Usually I am sitting on the designers side of the fence, where the web design processes are clear and defined. And maybe sometimes I do sneer at the client who has never even heard of what HTML or CSS is, never mind what good design is. So, when the opportunity came along to publish an article on how to hire a web designer from the clients point of view, I thought this might be interesting, and would be nice to see things and perhaps understand how things work from the other side of the fence.
Not only is the article a great guide for hiring a web designer, it is also gives the potential client an idea of the information and resources that a web designer needs to successfully and painlessly build a web site. Developing a site is a two way street, and a lot of prepartion is required from both sides of the fence.
Hire the Best of Web Designers, By Design
So you’re looking for someone to design the website that’s perfect for you or your business, and no, your friend who knows a little HTML and a few bits and pieces of Photoshop and Dreamweaver will not fit the bill. You have to make an effort to find the best person for the job, because your website is your voice on the Internet, the most powerful communication tool that exists today. Now remember that the best person for the job is not necessarily the best in the business, because you should be looking for someone who is able to understand your needs and is able to translate them into the perfect design for your web page. So to hire the best of web designers, by design, here’s what you need to do:
1. Know what you want
If you don’t know what you want, then you’re never going to know if the designer you hire is meeting your needs and working to your satisfaction. So even if you’re new to the world of web design, spend some time looking over websites of organizations or people that are similar to your specifications, pick up a few ideas that you like and that will suit your needs, and then see if you can contact the designers of those websites. Before you even begin to look for a designer, you need to know your budget and what you want to achieve within its limitations.
2. Do your research
Don’t hire the first or even second designer you contact; instead, get in touch with those who are recommended and also put up your project on a freelance job site where designers can bid for it. This way, you get to pick and choose from those who apply to work on your project, or you could invite freelance professionals whose profiles and portfolios interest you (go through their work and experience on job sites) to bid on your project.
3. Test the waters
When you’ve narrowed down your choice to a few designers, ask them for a small sample of their work so that you can gauge their level of skill and also assess how good they are at understanding your needs. Also put all terms and conditions regarding payment, deadlines, the number of designs and the amount of rework that may be required, and other issues on the table so that you can discuss them and reach a mutually satisfying decision.
4. Work with them
Your role does not end once you’ve hired a designer; in fact, you need to be involved in the design process to ensure that the designer has understood what you want. So ask to see rough drafts from time to time so that you can tell the designer what to retain and what to change. Also, you need to coordinate the integration of the text and the design to ensure that your website has a pleasant look and feel. So decide if your designer is doing the writing themselves, or if they are hiring someone to do it, or if you are going to provide the written material.
5. Talk about maintenance
Once your site is up, there will be a few bugs to iron out, so ensure that your designer will stay around to take care of them and also to look after your future maintenance needs. Most designers package the design and maintenance tasks into the same bundle and offer it to you on a consolidated basis, so choose a package that meets your needs.