Web design and open source

9 10 2007

I’m very surprised to find in many places on the Internet so many sources of free templates, themes and graphic design for web sites. What made me think is that that kind of open source and free templates are definitively a problem for commercial designers. Then I found that I’m wrong.

When visiting some of the better elaborated works I found that the designers are actually making free and open source high quality templates only for promotion. On their web sites it is possible to see many great samples of their commercial work and it is really amazing what they are doing.

But until now looks like I said nothing new. Of course they can make free templates for promotion. But the huge difference with other kind of open source initiative is that the high quality is so obvious, because is graphical and visible in opposition to code development for example, that their templates can get famous very fast and that can offer designers many great possibilities. This is the case of WordPress themes and other kind of highly used services online.

Open source templates can help other professionals, like web developers, to use graphic design with correct code and integrate it with their web applications. One good sample of that is www.b4business.si, a community site in Slovenian language that uses an open source template (the same that this Blog is using!). What is different? The template is now integrated with a CMS system and instead of working in PHP works perfectly with .NET technologies. All the contents of the page are editable using the browser, no need of HTML or programming knowledge.

Opportunity: we would like to know web designers interested into integrate their designs with a CMS system. That means that your web sites could be completely editable using a web browser.

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2 responses

23 10 2009
Derek W. Hollar

Hi, my name is Derek W. Hollar and I am the owner of Wytheville Web Design. I just wanted to say that even though these “free templates” very well may be helping other companies I have found that it is thieving the life from my company. When I done a recent survey for the University I attend I found that the largest majority of people wanting a website almost always wanted free templates…This takes away from the smaller business’. Also the second largest problem was the sites that allow you to build your site online. Over 32% of the people I interviewed used one of these type methods of getting their own website for no cost!

23 10 2009
Jose Antonio Morales

Hello Derek and thanks for your feedback.
I would like to tell you that my company is a hosting company and we also design Web sites. And I had a similar feeling when I see the almost free hosting services and the almost free Web sites that exist in the market. I thought of them as a threat to my business.
Even more, I’m a Microsoft partner and I aways went toward a licensed software world in contrast with the Open Source model. Now Microsoft offers free hosting of emails, web sites and offers also many choices of design. The same than Google and many others. What to say about WordPress? a full CMS for free! Youtube, Adobe Acrobat online tools, etc.
And all that is not going to end soon, all the opposite.
Would you say then that Microsoft, the Open Source movement (Moodle, Joomla, WordPress), Linux and all other free services are thieving your company’s life?
I’m also a business owner. This year we passed hard times. We even saw some of our team moving to the competition.
I would encourage you to rethink your business model. maybe you are expecting to receive money for the wrong concept. Maybe you should get advantage of the free templates (improving them, offering for free to your customers and charge for modifications, saving your time, etc). Small business are basically very flexible and capable of adapting to new market conditions. If you are thinking to push the market to adapt you will have a hard time. Creativity, managed risk, innovation and clear business models are the criteria to set your company in the right path.
Young students charge small companies around 100 eur for a Web site (around here) so how can I compete with them?! Actually I found out that they are not my competition. I would not like to be in a Rat’s race.
Good luck!

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