duty money to get their work done the first time, correctly, but that does impact the bottom line – come to think of it, so does the slow person.
They can find someone on their staff with a bit of artistic talent, get them some basic training and, working with this person, make this person their programmer, which is probably the most cost-effective way of handling things as they are already being paid and on staff. They have to be afraid, if the programmer becomes too good that they will be raided and they will lost the programmer or that the programmer will go independent.
It is a tough balancing act, but the last option, with a key option – getting them just enough training so they become somewhat valuable, but leaving the finish work to a good template package. All that would remain is a little powerpoint presentation design training tweaking and rerunning the template package and you are done.
There are several very good “page-flip” and “page-turn” template packages out there now that can make your site look as if a real wizard had come along and done some magic.
Using a template package may seem a bit tacky in today’s “hand’s-on world,” but let’s face it with Amazon and eBay snagging the golden-fingered programmers, there’s very little left for a small site to do. Indeed, some of the bigger site probably use template packages as well, but as compilers for their graphics code. These packages, whether used by a small site or a large one are very versatile and give you the ability to turn: