Monthly Archives: January 2017

Outsourcing Web Development

In this recession hit period, due to stringent budgets and lack of professional expertise, these organizations are moving to countries like India for web development. Good IT infrastructure and high level of English speaking employees is another reason for these organizations to come to India for their web development. Moreover web development companies in India are changing their working hours so that difference in time zone does not prove to be a hindrance for both parties while communicating with each other.

There are number of advantages of web development in India:

Reduced Development Cost

Web application development at reduced cost is the key reason for organizations to offshore their development work to India. Organizations in Developed countries like U.S, U.K, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Sweden etc find it very expensive to develop web applications at their own workplace because of high wages. Suppose Development of web application in their own country cost them 100,000 dollars than in India it will cost them round about 40,000 dollars. Henceforth they appoint offshore website Development Company from India for their work.

Highly Skilled Developers

Cost benefit is major factor driving organizations to India but apart from that access to highly skilled and experienced web developers is also a major factor for these companies to transfer their work to web development companies in India. This skilled web developers use their creativity and experience to develop web applications that meet your business requirement.

Focus on Core Competency to Maximize Profit

Once you have appointed Web Development Company for handling web based work you get extra time to explore those fields which until now have been untouched. You get two benefits, first is your development cost is reduced as wages in India are low and second is you can maximize profit by focusing on your main work area. So it proves to be a win-win situation for organizations who appoint web development companies from India.

Timeliness:

Time is one of the key factors during application development. Web Development Company in India is capable to deliver successful web applications on time with high level of accuracy attached to the project.

Quality Work:

Professional web developers develop web applications or websites for your organization. This web developers use all their experience to develop high quality web applications that meet all your requirements.

Scalable Applications:

Thorough requirement analysis of your business needs is carried out to plan and develop applications that can be used for a long time and can be modified easily in future at a very nominal cost.

Development in various fields:

A large number of web development companies in India specialize in a wide range of verticals. Some areas where web application development is possible are Banking, Medical, Hotel, Ecommerce, Finance, Marketing, Retail etc. Web developers in India have a high quality of domain and technical expertise. Hence they are capable to develop web applications of high complexity regardless of field it will be used.

Is Your Web Developer a Cowboy?

What do you think of your web developer?

Over the last few years we have quietly, but at every opportunity, been asking this question to business owners, marketing directors and executives responsible for their company website whether for commissioning, developing or maintaining their online presence. We also asked if they were happy with the website that the developer had provided, or if they thought it was bringing tangible benefit to their business. The responses were sharply divided. It seems that the businesses’ experience of Web developers is like Marmite: you either love them or hate them.

Shockingly, over 80% of respondents reported a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ experience of working with a website developer or designer. Many made comments that were very uncomplimentary toward their web developers. Some stated that they felt they had been, “Taken for a ride,” by those who had either baffled them with technology and jargon, or had – deliberately or otherwise – raised their expectations beyond what was feasible with the investment they were making. One had invested tens of thousands with a web development company to build an online presence for their business and now has a website that not only makes no contribution to any business objective, neither has it produced a single enquiry. The overall impression that we gained from our research to date and a term used by more than one unhappy respondent was that web developers are: “A load of cowboys.”

These poor experiences have a knock-on effect, not just for those who have been unhappy with their outcomes but for the web development and internet marketing industries as a whole. It results in an increased conviction that all web developers were likely to be the same, and that there was no-one out there who could be trusted. In addition, the inclination to invest any further resources and capital on online promotion of their business was greatly reduced. “We’ve done that and it didn’t work,” was a common response.

What do the web developers have to say?

To balance the picture we also surveyed web developers and web design companies to see if we could identify what had created this tale of woe from businesses.

Many were unaware of the situation and some were quite frank in their derision of business owners. Common responses included

  • “They don’t know what they are doing,”
  • “We’re not telepathic you know!”
  • “They don’t understand what is involved.”
  • “We never get the right information.”
  • “They keep changing their minds, often before the previous changes are completed.”

Each side seemed to blame the other for what might be interpreted as a straightforward breakdown in communication.

So why does this happen? There are no doubt numerous reasons, but focusing on the communication issue, we asked the web developers if they ever asked for, or received, a web design brief from their clients. The majority response was: “Rarely!” The design briefs received mostly consisted of a single page of vague information that lacked the detail and specifics required. Although they usually included requests for things that far exceeded the budget or amount the business owner was willing to spend and were full of wish lists and ‘good’ ideas that require bespoke development or even new technology (for the words ‘bespoke’ and ‘new’, read – interchangeably – ‘difficult’ and ‘expensive’)!

So whose job is it?

Isn’t it part of the web developers’ job to write the brief? Actually, no it isn’t, it is the responsibility of the business owner to communicate their requirements, their goals, their current situation and future plans. After all, as more than one developer pointed out, “We’re are not telepathic you know!”

In addition, the pressure of trying to keep a small web development business running (let alone in profit) in this ever increasingly competitive industry means that there is no time or other resources to be teaching the business owner how to write a web design brief, even though it would create a better outcome for everyone. For the majority of situations, there is often no clear or effective communication, more a case of asking questions of the business owner – which they often don’t understand clearly, which is no-ones fault – to get some sort of outline and then on with the job of designing and building the website.

Our experience – Web developer

Our experience indicates that the majority of web developers really want to do the best job they can for their clients.

They have the skills and knowledge to build websites that could work for their clients’ businesses. They have the equipment and resources to carry out the work. We also observe however that there are web developers who mistake the functionality of the software that they use for their own creative skills. Ultimately over a period of more than a decade we have encountered very few who would deliberately, “Take their client for a ride,” as some businesses have claimed.

Our experience – Businesses

Websites for businesses create a particular quandary for the business owner, manager or similar. There seems to be a huge barrier of technology and jargon to break through to be able to even speak the same language as the web development world. In addition, it is very difficult for anyone without extended experience to make any kind of value judgement about what is good or bad. Consider a different situation: whether you eat in a restaurant often or not, because you do eat every day, if you go into a restaurant, it is possible to make some kind of judgement as to whether you had a good experience, whether the food was good, whether the service was acceptable or excellent. Of course this is subjective to your own preferences and experiences, but at least you understand what a restaurant is, what it is supposed to do or be for and so on.

In our survey we ask a further question of businesses: “What is your website for, why did you get a website?” Very few offered any kind of clear response, the most common being: “Because we needed a website,” or “Because our competitors had one.” We also hear: “To generate sales/leads/enquiries etc.” quite often, which is at least focused on business, but is nowhere near specific enough to be called an objective.

If it is not common for businesses to even understand what the website is for, or why they are getting one developed, how can it be possible for them to make a judgment on what is good or bad, other than it produces no results. Even this judgement requires something to measure the results – or lack thereof – against.

Management by abdication

In so many cases the business abdicates responsibility for the website to a web developer in the mistaken belief that ‘they know best’. While the web developer knows about websites, they are likely to know little or nothing about the client’s business and even less about the customers who will use the website. Together with the lack of communication between the web developer and the business owner it is not difficult to see why so many websites are poorly designed, deliver bad user experiences and ultimately poor or no results for the business.

Is there a solution

The first step to a solution is to address the communication problem. It is clear that there must be effective communication and the first stage of this would normally take the form of a clear and concise website design brief.

The website design brief

The last time we reported on web design briefs we had surveyed 57 web development companies, further surveying has now brought this number to nearly 100. While everyone does it slightly differently, they all had information requirements in common.

Remember that:

  • The document needs to be clear and concise,
  • The document is prepared for someone outside your business who doesn’t necessarily know anything about your business or industry. Even if they claim to have worked in your industry before, unless they are specialists, then you should assume nothing.

Its purpose is to state clearly your requirements, including:

  • A profile of your business, its existing image, brand and products or other offerings including future plans
  • The objectives of the site – stated clearly in terms that can be measured, not woolly ‘to generate enquiries’ or similar, think detail and be specific.
  • The target market – who will be the users of the site, what will be their requirements?
  • Functionality requirements – often expressed as an outline, and as a business owner you may not be able to describe this well, but for example, do you require online payments and if so are you already accepting credit cards in your business. – remember, adding functionality usually increases cost far more than increasing the number of pages in the site.
  • The scale and scope of the development project – how big, how many pages, who will provide what and so on.
  • What are the project constraints, budget, timescale etc.

This document is not a wish list (although you could include things that you would like to do as well as but not instead of the above), it is the document that the developer works to and effectively forms part of your contract with them and is therefore subject to discussion and revision before being finalised.

In conclusion

The commissioning of a website is a much bigger project than appears at the beginning. Websites are not ‘job-and-finish’ projects. You need to form a good relationship with your web developer because you will be working with them for a long time, and the first step to a successful relationship is sorting out the communication. It is your business, if you have articulated clearly what you want, why your business needs it, and provided all the information the developer requires including realistic expectations, budgets and timescales then if it isn’t delivered to the brief then you can blame the web developer. Otherwise accept that it is your problem, not their fault that they are not telepathic.

Furthermore, you need to take responsibility for the project, but also recognise that the development of a website is a team game, not something to be simply handed over and then moaned about when it was not quite what you were thinking of.

Last word

If you are serious about selling online or using the internet to promote your business it is important to recognise that you need to make a considerable investment of time and effort or you might as well take your money and simply thrown up in the air!

Beware of Freelance Web Developers and Designers

Plenty of startup companies are seeking their web presence through a simple website or an interactive web portal. To accomplish the web development task they try to find the resources on internet. They search for resources using keywords like freelance web developer, freelance web development or freelance web designers. Either they end up seeing some blog of freelancer or they reach to the freelance heaven websites like rentacoder, getacoder, getafreelancer, elance or odesk. Such sites have millions of cheap freelancers registered with them. You may put a project and you can get as many as 50-100 bids for your project in a day. This sounds fascinating initially but it’s just a beginning of process. The trouble starts now. Here are few difficulties you will face at initial stage.

1. You have overwhelming bids that makes the choice difficult for you.

2. Every one of them tells you that they are the best, but hardly few of them are actually telling the truth.

3. You may not find just one freelance web developer meets all your needs, Mr. A meets 50% matching requirements and Mr. B and Mr. C meets 25% each, that increases your troubles.

SO finally you selected someone with all your agreements on price and estimate, now you may see the second largest pool of difficulties

1. The communication is a major issue, the freelancer does not reply emails on time and neither do they remain online all the day because they have their full time jobs elsewhere (that jobs pay the full time income)

2. The freelancer is a lone person but the project of web development needs different skills like project requirement analysis, design the website mockup, HTML conversion, programming in PHP or.Net, quality test and delivery. Normally not one person does all. This invites problem #3

3. The freelancer either asks you to manage other resources for him or he goes and finds other freelancers to help him; that comes on higher price. So you waste lot of time while your selected freelance web designer is busy finding help for him.

4. As I said in point #1, most of the freelancers have their full time jobs, such jobs demand lot of time and energy, so freelance web designers or developers work on odd hours or they just do not work on some days when they are busy with their full time jobs. Such behavior causes further delay to your project delivery.

5. You may come across various excuses for not delivering of your projects, some common excuses are “I am not well since few days”, some emotional excuses like “My mother/father/daughter/wife is not well so I am in hospital”. Such excuses are emotional blackmailing techniques that can make you believe that the freelancer is in trouble while he is actually trying to buy some more time.

6. Most of the Freelance web developers are over loaded with work because of their cheap hourly rates. Such overloading can make you suffer the delay in your web development project. That increase more frustration.

7. The major problem you could come across is that the freelancer disappears after you paid him advance money for your project. Certain freelancers have many accounts created on odesk, elance, getacoder, rentacoder, getafreelancer kind of websites, so they would stop responding you and neither do they will return your initial money.

So your plan of saving money could end up losing money and time, losing time is more expensive than losing money.

How do you prevent this, here are simple reasons to select a small web development company compared to a freelance web developer.

1. The company has long term plan, so web development companies are professional.

2. Company has many resources for web design, web development, quality testing and deployment so your project never suffers a delay.

3. Company has a legal name, legal offices so web development companies can sign a contract with you, a freelancer never signs a contract or signing contract with freelancer has no meaning.

4. A web development company has many back resources so even if some developer or designer does not show up, the company can replace them with other developers, your work never suffer.

5. A web development company takes money on milestones, so your money and project both are secure.

6. Most important point is communication. You can get a good communicating people in web development companies because the manager is always a well experienced person; he takes all responsibilities of problems and payments.

Above all its peace of mind when you work with web development companies, it comes at little extra cost but with lot of amenities as described above.

Why You Should Not Do Freelance Web Development or Design

This is a letter of suggestion for all freelance web developers on behalf of Web Development companies in India. Freelance web designing or web application development is good to earn an extra income for you but it has various adverse effects on the economy in India. The following effects can ruin India from various aspects.

1. Freelance Web Designers are independent so they are charging very cheap rates for web designing; this brings down the market rates of the same work. Web application Development companies cannot beat the rates offered by freelancers. Ultimately a new company could die prematurely or cannot survive longer. County loses a business unit and development of business stops.

2. Freelancers work on projects to earn extra income, but they are hardly interested to pay taxes on it, so they ask for payment through various alternate methods, such methods are cash payments. Freelancers do not pay taxes on cash income. The country like India loses the tax income, if it would have been web Development Company, they would have paid taxes on income.

3. An Individual web developer works for money and not for reputation, so if the web application project of client fails, they are not responsible but the receiving client gets the bad impression of Indian web development industry. Sometimes overseas clients never return because of one bad experience with freelance web developers.

4. A lot of freelance web developers are not even experienced when they start offering their service to the overseas clients. The client believes that India is very cheap so project is assigned to inexperienced freelancers. Finally a Web Application developed by Freelance Web Developer is either a crap or unstable, otherwise a web development company could have made a good experience for client.

5. A Web Development Company establishes a business unit and they expect honest developers in the company. If you are a freelance web developer and still working with a company, then you are trying to cheat your current company that pays for your livelihood.