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I rarely have clients ask me to design full websites for them, but I think I'm about to be asked to.

I have very little knowledge of coding and the idea of creating an entire interactive website is daunting. Not to mention my slow learning curve as I go would impact the client's timeline.

Is it "bad" or "cheating" to use a website building template such as Wix or Squarespace?

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    I think this question is a bit opinion-based and not a great fit for this site, but I use WordPress every chance I can. I can literally build an entire website in a matter of hours, maybe longer depending on the complexity. That being said, WordPress can have a steep learning curve, if you really want to get into the PHP and fully customize your site. – Manly Nov 10 '16 at 16:09
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    If you design but don't develop and you want to deliver a good quality website there's only one answer: hire a developer. You can charge them to the client with a small commission/finder's fee. Granted you may not make a great amount from it, but you'll also be outsourcing the bulk of the work which would free you up to take on more design projects while your dev finishes that one. Additionally, quality work is better in the long term for gaining future projects and repeat custom. – Dom Nov 10 '16 at 16:22
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    @dom I think that should be posted as an answer to this question. Re: the question, it's perfectly fine to use templates to fill in the skeleton of what you are trying to do. As you work, it should/will turn into its own thing. – Scribblemacher Nov 10 '16 at 16:34
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    Of course it is not "cheating" or "bad". And I am not sure hiring a dev is the best place to start. Choose your framework with care, and do some research on their flexibility (I use Wordpress). – benteh Nov 10 '16 at 16:44
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    I personally think someone who doesn't know how to develop shouldn't be taking on professional, commercial projects as a developer would. Speaking from experience, it's very difficult to deliver on time and within your budget when you don't even know what's required in the process. – Dom Nov 10 '16 at 17:43
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What is probably "cheating" are two factors, in my opinion.

One:

I have very little knowledge of coding

It is one thing to design a website (which can be done in Photoshop, Corel, Ilustrator, Indesign, etc) and another to develop the site, which undeniably needs a basic understanding of some types of coding and markup (HTML is not coding, it is markup).

And Two: I am pretty sure that the terms and conditions of Wix do not include "taking" their templates to be used outside the site.


That said, on this planet, at this time nothing is developed from ground 0, especially websites. Developers take advantage of a lot of development already done. Frameworks, design guides, design trends, stock photography, stock images, fonts... and templates.

Make a real aggregated value to your work. If you do not aggregate "too much" creativity, you can of course charge your client for your "know how". But you really need to learn how to code. Again, you will be using a lot of pre-made resources, but you still need to know how to use the tools.

Part of this work could be taking the time to choose a proper template suitable for the client, considering both functionality and style. But either use a free one (with the proper credit according to the terms and conditions of the template) or a paid one.

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As an observatory note, I am noticing that more and more designers are being asked and expected to learn some form of coding to support the requests of clients with regards to web design. It's challenging if you don't have any development background.

Now in terms of whether utilizing an existing service like Wix is cheating, I think that you need to look at it not from whether it feel likes "cheating" to you, but rather look at it from the big picture - you are being asked to provide a service to a client. If it is up to you to evaluate your client's requirements and then evaluate the technologies used to achieve the desired result in order to choose a product, there will be several factors that will shape your decision on how to proceed. You may find that Wix, for example, meets all requirements and may choose that solution. It is valuable to note that developer/designer time is also a cost factor for you and client too, so something that is relatively quick and easy to spin up - Wix, WordPress, etc. - might be of huge value to the customer and they may not care that it is an existing service.

As a Developer/Designer I understand the internal guilt you may feel not doing something from scratch. As developers, we are taught to build reusable elements so that we're not wasting our time re-inventing the wheel. As designers, we want to build functional and easy to user interfaces that look good. Evaluate your clients needs in terms of functionality, design, cost, availability, using an existing services, future growth plans, etc. and then evaluate the solution paths or products out there. If utilizing an existing services makes the most sense for your client, I wouldn't call this 'cheating' I would call it a 'win' as you are meeting your client's needs in an efficient manner.

  • Not just designers quite a lot of people are in fact required to learn and do small scripts & stuff. While it may not be suprising that statiticians, physicists, mathematicians need to know how to code we are now at a point where nearly all ocupation needs this from engineers to machinist, from history PhD students to shool teachers. Simply a result of the ubiquity of computers. If you go to school/uni todayand dont learn to do so you are obsolete by the time you hit the job market. – joojaa Nov 11 '16 at 6:47

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