Altruistic web design, building a portfolio and generating new business | August 6, 2003
There seems to be a bit of a movement at the moment of web designers creating accessible and standards complaint versions of well known websites.
Recently Matthew Somerville created an accessible version of the Odeon website. I use the Odeon website often, and am constantly amazed about how tricky it is to use, so think Matthew has done a great job.
Now while these redesigns were motivated by nothing more than alturism and a belief in good web design, I can see people jumping on the bandwagon for more practical reasons.
It's very difficult for people stating out in the business to build a credible portfolio of work. Many offer free or cheap websites in order to build a portfolio. However this has the tendency to devalue web design as a profession and make it harder on everybody to earn a living.
A more sensible and less damaging approach is to create example sites that actually look like real sites but are there just to demonstrate ones skills. Some people have gone further with this and started creating example sites for a specific market and selling these sites on e-bay as ready made 'turn-key' sites.
However I think a really proactive approach would be for budding web designers with time on their hands to create versions of well known websites that address issues like usability, accessibility and web standards, and then pitch them to the site owners
If I worked in a big company and a freelance web designer came to me and told me what was wrong with my site I'd probably either ignore it or take note and then get my £2000 a day London agency to rebuild it. However if the same person came to me with a fully working prototype of the site that looked great and fixed all the issues I'm damned sure I'd take note.
Posted at August 6, 2003 8:28 PM