As we move into the digital age, and no one can deny that we are, everything is going online. Magazines (called e-zines), forums, blogs, general websites, online directories – you name it, the Internet has got it. So as businesses are taking their services online, so as to reach the global village, more and more website designers are being employed to make this happen for them. You can’t just choose anyone though, and this is a problem which is cropping up on a startling level. Since it is your business, products or service, it stands to reason that your livelihood depends on it, so you have to be careful when selecting the right website design services that will give you the best bang for your buck. A list of general criteria may help you prune the weeds from the exotic plants.
The first thing your website should have is the look. This must suit the message you are trying to send out. An online men’s magazine isn’t going to make use of cursive fonts, pink backgrounds and butterfly icons. But a women’s grooming directory will. Similarly, a website that sells gaming and music should not be using traditional colours that might be associated with books. When selecting your designers, make sure that they are the types that will ensure they understand every crevice of your product or service so they can conceptualise the best design. Websites are essentially a marketing tool, so the look is arguably the most important aspect. Aiming for the simplest design is usually the most effective here, making users think too much is not a smart manoeuvre.
This leads to the argument of usability, a possibly equally important aspect, if not more important. Is the designer going to give the website a user-friendly format, with effective links and good feedback measurement? These are important questions to ask.
Interactivity is another criterion that must be considered. Will your commissioned designer ensure that the users of your website will be able to interact with the design, to be able to get the most out of what they are looking for. You may be responsible for the content, but they are responsible for making it work. Be sure you make the right selection.
Perhaps the best thing to do when selecting designers is to have a look at their existing portfolios. This is a good measuring tool to see how effective the designer will be, and what kind of diversity they are capable of. If they only have one ‘look and feel’ in their portfolio, and it’s not the look and feel you are going for, move on to the next candidate. If you are taking a chance on a new graduate, they also have portfolios are university, college or technikon projects. Make sure you do your research, or don’t expect the selected designer to.
Finally, and again very importantly, if the designer going to ensure follow through? That is to say, will they run tests regularly to see how the design is working? Are they going to come back in if something goes wrong without charging you an arm and a leg for it? Will they help you measure your feedback, and teach you the ins and outs of the website so you can use it optimally? These questions may seem trivial, but there are ten different websites out there to one product, and if you want the competitive edge, find the designer who will give it to you.