How to Choose a Web Designer
Many clients have difficulty choosing a web designer, simply because they aren’t sure what to look for. Here are some things to consider when choosing a professional web designer (and here are some questions to ask):
• A strong portfolio. The sites should be memorable
as well as appropriate for each project. For instance, a site directed
at senior citizens should not include very small type.
• Formal education or professional background in graphic design or interactive design. Many people who term themselves “designers” are more accurately called “programmers.” They are adept at assembling HTML (the language that browsers read to create Web pages) but do not create effective visual communication. For best results, choose a provider who combines good design with clean programming to communicate effectively with your intended audience.
• Quick-loading sites. On average, web surfers
wait eight seconds for a site to load. If there is no imagery or text
viewable in the browser within that time frame, many viewers will move
on to other sites. Your web designer’s portfolio should include
sites which load quickly and can be easily navigated.
• Knowledge of usability and accessibility principles. Great web design is only as good as it is useful. No matter how attractive your site is, if visitors don’t know how to interpret your navigation buttons, they’ll go nowhere. Your web designer needs to have a solid grasp of usability principles in order to deliver a user-friendly site. In addition, particularly for clients with a wide client base or receiving federal funds, your web designer should employ federal accessibility standards that allow your site to be utilized by the sight-impaired or other people using assistive technologies.
• Employment of search engine optimization techniques. In the increasingly competitive World Wide Web, it’s critical for your site to be optimized for search engines. While there are a variety of factors which influence search engine results placement, some of which are outside your designer’s control, your web developer should know how to implement basic search engine optimization techniques on your site.
• Excellent business skills. A good designer stays on top of all the details of your project and makes the best use of your time and money.
• Personable and professional demeanor. Since
you choose whom you’ll work with, hire someone you’ll enjoy
partnering with and who provides professional service.