The Web Designer: The 5 most likely questions to be asked this week

by Gary on July 19, 2007 · 1 comment

in Website Design

The second in the “most likely questions”series.

This was the 1st: The SEO Consultant: The 5 most likely questions to be asked this week.

The Web Designer : The 5 most likely questions to be asked this week

Web designing these days doesn’t just mean building a few pages using some GUI editor and then uploading those pages. Web design process is an all-encompassing evolution and as a designer one has to wear many hats at the same time. Are you planning to hire a web designer for your next web design or redesign project? Ask these questions in order to know that you hiring the right person:

1] What web design and development tools does he or she use?

It’s not about using the most hip and trendy tools, it’s about using the right tools. For instance, if your web designer still lives in the era of Front Page you immediately know he or she is not the right person for you. GUIs create bloated source code and all decent designers hand-code their websites and use the graphical user interfaces merely for creating the initial layouts. Then ask him or her about creating the CSS layouts and why CSS layouts are better, in terms of search engine optimisation, than conventional layouts. Your web designer should also know the importance of creating fast loading web pages and shouldn’t resort to image manipulations to implement even simple design features.

2] How many websites has he or she previously designed?

It’s not necessary that your web designer should have had developed scores of websites prior to taking up your assignment, but it will help you a lot if you can go through a few websites previously created by your web designer. Professional work is a lot different from amateur work. His or her previous work helps you gauge his or her ability to create layouts and themes catering to different business branches. It matters what colors and typefaces are used to represent different emotions of the website.

3] Does your web designer publish a blog?

This doesn’t imply that all designers who publish blogs are great designers and those who don’t are lousy. To regularly publish a blog one has to interact a lot among the peer group, one has to keep abreast with the latest trends and technologies and one has to learn a lot. While blogging learning happens on its own. You simply cannot remain ignorant while blogging regularly about your profession. If your designer runs a successful blog, there is a great chance that he is a great designer too. But sometimes they are so busy blogging that they don’t have time for their professional commitments so yes, that can prove to be a downside.

4] Does your web designer search engine optimise the websites too?

This too is not necessary but your SEO efforts will get a big boost if your web designer has some SEO knowledge too, at least for the design phase. He or she should be aware that clean and light code is preferred by the search engines. The right tags should be present at the right places with the right information in them. He or she should know how to organise your website content so that your web pages are easily indexed by the search engines.

5] What’s the maintenance record?

A successful website is 1% design and development and 99% maintenance. Try to find out what is your web designer’s maintenance policy and how much it costs for regular maintenance. There are hundreds of tiny-winy things that can cut through a big chunk of your time and money if you don’t have someone to take care of your website. Whether it’s adding new content or changing the layout or altering the code of your online application it’s better that you have the same person or company that initially designed your website.

Choose your web designer as if you are choosing a construction company for your actual office. A bad web designing deal is a lot worse than not having a deal at all.

The last in this mini-series will be published tomorrow.

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SEO Carly July 20, 2007 at 7:14 am

Your Top 5 articles make good reading Gary, keep up the good work.

To elaborate on point Number 3, it’s also a good idea to randomly contact the owner of a site the designer has built especially if you are outlaying alot of money for the project.

Not only does it ensure the work does in fact belong to the designer as claimed, you can also find out:

– If the designer was good to work with
– Was the work completed in a timely manner
– Did any extra costs spring up during the project
– Did they reply to your correspondence promptly
– Quick to fix bug/flaws in the final design

And that sort of thing.

Also Google the design firms name, and see if there’s forum posts and such with anything negative about them.

Unfortunately there’s designers who claim work that’s not theirs, or appear perfect until your hooked as a client and things go sour.