Every business has an ethical aspect to it – they’re not written rules that must be obeyed to the letter; rather, they’re unspoken values and principles that each of us choose to follow or ignore based on our own sense of right and wrong. One man’s meat is definitely another’s poison when it comes to ethics – actions that are as comfortable as a second skin to some people could cause goose bumps on the skin of others. At the end of the day, it all boils down to what we can live with and what makes us squirm with guilt; there are no shades of black or white, only varying shades of grey in the world of ethics.
When web design meets ethics, there are certain invisible lines that are drawn; it is tacitly understood that designers must not cross these. However, some choose to blatantly do so while others surreptitiously move the line further away from them so that they give the impression of staying within it even though they know they’ve crossed it – it is their way of assuaging their conscience and fooling themselves into believing that what they’re doing is right.
The biggest ethical error…
…that web designers can make is to steal someone else’s design and claim it as their own – some stop short of using other people’s designs in their portfolio while others have no qualms about tweaking them a little here and there and passing them off as their own.
Another way to cheat clients…
…is to give them a design that is hard to maintain or update, especially if the designer hasn’t signed on to look after maintenance aspects. They know they’re leaving behind certain chaos for their successor, however, they just don’t care.
How often have designers…
…been found guilty of overcharging their clients, especially the ones who don’t know anything about the web and the going rate for designs? It’s these designers without morals or scruples who also charge for an original design but end up providing their clients with templates that are glossed over, knowing fully well that the client will not know the difference.
Some designers don’t even consider…
…ensuring that their site meets standards when they design them – the client is usually unaware that there is something called a web standard. And by the time they find out that their site is not compliant, the web designer is long gone.
As in every business, web design too sees its share of people who have no ethics at all; while they do bring the entire industry a bad name at first, it’s only a matter of time before the bad pennies are identified and blacklisted. It’s hard to continue to scam people on the web and get away with it, simply because the network of communication is so effective that bad news travels really fast. So if web designers wish to remain in the industry and flourish respectably, they must pay heed to the ethical aspect of design.
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