By Sunil Rijal
15 to 20 years back the web world seemed to be pretty straight forward. If anyone needed a website they would reach out to webmasters (full stack developers) who would look into almost every aspect of websites. Webmasters would create site designs, convert them into HTML and if needed integrate it to a CMS or publish the site online.
And depending on the nature of the project and system one might also need a content developer, SEO expert or a digital marketer.
Having said that there’s still scope for full stack developers though, specially in a country like Nepal where clients aren’t very particular about the standard of their websites. If a website is functional and serves their online purpose then its still widely accepted in Nepal.
Though its surprising for an industry which is thought to have started as early as in 1996 (unverified sources) in Nepal the web designing industry should have greatly matured by now.
We started SoftNEP late in the year 2004 and officially registered it in early 2005. A transition period when the web world was moving from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. From my experience working in this sector for these 14 years what I have realized is aesthetics and attention to detail is still a far-flung thing for the Nepali market. And if there are clients who are looking for a pleasant looking website then its extremely difficult for them to identify one, as such companies are lost in the crowd.
In case they are able to find and identify such creative web agencies, the prices surprises them. They are just not ready to accept the fact that a Nepali 20K – 50K ($200 – $500) website done by a freelancer is going to cost them 200K to 500K ($2000 to $5000) by a professional development company. This is one major reason why a quality conscious digital agency never wants to undertake Nepali projects. They are all focusing on the international market where digital agencies charge anything between $10,000 to $50,000 for such websites.
So almost 20 years on and how far has Nepal flung into this sector?
Well not much!
If you are considering the number of web development agencies then you will find plenty of them. It has grown multifold times. After all Nepal has a rich cultural heritage when it comes to mushrooming of businesses ;). But if you are counting the number of world class agencies then you will find only a handful of them.
There are very few companies who offer custom website design services. Most companies use readymade templates and customize it as per the client needs.
While Nepal has a rich culture when it comes to arts and crafts, the modern graphics design culture has been a lot complacent. There aren’t many art schools and very few creative designers are able to further their career purely in designing. Although there are thousands of self-proclaimed designers who are able to play around with tools like Photoshop only a selected few can visualize colours, conceive layouts and produce anything fresh and original.
A few web development agencies have started to design WordPress and website themes and such companies have been in business for over 5 to 6 years now. This is one nice trend developing in Nepal as this would allow designers to flourish. Such themes need to be industry-standard and unless they follow a proper guideline may not be approved.
So hopefully this would allow every one in the Nepali web industry to respect the time and effort that these genuine designers put into each design. Else everyone seems to be taking website designing in Nepal for granted.
The author is the CEO and Founder of SoftNEP.