A few weeks before I started working for Intense I was still very much available for freelance work and I did quite a number. Then working here opened my mind to a world of corporate clients and I have since learnt a lot about how older more experienced people think and why a lot of times they never seem to agree with the young people.
Let’s talk about how this relates to web design in Nigeria:
Web design has changed a lot over the last 10 – 15 years, there was a time when Microsoft FrontPage websites were so awesome you were a king if you could do a FrontPage website with loads of underlined links and shadows and stuff like that. It was the trend. Gradually things got even better with HTML and CSS improvements and people started using software like Adobe Dreamweaver and better websites came and so on till the flat design period came. Followed by Metro and then Material design and now we are in this age where web designers now prefer to write all their code with text editors like Sublime text. Things have come that far… so far – I don’t remember the last time I used Dreamweaver – Must be at least a year now.
The point of my last paragraph was to point out how constant change is and how it is the element that fuels improvement. Inadvertently most aged designers who did not improve with the times recognize that things have changed and they have to improve one way or another. Then we come to the topic of aged clients – Here in Lagos (Nigeria) big companies do not expressly trust really young people to hold higher positions – most companies simply want experience. It does not really matter how bright or talented you are out of school, if you have no working experience with proof of employment for that period – you can’t get into certain work situations. It is that simple!
So if a big company called Movadex hires 43 year old Kamoru as their head of design and IT; bear in mind Kamoru is still quite impressed by the Microsoft FrontPage websites that were the trend in his day. Movadex then goes ahead to hire a website design company run by young vibrant designers that are proficient in Material design which is the new industry standard…..Kamoru will not be pleased.
At every turn Kamoru would ask for changes and “improvements” that would generally end up reverting to what he thinks is hip and cool which in turn translates to “poor design”. Please do not mistake my statement to mean that the older guys do not make good points sometimes, but you see the way the rigidness of the work relationship will be set up – you are either doing what you were asked to or you are losing the job. That simple! So this brings us back to the initial point – you recognize there is something wrong with the overall design quality of your product, you contact a vibrant web design company, but you end up making them change their beautiful new design to look similar to YOUR current “problematic” website or a competitor’s website. That is not what my dictionary defines as change or moving forward.
The problem goes a lot deeper than the staff; companies need to start giving golden opportunities to tested and certified young people. Who can actually move their products forward rather than simply maintain the mediocre standards that are currently in place. Without change a business will stagnate and eventually fail.