Choosing a Suitable Website Designer
Choosing the right website designer impacts your business positively. You can find a web designer with the appropriate skills, traits, and ideas by following the guidelines I describe below. Any website, yours included, should provide visitors with an experience that satisfies their needs and your goals.
Step 1 - Re-evaluate your website, if you have one already
Almost as soon as they see the first page of your site, people should know intuitively what the website is about and how to use it. Check that the following statements are true of your site:
1. There is a clear, visual hierarchy: important info > less important info > not as important info
2. Pages are divided into well defined areas: [graphics] [buttons] [text]
3. Web conventions are used: colour schemes, lists, headlines, search boxes, taglines, etc.
4. Buttons and links are obviously clickable: colour, size, and positioning of links are well thought out
If your website violates statements one to four, you need to move on to Step 2.
Step 2 - Choose a new web designer
So, you've decided that your current website needs some work. Perhaps the design failed on various levels or maybe it only needs to be tweaked. Either way, you need to find a talented web designer. Follow these steps carefully and you'll be on your way to website bliss.
Use the test outlined in Step 1 when you view a potential website designer's site. If their site doesn't follow those guidelines, or they don't have a website at all, be very wary of them. Make sure you visit the designer's portfolio and see websites he or she has completed. Ask these questions:
Are the websites in the designer's portfolio:
- Well laid out?
- Designed with consistency?
- Designed with concern for aesthetics?
- Easy to navigate?
After you are satisfied that the designer has done quality work in the past, you can begin to communicate with them. Here are some important questions to ask:
- Can I have a list of references?
It's always helpful to see what the clients have to say about the designer's service and skills.
- What qualifies you to be a website designer?
Experience should be the deciding factor. An experienced web designer has dealt with many clients and knows how to listen to their needs. The best web designers really care about their projects and are somewhat creative. They are able to learn new things, and can accept constructive criticism.
- Can you provide one sample page free of charge, drawing from my current design?
- Can you estimate the cost of my website redesign?
This question gives the web designer a chance to thoroughly investigate your current website situation and come up with an educated estimate.
c) Negotiate an agreement
If you are impressed with the designer's answers to your questions, you will want to negotiate a contract. The web designer and client should construct a contract during the consultation, whether this takes place over the internet or in person. The agreement should state that the payment will be made once both sides are completely satisfied with the work. Be sure to get a hard copy of the completed agreement. Also, be aware that many web designers expect a down payment to protect themselves from clients with unrealistic expectations and goals.
d) Begin the design process
You are now ready to let the designer start the project. If you have carried out an investigation and interview and created an agreement, the design process is already off to a good start as a collaborative effort. Your future website is sure to satisfy the expectations of your website visitors while fulfilling the goals of your business.
About the Author
Ted Fuller is a freelance website designer. Since he was thirteen years old, he has been designing websites, graphics, and flash animations. Today, he serves clients in the United States and Canada.