Investing in a new website design can dramatically improve the look and feel of your site. While you may be confused on where to begin, asking the right questions can help ease you through the process of getting the website you always envisioned. These are some of the most common questions asked regarding web design:
1. What type of contribution(s) will I need to make as a client?
A very important part of what you’ll need to provide is feedback and a general sense of what you’re looking for. It makes life much harder for designers when all they have to work off of is a few adjectives like, “I want something bright and classic with some flair”.
Be as descriptive as you can and remember that this is best approached as an ongoing conversation with your designer or representative. Things happen during the design and re-design phase that can dramatically improve the design in ways no one could have seen before. It’s perfectly ok to say you don’t like the draft a designer has presented to you. Although you do want to be open to suggestions, changes, new ideas, and remember, you’re dealing with both the art and science of design (with the ultimate goal of converting visitors to customers).
If you are confused about where to start brainstorming ideas for your website, we recommend browsing the internet. Put together a list of sites you like and the sites you don’t like, even if they are not in your industry. This gives your web designer great insight into what you would be looking for with your new website.
2. Will my website work for mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones?
There are a handful of options regarding how your website will work on mobile devices.
The first and most popular option is called “responsive design”. Responsive design and development prepares a website to render, or respond, based on the size of the screen viewing it. This way, if you’re viewing a responsive website on a mobile device, it will scale and re-arrange the website’s elements to be easily viewed on that gadget.
The second is quite similar to responsive design but it includes two versions of the site. One version of the site is designed to be viewed on normal monitors while the other is designed to fit mobile devices. This can be a great way to reach two audiences and display unique device-specific information to the user.
Finally, depending on your target audience and purpose, it can be more effective to simply build a “normal”, unresponsive site. Sites with short life spans such as festivals, weddings, special offers, or travel blog sites can get away without full responsive functionality.
3. Do you use templates or will you build a custom site for me?
That’s a great question. To an inexperienced eye, a template site blends in just fine. The downfall is that they typically don’t express overly-unique layouts because the templates must remain applicable for many uses.
This isn’t to say that template sites are bad. In fact, they can be much easier to manage and have the benefit of being tested for quirks long before your site is ever integrated. They are also typically less expensive and quicker to set up.
If you do have a unique vision that just won’t fit into a template, then they will customize it for you. Like anything custom, it’s going to take a bit longer to build. It will be worth the wait when your site behaves exactly as you envisioned down to the last pixel. Be aware that this option is more expensive due to more hours spent designing the website.
Web design firms should offer both ways custom and templates. If they do not at least offer custom websites, find a firm that will, even if you choose to use templates because you want to know they know it if a custom piece is needed at any point.
4. Once the project is complete, who owns the designs?
This varies from project to project. There are many reasons why clients would want to own their own websites and the designs associated with them. Clients often think that they own the designs they pay for, while firms often think of it as a lease. Make sure you and your web design firm are on the same page and that both parties are happy before signing any contracts.
As a rule, our clients own their designs after the project is complete.
As you come closer to making your decision to hire a web designer, these questions can help you narrow down your decision on exactly what you are looking for. If you still have questions, feel free to give us a call at 518-472-0060.