Steve Dix...Comedian?

Raptus Regaliter

A prime example of it all going pear-shaped.

09.02.2007 08:03 - Photoshop Jockeys and How To Spot Them.

There is a variety of idiot that likes to call itself a "Webdesigner", when in truth it is little more than a photoshop jockey. These idiots used to be ten a penny, and used to make a lot of money. These days, fortunately, you don't see them. Much.

Photoshop jockeys are little more than people who have learnt to use photoshop : they don't know anything about graphic design, but what they do know is how to make a pretty picture. Unfortunately, some of them think that because they can make pretty pictures, that makes them a web-designer.

It doesn't.

You can usually recognize sites designed by these people. They're very heavy on graphics. Worse still, they're completely and utterly programmed in flash, because they want to hide the fact that they haven't got a clue about HTML or anything else that matters in the net commerce world. Flash websites are a bad idea, because they don't index, and these days, getting indexed by Google is everything. Flash bells and whistles are pretty, but they're a cold comfort when you're trying to sell stuff, and failing, because no-one ever visits your site.

This sort of person can be noticed by their insistence on stupid minor details, such as the background not quite being the right shade - the right shade being supplied as a pantone index which is impossible to match via HTML colouring. These people insist on headings being done as graphics. Usually graphics which contain an important index word, which when rendered as standard text in a heading would bring Google advertisers flocking. As a worst case, these people will render their content as a series of large jpegs containing text, because "the standard HTML fonts don't look cool enough."

A case in point. I once had the misfortune to work on a project which was beset with a number of ills, CORBA being one of them, an incompetent programmer being another. He'd been told to use a templating system, and so had written one - an extremely simple one where the template contained an empty body block, in which he would write huge amounts of html as a massive string. Talk about missing the point. I had to throw out practically everything he'd done.

The main problem, though, was the photoshop-jockey web designerette. This... person had hired us to realise her "design" (read : pretty photoshop slides) for a complex loan-approval system. The photoshop jockey hadn't got a clue about forms, validation or anything. We implimented the system to the best of our ability, eventually having to go directly to the customer to learn the really important things like what data they wanted and how it needed to be validated. Meanwhile, the photoshop jockey was busily sending out memos telling us we hadn't got the right shade of turquoise on the site.

Did I mention the shade of turquoise?

The whole site was turquoise. It was also designed to run at a cramped size of 640x400, which was the size of the huge lump of animated flash embedded in it. This flash would, at a time when dialup was the majority connection, introduce the services of the bank by a long and pointless animation. It would also take up to ten minutes to download. This, and other problems (the fact that we hadn't got the right pantone shade of turquoise) was blamed upon us, the developers, by the web designerette, who would constantly complain about our incompetence. She, apparently, had got the job due to personal acquaintance with the boss of the loan company. How personal, I don't know.

Things rapidly came to a head. She would tell us to take out stuff, such as important form fields, because they weren't in her design. The loan company computer people would tell us to put them back in. A meeting was arranged at our offices. Great pains were taken to avoid me, the rest of the dev team, and the designerette being in the same room, for fear of blood being shed, or defenestration, or worse. It didn't stop us catching a glimpse of her though.

She was dressed in turquoise, from head to foot. The exact same turquoise we'd had enormous trouble to match.

It was then I realised I was in the presence of a fucking nutter, and that no amount of rational argument would work.

Which is probably why they didn't want me in the same room as her, especially with anything sharp to hand.

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