How much effort should a website owner put into the search for a website designer? A lot! Let’s consider a few significant reasons why this should be necessary. First of all, every single designer has their own esthetics. This means that they have an idea about how your site should look, but if it is totally contrary to your vision, it could lead to a very bad working relationship.
Let’s also consider that website design is not just about the gorgeous layout and beautiful imagery. It is also about organization and “flow”. If your designer seems to be more focused on the color scheme, the photographs, the visual appeal of the site, but not the purpose or function of it…well, you are heading for a failure.
Finally, let’s also focus on the fact that any website has to be easy to use. This incorporates good organization and flow, but it also means that the site contains the features essential to the modern Internet user.
For instance, if your site should have media elements such as video clips or interactive graphics, but your designer is unfamiliar with them or unwilling to use them – look elsewhere! We all know how rapidly the web has developed, and the site that fails to exceed visitors’ expectations today is going to be a huge flop in only a matter of a few short months.
Beginning Your Search
Before you begin to talk to web designers about the site it is important to do one thing – design the site yourself! We do not mean that you should take the time to create a site on your own, but what we do mean is that you should dedicate a few days or even weeks to drawing the site as you see it.
Now, this does not mean creating a visual image of each page. Instead, we suggest creating some sort of chart that demonstrates the hierarchy of the site. Begin with a box at the top of the chart that reads “homepage”, then draw lines to boxes beneath it that indicate the next set of pages. From these pages draw the subsequent lines to additional pages, and so on.
You will find that you have to do this many times before you create the design you feel would best suit your goal. This is also a part of the preliminary process of hiring a designer, because they cannot design your business goals for you!
It is essential to select this single goal for the site – we need to sell shoes, we want to promote our services, we need to inform people about this issue, etc. While selling, promoting and informing are the three most common goals of a website, it is up to you to understand your specific mission. Identifying the primary goal is the only way to design the site and allow the designer to do their job too.
Doing the Search and Finding “The ONE”
Visit all of your favorite websites. Make note of their designers and begin contacting them with your project. Share your materials and ideas freely, and narrow down the pool to those that are open and receptive to your thoughts. Check out their other sites, ask for any available references, and generally perform the same sort of background check as if you were hiring an employee.
Remember, even if a designer does gorgeous work, you still need a site that is super competitive and useful. Choose only a designer who will help you reach such goals.