If you’re on the market for a new website, it’s likely that you’ll be looking for a web designer to help you out – but what are you REALLY looking for from a designer, do you know?
In this post I want to take you through some of the finer details that could give you insight into what it would be like to work with them and if you’d be a good fit.
What do you want from a web designer?
First and foremost, lets go over some of the qualities that you should be looking for in a web designer. The details of this might change from project to project but overall it will stay the same;
- Someone who can listen well, understand your needs and wants and prompt you with the right questions.
- A designer who has a good foundational knowledge of how UX and design functionality work.
- A friendly personality, you’ll be working with this person for a fair amount of time!
- Someone that understands and has expereince of the web design process and can explain it well to you.
- A person that you have confidence in and can trust to do a good job.
- A person who has a good eye for the creative, they need to be able to put ideas onto paper (digitally).
- Someone who will be prompt in their communication with you.
Ideally, you want someone who fits as many of these qualities as possible, all of them will give you a good base to work from. Many of these boil down to people with good communication skills and the required knowledge of web design!
How can you find a web designer that fits your needs?
Going along with the first designer that you find on a quick Google could get you into trouble, you need to find someone that matches well with you and not every designer will be that person. In fact, if you don’t find the right person in the first instance it might even cost you more in the long run. Here are some of the criteria that you should take a look at to see if you’ve found the right person.
Do your research – Website, Social Media and Word of Mouth.
The first step of research will probably be digital, you search for “web designers in my area” and good old google gives you a list of local designers. Hop through each of the websites and see if there are any that catch your eye.
Do they have an old style website or a blog stream that hasn’t been updated recently?
Are they showing off projects that they’ve worked on?
Do you like the style of their own website or the style of the content on the pages?
Are the reviews and testimonials positive, how detailed are they?
Another digital way to do some snooping is to find their social media links, these will usually be hooked into the footer of their website. If these links are broken then that might be a red flag to keep in mind.
When looking at a social media stream you should be looking at the dates of posting, are they sharing content that is relevant to you (are you engaged by it) and are they communicating well with anyone that reaches out to them on the page?
The last way that we suggest finding likely suspects is word of mouth, if you can get a reccommendation for a designer from a friend or business associate, all the better. You can go into talks with the designer armed with more information!
Tip: Don’t automatically write off looking at designers in areas other than the one you live in. Most designers will make great use of virtual meetings to keep in contact and there are fantastic project management systems that can help you keep ideas, work and thoughts all in one place.
Reach out to them for a chat.
The next step would be to ask a potential designer for a call. This is a great opportunity for both parties to learn more about each other. From the client side you’ll want to learn more about the websites they’ve built in the past and understand what their onboarding process looks like. Let’s go into a little more detail on these so you are prepared for your next one to one meeting with a designer.
Have a look through some of their past projects.
Having a designer walk you through their past work is a nice way to gain a better understanding of the type of websites that thye build – do they have expereince building ecommerce websites, are they big on designing blog sites, do they have capability to create something to your specifications?
Sometimes looking through a portfolio can give you a good impression of their art/creative style. The website research portion would probably give you an idea of what type of style they use. Remember that each website they show you was build in co-operation with another client, with their own ideas, likes and dislikes. It might not be your peice of cake but that doesn’t mean that the designer couldn’t do your project justice.
Gain an understanding of their process.
Another way to gain some insight into the designer is to get them to explain their process. If a designer has a solid process in place it’s more likely to go off without a hitch, this should include things like client sign offs, catch up sessions, design questionnaires and training. Each of these things are often built in to keep the project on track but also to add extra value for you – someone that finishes a project with a better understanding of their website will be more likely to utilise it in the right way!