Google for web designers or web design firms and you’ll get millions of results for businesses all promising very similar things: timely delivery, budget-friendly, search engine optimization and cross-browser compatibility, etc.. Now if they’re all so great, why are there a lot of crappy websites you may ask. Here are some qualifications that will help you to weed out the fantastic web designers out of the bad ones.
A great portfolio exhibits creativity, style variety and most importantly has illustrations of real customer work and not just spec work from school. Make sure that the web designer’s overall design in their portfolio fits what you’re looking for. Test out their formerly established sites to ensure that they’re user-friendly, error-free, suitable for their target market and fast-loading.
A great portfolio consistently trumps style experience or education. Web designers with an excessive amount of experience could be set in their ways and not as open to new ideas or trends. And just because someone took a few classes for layout does not signify that they have got an eye for this. We have encountered many sites offering web design services with horrible sites.
No matter how stellar your designer or agency is, if they cannot answer your calls or emails in a timely fashion during business hours, then they most likely can’t meet your deadline. This can mean death to a business if your project is time sensitive due to something like a product launch. Some freelance web designers are moonlighters meaning that they have fulltime jobs and they pick up the strange job here and there for extra money. Be skeptical of those folks because they will likely not be around once your project goes awry forcing you to forfeit your deposit.
Whoever you select should be proficient with the web technologies your project requires. If you need Flash to get an animated clip, make sure that your web developer is proficient in Flash Actionscripting 3.0. If you want to convert your website into a CMS, ensure that they’re well versed in your chosen CMS and the web technologies that support it. Most open-source CMS’ are controlled by PHP. It’s almost always preferable to hire an expert who will excel at the things you need instead of a jack of all trades who is just mediocre in everything. Typically, you need to be able to evaluate this based on their online portfolio.
Their Timeline Fits your Timeline
All jobs have a deadline or any preferred time range where you would like it to be finished. Inexperienced web designers frequently quote excessively optimistic timelines. No matter how easy your site design or redesign is, it is all but impossible for the layout process (from concept to end) to take less than fourteen days because there’ll always be revisions. I always laugh when a possible client emails me and quotes that their new site is quite basic and should require no more than two days. It is much more professional to estimate a longer deadline and send sooner than expected. However, if your web designer claims it’s going to take much longer than their competitors, they may be moonlighting.
Full-service is usually offered by design firms because it requires a team of developers, designers and marketing experts. Full-service means that they offer all-encompassing web solutions such as SEO, ecommerce, branding, cellular compatibility and social websites marketing all in one place. Rarely will you find a web designer who’s an expert in all of these types, which explains why some businesses hire design firms if they have the budget.
Communication skills are just as important as design and programming skills because if your web designer communicates with poor grammar or spelling mistakes so will your site. Do they articulate issues nicely? Can they translate complex technical jargon into laymen terms? It’s possible to readily evaluate their communication abilities through your primary calls, emails and project proposal.