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We’re not stupid

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

I’ve thought long and hard about how to kick off this post and put over a balanced argument but the point I want to make doesn’t really lend itself to that, so instead I’m going to just jump straight in:

Web experts are out of touch!

Now I don’t want to be controversial for the sake of it so I’ll explain my point of view, but first this needs some context.

The Background

In short Tim Van Damme wrote an article on 24ways about CSS animations. This led to comments questioning how relevant the technique is given the amount of browser support amongst other things. Andy Clarke then went on to write a post titled ‘You’re living in a fantasy world’ which talks about progressive enhancement and how we can use these techniques now because it doesn’t matter that sites look different in different browsers.

But there’s still a problem

I do actually agree with the idea of progressive enhancement and that sites don’t have to look the same in all browser but this isn’t the problem. The problem with techniques like this in my view is the clients. Adding small touches such as box shadow and border radius takes no time to implement and can improve a design in those browsers that support it, and this is something I do use. But in the case of CSS animations that only work in Safari and Chrome there are other considerations such as the ROI and the benefit of adding features that such a small audience will see. Of course you can bypass the client and just do it but then you still have to justify the time and cost needed for implementation.

Now to backtrack

I don’t think web experts are out of touch but they are in a much better position that most of us when it comes to clients giving them a jaded perspective. It’s an assumption but many clients these experts attract know who they are or come to know their status in the industry at some point. This gives them an advantage when communicating and convincing clients of their expert opinion, for us normo’s even the simple things are an uphill struggle. “Well you’re the experts, educate the clients” is what we’re told but that’s easier said than done, especially if you work in a company where you have managers or project managers to convince first.

The simple point I’m trying to get across is that web experts are able to use their position as experts in our industry to convince clients of more exotic approaches whilst the rest of us struggle to impose our view on the simple things such as colour and layout.

We’re not stupid

I know I’ve made assumptions and some of these things aren’t true for everyone but having an expert who you look up to telling you to stop complaining, just do it and get the client onboard isn’t helpful in the slightest and projects an air of arrogance and superiority above anything else.

When it comes to projects we do try our best to push the boundaries but we’re not stupid, we know the kind of clients we have, how far we can push them and what is possible, we don’t need telling we’re fantasising when we’re only being realists.