Finding a web designer is the easy part- all you need to do is perform a quick search online and bingo, you're presented with pages and pages of them in the search engine results. The hard part is choosing the right web designer for your individual project. Every web design project has a specific set of requirements and every web designer has a unique set of skills that may, or may not, be suitable for your needs. In this article, I'll list some key factors that will help you find the right web designer and how you determine if they have the necessary skills to undertake your web development project.
Research the Web Designers Website and Online Portfolio
Every web designer should have a functioning website and an online portfolio of their work. If they don't, you can scratch them off the list. After you have found some web designers in your area, or anywhere else for that matter, you should research each of their websites and check out samples of their work. Different web designers take different approaches to their work and use a variety of technologies. You should read up on their skills and approach to web design, to make sure they suit your requirements. Viewing completed websites and samples of the web designer's work is also essential to get a good idea of the design style and skills they have. Make sure the websites function correctly. If some of the web designer's recent samples are not working, there is a good chance that, if you use them, your website might have the same issues. Look at the design style of their portfolio samples. Most web designers tend to stick to a particular style. If you like the look of their websites, and their website text sounds appealing, you're onto a winner. Take the next step and call them, or send a project brief through.
Speak to Your Chosen Web Designers
Another key point to determine which web designer is best for you, is finding out whether you can communicate with them. You will need to explain your vision to the designer and they should be able to respond with ideas and suggestions for your project. If you call your designer and there is, for example, a language barrier between you, that could be a problem throughout the development process. Talking to a potential web designer also gives you a good idea whether you are going to get on with them or not. If you call to speak with your chosen web design company and you are put on the phone to a rude or uninterested individual - in my books, that would not be somebody you would want to deal with on an ongoing basis. If they are enthusiastic, keen and communicate well you are more likely to have a successful ongoing professional relationship.
Qualification and Experience
Qualifications and experience are not always essential but they do give you some security that the web designer knows what they are doing and has the skills to undertake your project. It's really up to your judgment whether you want to use a web designer with no experience but you never know, they might be a young gun with tons of talent and is just waiting for that first project to unleash their skills on to. Whether you prefer your web designer to have qualifications or not is also up to you. Qualifications just mean they have had some formal recognition of their skills. My preference would be experience beats qualifications any day. Your web designer may have undertaken a six month course which has got them a certificate of some sort but that does not make them a good designer. There is so much information online and ways to hone your design talents now, that needing somebody to teach you is not essential.
It is very important the web designer you speak to understands your creative vision. To create a website that truly serves a purpose and business goal, the designer need to understand the nature of the website and relate to your overall vision. Take note on whether the web designer offers any ideas or suggestions when you're talking to them. This is a good indication of whether they understand the project and are enthusiastic about it.
The Right Technology
Different web projects need different technology behind them. Not all web designers have all the necessary skills for some types of web development. For example you may need a full content management system with database driven content and advanced search engine optimisation. This is something not all web designers can provide. Most designer's will tell you straight away if they are unable to complete the project, due to technical limitations. It is up to you as a client to inform the designer of all the feature's you anticipate your website to have so they can tell you whether they can complete it.
A Reasonable Cost
The cost of the web project is normally the key factor in how people choose their web designer. The scope of your project and what budget you have can limit what designer you choose. If you have a very small budget but want to build the next Facebook, any sane web designer will tell you they can't help you. However, it is always good to get a few quotes and see which designer can offer the best package, for a reasonable cost. If they're too expensive, it might be because they are a larger company with more overheads, or they are simply very good at what they do. If they are cheap, do a bit more investigation before committing - Cheap web design may end up costing you more in the long run, as it probably won't serve its purpose very well and you will need to get it rebuilt. The cost of web design is often open ended... 'how long is a piece of string?'... A good web designer should be able to explain the reason why they have quoted a certain price, and discuss what they can do within your budget - Just because you have received an initial quote that may be higher than you originally anticipated, talk to your designer about it. Quite often, there could be features or aspects of the quote than can be removed, or modified, to get the project back within your budget - If you don't ask, you'll never know.