Just about anyone can create a web presence with a DIY blog and other low-end online tools. And some of those are quite fancy. This trend of eliminating barriers to web entry worries web designers and programmers. The competition is not other programmers, but blogs and social sites. Like movies competing with restaurants for entertainment dollars. This competition is of such extreme emotional frenzy it causes a piranha effect among web designers.
The Motive to Kill Low-tech Websites
Programmers and IT people seem enthusiastic to kill legacy or low-tech website production. They mock it’s non-conformity to future standards that don’t exist yet. Why? Fear! As the level of understanding and knowledge increases in the general web-sphere, the magic of building websites is diminished. This decreases perceived value—or market worth. To increase value, programmers must embrace and push more sophisticated programming techniques, web standards, buzz vocabulary, and peddle dizzy benefits—even when something simpler would do. There is no motive to simplify. Standards geeks would be appalled at such a cheap accusation as pay scale motivation! But I can see little other reason than money. I don’t believe in the idealist altruism they claim of “Making the Web a Better Place.” Cognitive dissonance at it’s best.
Web Fee Erosion: Client’s Get Smart
Programmers and web designers are generally not in favor of fast, old-fashioned sites because they then would be paid less. Especially if they charge by an hourly rate—or even by lines of code. Feature creep, mystery, and site bloat are necessary evils for keeping prices high. The customer doesn’t usually know they’re buying an over-engineered website because of their own web anxiety. The more web savvy the client, the less likely they will buy fluffy features purely on recommendation or speculation of future need. There will be more future erosion of prices and economic hard times. Who will be ready to compete?
Avoiding the Forever Learning Spiral
One of my biggest peeves, is why would I, as a web engineer, keep pushing uphill on a steep learning curve when it’s not necessary for good-enough end results. I can master the web for marketing communication purposes at Pareto’s “80%”—if I limit my palette. Perfect—100% technical knowledge—is unnecessary overkill -aka diminishing returns. Each web technology has ideas to skim and use but that doesn’t mean embracing the whole kit and caboodle. For what purpose? Just so I can say “I know it all.” Whoopee! The goal with low-tech is facilitating faster production. Marketing departments want to reduce the time to test ideas and products. Low-tech websites are faster, more measurable testing with smaller investment. They’re not coding monuments—but adaptive tools.
Creativity Can Run Amok
Innovation requires limitations. Low-tech simplicity forces limitations on the design. Creativity and innovation are not the same thing. Creativity requires freedom. Innovation requires profits. My formula is C=1/$ or Creativity is the Inverse of Dollars. This forces creativity to be constrained by hours, money, talent, etc. Then I can evaluate the appropriateness of a whole construction process—not just artwork.
Benefits of Low-tech Websites
Entrepreneurs are risk averse. They have few resources to waste. They must have a win “out of the gates.” No second chance. Low-tech is the answer for many of those problems. I’ve seen companies spend years developing gold-plated, over-engineered, bloated websites. These could have been built incrementally with low-tech in sections and accelerated completion time. By minimizing investment, pieces become disposable. Unfortunately, once a corporate authority site is built, management is frequently hooked. They are so heavily invested / addicted, they can’t bear to let go. Low-tech allows for more message experimentation without anxiety or commitment.
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