NEW YORK Web design is becoming a larger priority for corporations, and that trend is driving a business boom for interactive design shops, according to Forrester Research.
Forrester said the Internet's central role as an information resource has made Web projects key strategic priorities at many companies, leading to a revenue growth rate of at least 20 percent at most shops working in that space. The largest Web agencies, Forrester reports, have seen 40 percent top-line growth.
The demand is putting pressure on Web shops, which are suffering from a shortage of qualified employees in everything from copywriting to account management. The industry is also in the midst of a consolidation, as top independent firms like Digitas are snapped up by holding companies.
In ranking 15 design firms' Web projects, Forrester said the shops are doing a so-so job. It found that many Web agencies are undifferentiated in their approaches, requiring clients to judge them more on their tactical ability to execute strategies.
For image projects, Forrester tapped Avenue A/Razorfish, Critical Mass, Organic and R/GA as leaders. Tribal DDB was named a strong competitor. The researcher said the best firms for transaction sites are Avenue A/Razorfish, Critical Mass and Organic.
Forrester anticipates the demand for their services will only increase, citing a recent survey that found 50 percent of Web executives using outside agencies for their sites.