by Jamie Kiley
If you're in the market for a new website, one of the first things you'll need to do is
hire a web designer. As in any field, there are good web designer and bad web designers,
and it's important to know how to determine which is which. Here are 5 tips to get you
1. Don't judge a designer's skill solely on graphic design skills.
Just like you can't judge a book by its cover, you can't judge a web designer based on
his or her graphic design skills alone. While graphic design is important, attractive
images are not the most significant determinant of good design. In fact, they are a
comparatively small part of what makes a good website.
Instead of focusing completely on visual image, concentrate on evaluating a designer's
other skills. Evaluate the designer's portfolio by asking these sample questions:
- Does this designer design with usability in mind? In other words, is the site designed
for form or for function?
- Does the designer have good organizational abilities? Look for organization of the
entire site as a whole, as well as the organization of individual page layouts.
- Does the designer employ
good navigation techniques? Try out some of the sites in his or
her portfolio and carefully examine how easy it is for you to navigate around the site and
find specific pieces of information.
- Instead of using graphics just for the sake of pizzazz, does the designer use graphics
purposefully to organize the page and to direct a visitor's attention to important points?
- All sites should motivate a visitor to do something, whether it is buying a product,
filling out a quote request form, signing up for a newsletter, etc. Does the designer do a
good job of visually showing visitors how to take action?
- Does the designer design sites that are easy to use?
- Instead of asking, "Does this site look good?" ask, "Would this site make
me want to buy a product if I was in that site's target market?"
2. Talk with references.
Don't just peruse the sites in a designer's portfolio. Get in contact with some of the
designer's past clients and question them on the specifics of their experience. Ask how
long it took to complete their website, as well as how easy it was to work with the
Also, be sure to ask how effective the client's website has been. How many visitors do
they get? By how much have their sales increased? How well has the site accomplished the
client's intended goals?
3. Have a basic knowledge of good web design techniques.
It helps significantly in evaluating a prospective web designer if you know at least
the basics of good web design. This way, you'll be in a better position to judge good
techniques from the not-so-good.
Before you get ready to hire a designer, spend some time browsing the web and the
shelves of your local bookstore. If possible, try to get a feel for the basics of
usability and online marketing. Also, glean information from a variety of different
sources. The experts often disagree, and it's helpful to hear from a variety of
perspectives and understand why they hold particular positions.
4. Don't necessarily go for the lowest bidder.
Remember, it's not just about getting a website; you'll need a website that will
actually perform. Price and quality usually have a direct relationship, so you'll get what
you pay for. Designers who are overly inexpensive ordinarily lack experience, are
difficult to work with, don't understand much about online marketing, or don't truly have
a grasp of good web design techniques. A website from such a designer won't be beneficial.
5. Look for a designer who asks good questions.
Astute designers should probe you for specific answers to such questions as:
- What is your primary goal?
- By what standard will you measure the success of your site?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the primary benefits of your product or service?
Look for a designer who obviously understands marketing, not just graphic design.
About the Author:
There are 605.6 million people online. Can they find your business? Jamie Kiley creates
powerful and engaging websites that make sure YOUR company gets noticed. Visit http://www.kianta.com for a free quote.
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