Do I make mistakes? Yes I do!
For a couple of years now the most embarrassing thing for our product web site SubMain.com was its design. When we were launching our first product two years ago I only had couple of nights to put together a web site. Mistake #1 - while we have put time for the Betas, bug fixing, etc, we should've not discounted the importance of the web site design and planned more time for that.
I said to myself back then "Don't worry it doesn't look good, we will redesign to make it look better in a month or two when we have some 'breathing' space on our schedule". Mistake #2 - this never happens! There is always something that pops to the top of extensive to-do list, something that requires immediate attention.
And Mistake #3 - I should've not designed the web site myself, I should've hired professional designer! Yes, I've been a developer for over 15 years, designed and developed many Windows applications - from (rather) small developer tools to large enterprise systems. I also developed web apps - vbCity.com and DevCity.NET - but these are different from a product web site, both vbCity and DevCity.NET are developer community sites and their unprofessional and a little geeky design works out sort of OK.
I absolutely agree with Ian Landsman:
... you need a professional designer. You need to get your logo's, website templates, and interface designed by a professional who understands color combinations, fonts, etc. If you don't look professional you aren't professional.
Well, they say, smart people learn from others mistakes. I must be dumb then as I can learn only from my own mistakes.
But I digress...
Do I learn from my mistakes? Yes, I do!
With two new developer products coming out - CodeIt.Once and CodeIt.Right - it is just about time to finally redesign SubMain web site.
And, no, this time I'm doing that myself nor I'm going to go with one of those nameless and faceless "i-m-cheap-i-have-4-standard-designs-i-use-for-everyone-you-pick-which-one-of-them-you-want" ventures. Well, you get what you paid for...
I'm going with a designer who has Name and recognition in the (design) industry as well as great portfolio!
As the question pop up I already the Name in mind - Dmitry Kirsanov! Or as .netArt Magazine calls him -The web designer who came from the cold - referring to the fact that Dmitry comes from Russia.
Dmitry runs Dmitry Kirsanov Studio and writes monthly Design Lab column for webreference.com.
I first learned about Dmitry years ago from his "Web Design" book (in Russian) I ordered from Russian publisher and had it shipped over to the States. I loved the book! Doesn't mean I learned to design - there are lots of people who read programming books but only some of them become good developers ;-)
That was long time ago... Since then Dmitry co-authored HTML Unleashed book and recently published his own book XSLT 2.0 Web Development (both in English). He also moved to Canada which significantly simplified the payment aspect (those who went through a hassle making payments to Russia will understand) and communication (I haven't written a single email in Russian in over 6 years).
As for the rates - you'll be surprised Kirsanov Studio rates are comparable to those "i-will-design-your-web-site-so-it-will-look--just-like-million-other-sites-on-the-net"
So, cut to the chase, I emailed Dmitry about a week ago and next day I called him to describe what I want. I was amazed Dmitry picked up on the Sub Main() name idea right away - yes, he is also a developer. We agreed to start with the logo.
Few days later I received drafts of 7(!) custom logos for SubMain - from simple to very sophisticated. I picked one of the simpler ones - that's what I liked, anyway :) And we went for another couple of rounds of "polishing" the logo.
And today ... [Drum Roll] ... let me introduce the new logo!
Meanwhile, we are moving to the most exciting part - the web site design!
To be continued...