Erin made my website. If you like it, have her make (or re-do) yours!
Designing a Website: How to Choose a Web Designer
When faced with finding a web designer, you must know what to research and how to evaluate.
After having a good understanding of what to do before designing a website, it is time to begin your search for a quality web designer. Below are a few items to help you find the best fit and determine what makes a good designer.
Ask around. Referrals show client trust and product satisfaction. There are many web designers and developers out there. Finding a great one who is trustworthy and easy to work with can be difficult. Who do you know who has worked with a designer or may know of one? What was their experience?
Determine the type of company/individual you would like to work with. Both freelance designers and web design firms have advantages and disadvantages. Which would best fit you, your business and your needs? Typically, the bigger the site, the more man power you may need.
Be informed. After finding out as much as you can about the designer or company from their website, give them a call. Speaking with them will give you a sense of how technically and socially savvy they are. Whether you're considering a company or an individual, it is important to have a designer with a healthy balance of people skills and technical expertise. Being a web designer is not just about the web - you must know how people will respond, interpret and engage with what you have created.
Scrutinize! When you are Googling and trying to find the perfect fit, be sure to view websites with a critical eye. The designer's site is just as revealing as the sites they've done for others; make it a point to find their online portfolio. So, what determines a well designed website?
Can you quickly and easily find the information you are looking for? Half of design is organization. The productivity and success of a website directly relates to the user's ability to find what they are looking for in a fast and efficient way.
Is the navigation easy to use and understand? Once you click to a new page, you should know exactly where you are in relation to the site as a whole. When you, the user, gets lost, then you, a potential client, is lost.
Is there structure to the overall design? Is it consistent? The overall design (aesthetics) should be consistent and uniform. This does not imply that every page is exactly the same. It should, however, be uniform; each page should maintain a degree of continuity with the rest of the site.
Are things aligned? When a designer is detail oriented, they will be more likely desire to please you and produce a high quality product. A good designer is worried about a 3 pixel difference between the left margin of the title and the left margin of the content!
Does the message coincide with the subject matter? For example, if the site is for elderly people, the design should be conservative (assuming they're not Harley riders), the font should be large and easy to read, and the features should be within grasp. Likewise, a skateboarding company wouldn't want a real estate lawyer's site.
Does the information on the site help you to understand what that company, person, or organization is about? Wording, colors and layout are just a few elements that help to communicate a message. Pay attention to these. You will quickly know who the site is for.
Does the site have contact information that is helpful and easy to find? This is a very important part of the site. Since websites are a primarily passive medium, you want your users to be able to contact you if they need to. Not being able to locate or email a company because you cannot find contact information on their site is simply unacceptable.
Can you read the text easily? Many factors contribute to the readability and legibility of text. Think about color (light on dark, vice versa), font, size, etc.
How long does the site take to load? Typically if a site takes longer than ten seconds to load, users get bored and leave. When you're on the information superhighway, you don't want to be stuck behind a Sunday driver!
Regardless of whether or not you have had to find a web designer before, this article provides you with the necessary information on what to research and how to assess a well designed website. I have broken down choosing a web designer into a manageable process for you to use as a guide on your search. Now instead of feeling overwhelmed by the burden, get excited about choosing a designer!
Learn more about the author, Erin Pierce.
Comment on this article
Posted by Joe Hage, Seattle, Washington |
Feb 28, 2008
Posted by Elizabeth Lee, Seattle, Washington |
Mar 06, 2008
Our original company web site was designed and built with a flash component that made it near impossible for Google to find it. I loved the opening page the icons did this cool swirly thing. The person who built the site designs sites for fashion designers and musicians. For him our site was baby stuff. We never took into consideration what would happen when we went LIVE. Let me tell you...nothing happened. Not being a techie I had no idea that I was going to lose clients with a beautiful web site in Google oblivion.
Erin has "touched up" our site so that it maintains the simplicity and coolness we wanted and now our company can be found. She asked questions that I would not have thought about. That is her job. Let her help you to do yours.
Seattle Organizing Works is open for business.
Posted by Terry Loving, Seattle, Washington |
Sep 09, 2008
Excellent list! - Your expertise nails it right on the head! Erin is a quality professional!
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