PROCESS: choosing a web site designer

Here are some approaches to assist you in finding the "right" web designer for your project. We found this excerpt from Practical that will provide you with unbiased, practical ideas.

"Whether you're looking for a temporary freelance developer or a full-time resource person to join your staff, don't trust your online business to the words on a candidate's resume. Chuck Bankoff, director of web services for design consultant, says there are three main things to consider when evaluating potential designers for your ebusiness:

Visit the developers' sites. Do they look good? Do they load properly in multiple browser types? Do they function in a way you'd expect your website to function? A good programmer can go a long way towards simplifying the process for the end user."

How long have they been in business? "This is the type of the industry where under performers gets sorted out very quickly," Bankoff said. "The longer a design firm has been in business, the more likely that they have a track record of satisfied clients."

Check references. It seems like an obvious hiring step, however, the best predictor of a developer's success for your business is past success. "I would, of course, want to know about the overall satisfaction, but I would also want to know if the designers merely took orders, or if they made suggestions and explained how the process works," he said.

Presuming you've budgeted for a developer, consider these rules-of-thumb:

• Knowing what functionality you want from your site up front will help you get a more accurate quote from a web designer. Bankoff said to be skeptical if a designer has a set price for site design. "I would be wary about anyone who had a pre-established price for anything because that means they do not necessarily know what your needs are," he said.

• Establish project milestones and deadlines with reasonable bonuses for compliance. One of the common risks in hiring even the most talented developer is that he or she doesn't have the time to dedicate to your work. Choosing a developer with demonstrated project management experience can help to alleviate that concern. "Otherwise," Burton said, "You will find your web project can drag on and on forever."

• You can work with someone who does not live in your town, state or country, but it's important that there is clear, constant communication. "This is a medium that lends itself to long-range relationships," Bankoff said. "Ultimately, the fruit of the relationship will be seen online."

• Look for a long-term partner because it's likely you'll need tweaks to your site or tech support. "I would want to know that the designer will be around later if I have questions or problems, or if I need to upgrade my web solution at a later date," Bankoff said. "There are just too many variables to contend with if you are left on your own."

For complete article, visit Practical Commerce
March 05, 2007 - Ryan Welton
Tips to Hire the Right Website Designer

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