If you only ask a prospective web design company five questions, here they are.
1. Can I see some examples of your work completed on a similar budget and scope? Seeing a designer’s portfolio is usually the first and most obvious method to evaluate their design capabilities. But, take it one step further by asking to see projects with a similar budget and scope of work. This should provide you with a clear expectation of what you’ll get for your money. If you want to go even further than just looking at the designer’s portfolio, ask for two references that you can contact. Once you have the references in hand, give them a call and ask a few questions about the designer: * What goals did you have for your website? * To what extent did the designer’s work accommodate those goals? * How easy is the designer to work with? * Was the project completed on time and within budget?
2. What will be delivered? When can I expect it? What will it cost? Ideally you want to look for a design company that will turn over the complete design and code upon completion, finish your project on-time and within your budget. Communicate your expectations for each of these and see if the company agrees to meet your expectations. It is important to determine whether the project has a fixed price or billed hourly. In most cases, a fixed price is preferred because it sets your payment expectation and motivates the design team to complete the job quickly.
3. How will the site be managed? It’s easy to get caught up in the web design process and forget to address the long-term management of the site. The last thing that you want is for your site to be designed and launched and then not know how to manage or update it. Save yourself the hassle and ask how the site will be managed before signing. You need to determine if there is any software that you will need to manage the site. Furthermore you may also need the designer to provide some level of training on how to manage and update the site when needed.
4. Can you explain some of the technologies that you plan to use for the web design? The technologies used for developing a website are important, but even more important than the answer itself is how the agency answers your question. Did the designer talk in a language that you understand? If they use a large amount of technical jargon that is hard for you to follow, this may predict poor communication throughout your project. Effective communication during the design project is critical to getting a final product that meets or exceeds your expectations. Take care to choose a designer can explain their work in a way that you understand.
5. Do you have any questions for me? Possibly the most important question that you can ask a web designer is if they have any questions for you. This puts the ball in the designer’s court and allows you to see what their approach to the project is. Any designer worth hiring should at least ask a few clarifying questions (the more, the better). More specifically, you should expect a designer to have at least a few questions that focus on the business goals for the site, the website requirements and how the success of the site will be measured. Hiring a designer that doesn’t have a solid grasp on your expectations is a recipe for web design disaster. If they don’t know what you want and need then you aren’t going to get it.
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