I am currently in the process of my first ever consultation for a website design with a ministry organization. When I say consultation, that means I do not write code, mess with Photoshop, or structure the website. All I have to do is dream of things I would like the website to do, give my critiques of the site, and offer suggestions to color schemes, web design flow, and purpose of the whole site, it is quite liberating and fun to say the least. The specs for the website is to be a social networking site for a specific target of people, so the web design and structure must follow a pretty standard concept.
So here is the issue: the initial web design for our website was 90% a rip off of Facebook. It was only a Photoshop file, so there was no functionality, but the homepage was “Facebook”-ee and the logged in section was nearly identical to a Facebook experience. I’m not sure if the company was lazy in its approach, trying to be simplified because they did not have enough direction, or were blatantly ripping off Facebook, but I had many suggestions for changes.
Now, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and not assume that they were lazy or ripping them off, but it did get my mind turning. How many times have people who blog, create artwork, write a sermon, or any number of other things, simply ripped off an idea? And to make things worse, they do not credit the original person. I know with my curriculum I write, I spend VERY LITTLE time on Games and use people’s material like The Source or Les Christie’s Best-ever Games for Youth Ministry, yet, I always cite my work when it is not original, even if the only people to see it are volunteers and my supervisor.
So what do you think? Am I being too dramatic or does this speak to one’s professionalism and ethics?