Designers: Stop using Wix and SquareSpace

I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

Speech from Network

I keep looking at designer portfolios. One after the other, after the other, after the other.

ALL OF THE PORTFOLIOS ARE THE SAME!

Glen, Mar 1, 2019

When I see a portfolio, I can describe them all pretty specifically. It’s a list of projects usually as squares or rectangles with an image in them. Each project has a long scrolling page. The navigation (if there even is one) is not easy to use. There is an About Me page. It says the same thing, over and over. It’s like I am in Groundhog’s day!

Why is this happening?

One reason is that MANY designers are using Wix or Squarespace to make their sites. They choose one of the themes, which all look the same. Designers keep saying “Go minimal, no colors, no artistry” and they all end up in the same place. I believe professors and mentors are all saying “Do it like this”.

Even people who make their own websites are copying Wix and Squarespace and ending up with the same “lowest common denominator” websites. There is never interactivity, never interesting transitions, never dynamic anything. They are boring and dull!

Additionally, designers aren’t realizing that their core mission and personas change. In school, you mission is to get a good grade and your persona is your professor. After school, your mission is to get a job and your persona is the hiring manager. You have to change the site once your persona and mission changes.

Attention Designers!

Your website serves a purpose. It is selling a product. The product is YOU.

You are a designer, you need to design an experience (not just a website!) that sells your product (YOU). You have a buyer persona. It’s the hiring managers.

How would you approach this design if you were paid to do it? You would interview samples of your persona, right? You would care about standing out, being noteworthy, being interactive. You would spend time on interaction design. You would spend time on use cases. You would iterate and get feedback.

Developer Help

You might not have technical skills. Fine. Go to http://upwork.com and find a reliable engineer to build your site for $10/hr. No matter how complicated you make your site, they can build it in less than 20 hours. Really go to town. Make it a full blown application. Menus, buttons, drag and drop. Get Inspired!

Get Inspired!

Look at the cool things on Codrops. Imagine showing your work with cool transitions! Look at these cool navigation treatments! You can’t use a Wix or Squarespace template and have this. You likely have to build it from scratch. If you can program it yourself, great. If not, or if you don’t have time, then get the UpWork help. The point is, stop settling for the lowest common denominator site. It’s boring and not a good experience.

Summary

I can’t emphasize this enough. Your site is the only thing you will ever design that you can do whatever you want. No one controls your site but you. You don’t need to collaborate with product management. You don’t need to make executives happy. It’s up to you. Only you.

If you are a teacher of HCI or design, please stop telling designers to do the minimum. Tell them, “You site has got to be awesome! It’s got to be cool! AND it has to show your work!” Teach them to be unique and authentic. Teach them how to design a great experience!

</soapbox rant>

3 thoughts on “Designers: Stop using Wix and SquareSpace

  1. Hi Glen, just read it. I can feel your anger and I am ashamed about my website as it is exactly the same as you described. And you are right — junior designers just out of school almost did not recognize how much they need to change their website to ensure a good user experience for changed personas. I plan to change my website after reading this, alongside with getting more experience from working on my first industry project at my first job. Please keep posting these helpful blogs. I do appreciate it a lot.

    1. Im glad it was helpful, but don’t feel ashamed. It’s just learning and growing. Keep growing and never feel ashamed. Just keep getting better. 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing! I agree designers should have portfolio that be able to reflect their personality, and I never thought I could hire developer to make a website for me, would definitely do it

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