Loads of our bloggers ask us about web designer recommendations, as well as how to hire one.
I do believe, as a DIY designer myself, that is important to know how to be satisfied with the work and be able to retain a website for, at the very least, 6-12 months (we have had our magazine theme now for the last 12 months, which is an achievement for me).
In a nutshell, your discussion with a web-designer is an interview.
Especially when it comes to freelancers and one-man/woman shops, you want to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.
You can easily get a feel for the style from past projects, but you need to be able to anticipate the way they may tackle the challenges that could be arising from working on your website.
How do you incorporate user experience into your projects?
What is user experience? Well, usability or UX (user experience) is a process whose main objective is to design a system that offers a great experience to its users. In a nutshell, it has the visitor in mind.
What you want to hear are things such as mobile responsive, adaptable images, easy to load website etc.
You have to be able to feel like the designer has performance in mind, and should be able to share their opinions, experience, and approach.
If the designer does not even know what UX is, run for the hills (keywords to look for are responsiveness, adaptability, easy-to-load etc).
Bonus brownie points: make sure the designer can set up for you Google Analytics for your website. It’s a very straight-forward process, but it will be surely helping in the long run, as it allows to check in things such as bounce rate, unique visits, page views, time on site, search-engine rankings, conversion rate, etc.
Really look at their portfolio of the designers quite carefully, especially if you manage to get your paws on a website that currently uses their work.
As a user, how do you find their themes?
What about navigation and style? Also, remember to ask the designer what kind of input they have been giving aside from colour schemes and theme structure. Some people are very clear on their goals, others need a tinier extra push, and that’s okay too.
If you need a designer to recommend you the best experience for your user, be sure to know how they helped their clients in the past.
One of the most fundamental differences among designers is their approach to post-project changes.
Every website will change over time. Some people charge hourly for these changes, while most will show you how to use a platform such as WordPress to edit at your will.
A good designer should be able to provide a clear handover for you.
Ideally, you want someone who can really take the time to set up a tool that lets you (or anyone with access) manage the site – this will prevent you from waiting endlessly or getting an invoice for basic changes. Ask what your content-management tool allows you to do: add new forms, change animations, or create new types of page layouts.
Remember though, if your site includes a content-management tool, certain types of changes will require a professional developer or designer.
Another tip is to check references.
Or better yet, meet possible web designers through referrals: people you know and trust who have worked with them in the past.
This is why we asked Ruth from Ruth XO to come to our rescue with her top designer tips:
Ruth Ridgeway (okay that is a shameless plug, but we fully endorse it) at www.ruthxo.com – For products and stationery (think CAF tee’s, books/book covers, stationery, journals, get noticed packaging).
Rachel Shillcock at www.rachilli.com – for websites using WordPress as a platform – but she’s been using with Squarespace too – as well as branding. She also specialises in ConvertKit transfers/set up for newsletters.
Kara-Anne Cheng at www.thepetiteco.com – for fresh/feminine branding and Squarespace design. Much more on the entrepreneur/blogger realm when it comes to style and feel.
“Based in America, love all the really new and cool layouts. Had mine for about a year”.