If you are planning to design or redesign your web site, be it for a personal blog, a photo gallery showcase of your work, or just to give information to your customers, it’s good to know what the process is going to be. The best designers, like the best photographers, follow a workflow to help them ensure that 1) they understand the client’s needs, 2) the client understands their own needs (you’d be surprised how little we know about what we need or want, but a good designer can help us flesh this out), and 3) that both designer and client agree on the cost, time frame and deliverables.
If your designer does not do the three things above, be on your guard. There are many fly-by-night freelancers who will promise you a great design for a couple hundred bucks. What you end up getting is a template that you can freely download from the Internet. And there is no follow-up, barely any customization and the overall effect is cheesy and amateurish. It might look great to you with all the flash and animation and sound and colors — but it is still very amateurish.
How much will it cost you when you go with a good designer? Easily in the couple of thousands. That may include help to redefine and redesign your brand, your logo, your tagline. You will always get a questionnaire that you need to fill so the designer can help himself/herself and you understand what the end result is going to be. It might take a month in elapsed time. It will inevitably include a couple of revisions. You will panic at some time during the process and want to jettisson everything. But if you have carefully chosen a good designer, then hang on there. Design is a creative process and anyone who has created a web site can tell you there is sometimes a lot of coding that goes behind even a seemingly insignificant layout change.
Here are some resources that talk about this process from the mouth of the designers themselves as well as looking at it from the perspective of the designer. They will help you to understand where your designer is coming from and why they ask so many questions. The resources are also a good source to find your ideal designer.
- How to Get the Best Out of Your Web Designer
- Getting the Most Out of Your Web Site Redesign Project: a Guide for Clients
- 8 Strategies For Successful Relations With Clients
- Designing For Clients Made Easy
- What You’re Missing If You Don’t Challenge Your Clients
- What to Include In Your Design Contracts