Portfolio-Driven Web Designers – Hand Over the SEM Keys Please

While every web professional has skills that matter, I am pretty sure that SEM is the most important single skill needed to grow a web business – and it is a specialty that you must focus on. I thought Mark Jackson’s two articles from the past week or so were absolutely brilliant in this vein, and wanted to call attention to them.

Designers Often Overestimate Users’ Abilties

Jakob Nielsen’s latest Alertbox post “Bridging the Designer-User Gap” is almost a follow up to the “Myth of the Genius Designer” which I consider one of my favorites from him.

Red emphasis mine.
….There’s a big gap between designers and the majority of users. …. Generally, if you’re a member of a design team, you are not representative of the target audience. I don’t care if you’re the interaction designer, the graphics artist, the information architect, the writer, the programmer, or the marketer. All of these people:

know too much about the product (be it a website, intranet, application, phone, whatever);
are too skilled in using computers and the Web in general; and
care too much about their own baby (so they can’t imaging visitors bouncing after scanning the homepage for 30 seconds — but that’s what outside users do).

– Jakob Nielsen

Who’s Your Site For, Anyway?

Bill Dotson called out a great article about professional service firms. It’s spot on about how such firms approach their website. They want the partners in the firm to like it – after all, partners agree on the marketing budget, so why not get them involved in the design? Surely someone who works day-in and…