There’s a shortage of skills for advertising online

In this article by head of Hogwarth Worldwide, a global ad agency, Chris Ball expresses his concerns that we have a skills shortage in the advertising industry because now all the ad networks have ceased using flash, preferring HTML5. What grates me the most is that Creative Bloq are so content in having paid content that they didn’t at any point care to correct Chris in his entire statement that it is HTML5 that he is talking about when of course, he is not.

It is not HTML5 that is allowing animation, but the combination of html, css and javascript because really, what he is getting at is the ability to create animated banners.

He rightly points out that people don’t want to go into a career of creating banners, but want to make websites and comes up with an incredible solution.

By training up large numbers of relatively junior team members, we’ll ensure they’ll learn their skill and trade and we’ll be able to offer volume to our clients and get the production done more quickly.

But this is what the industry has done for almost two decades. Chris is forgetting, that before Flash became incredibly easy to throw assets at, and anyone could make basic banners, there were years of head scratching time and painstakingly challenge development of these short-lived adverts.  Before Action Script 3 came out (when I really started to enjoy Flash design), we were all  making banners with animated gifs and that was the same process. For a while it was hard to do and the cost was up based on time, then it became a bit easier to do in Photoshop and the cost went down.

There were plenty of companies paying like to churn out banners. it is soulless in all forms. As a creative person, or somebody being introduced to the working world of developing and designing for the web, to work on this kind of task along with other marketing crud like designed emails to juniors, can have crippling effects. Not only is it dull as dishwater, it’s frustrating to do, with so many bizarre constraints and more important to anyone wanting to make a living from web design, the code you use for this type of work is not suitable for anything else whatsoever. After my own recent experiences of creating adverts for use on the Google Display networks for a Clearleft conference I can say that extends to what is accepted and not within adblocks.

I sincerely hope that as Chris observes, Adobe will release a suite that can make these cheap forms of advertising easy to produce (I think Mosaic already does a good job of that) so that marketing teams can do it themselves, and save the value and skills of web designers and developers from having to endure the first few years of their career building out crap banners.

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Andy Parker

User Experience Designer, headbanger, biker, skater, gamer from Brighton UK.