Jack of all trades web designers

I read….scratch that, I scanned through an article today about the best way (according to the author) to create forms for you website. I won’t mention where, because that isn’t important. Neither is who wrote it.

It was some tutorial on how to use this web application called Wufoo, which from the sounds of it, does all the hard work for you. Creates the css, xhtml, and parses the data from the form created. Sounds great, right? That was my first thought, but five seconds later, I changed my mind.

Why Jeremy? Why is this bad for heaven’s sake? It does all the work for you! My answer…because it does the work for you. I’m not saying short cuts and what not are bad, I’m saying there is too much of this sort of thing. I really dislike the idea of web designers being a jack of all trades. No one becomes good at any one thing. They just sort of start packing all this nonsense into there sites, but they don’t know how to do it themselves. To me, that is dangerous.

What if you designed a site for a client using…saaaaay…a jQuery slider. You don’t know jquery, but you DO know how to paste in a simple javascript tag linking to the library, and paste in the code for the slider in the html. Now say, the client says “Jeez Mr/Mrs. Designer, that is awesome…now make it do this!”

Only, you have NO idea how to make it do that. Now what? I’m sure you have an answer for me, pointing out that you can find a plugin to make it do whatever you need it to do. That is great, but there will come a day where you can’t. And you my friend, will be screwed.

This Wufoo thingy helps support just that. You have people that are great at nothing, but ok in a lot of stuff. I’d like to know too, what that type of designer puts on his/her resume for skill sets and such. In my example, you certainly cannot put jQuery down.

My point is, I think designers should try to be really good in at least one thing, be it Actionscript, Javascript, PHP…whatever, just something. Because anyone can be ok at the rest.

Oh and just for reference, I used the jQuery example because I have been guilty of that. I am trying to correct that now by learning javascript. I suggest getting good at something too! Fell free to criticize.

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