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What's the best way to ask for a quote from a Web Designer? #4: Design

Esther Nelson

Design can be one of the most challenging aspects of your website. What you as the customer need to bear in mind when asking for a quote, is that web designers are not mind readers! There are many, many ways of interpreting descriptions, particularly written descriptions of designs. 

So when you first ask a web designer for a quote, if you have a specific design you'd like to use send it to the designer so he or she can comment and ask questions. If you don't, there's some work to be done before your web designer really has an idea of how much work will be involved.

In this second scenario, you need to accept that you will be paying for time, skill and experience. If you think you'll refer to other colleagues for their opinions, get them in the room from the start so you can all discuss it together from the beginning. We've seen designs being signed off, only to be vetoed days or weeks later by another colleague, meaning it needs to be reworked all over again. Don't let this be you! It can only increase the time to taking your site live, as well as the cost. 

So when asking for a quote probably the best thing to do is request a meeting with you and your stakeholders so you can thrash out the design and come to a final decision in one go. Then the designer can quote accurately afterwards. The designer may charge for this, but to effectively get a consultant in the room who is experienced and has the skills to know what will work, it will be worth it for you. 

This is an important point which can be forgotten in the excitement of producing a design and making your website look good. Remember that your designer really does know what he or she is talking about! As someone who is a step away from your business we are able to look impartially at what will work and what wont. We will be able to draw on our own experience and give examples of what has worked and what wasn't so successful. So do listen when your designer suggests that your idea isn't such a good one. You agreed to pay not only for technical ability to build a functional website, but for experience in what works and what doesn't in design.  

OK. So you know how to go about deciding on a great design that will be successful for your website. Here are some things to think about before you have your stakeholder meeting and discuss the finer details:

  • What device are your clients most likely to view your website on? If its a young, mobile audience then they are most likely to be using a smartphone or tablet. If they are office-based executives they will likely be using a desktop to view your website. This is a really vital question, because the design needs to work best within the device you're targetting most. I'm not suggesting it wont work on every device, but things may be approached in a different way depending on whether your priorities are small to large screen, or large to small.
  • You content is the most important thing on the website - that's what is going to draw visitors in and keep them coming back. The design must therefore highlight the content and not detract from it. With many websites now being image and video heavy, designs are able to be very light and simple and still give a great impression. However, bear in mind that simple is one of the hardest things to achieve!
  • Your website is for your clients, not for you. Make sure that at every step when talking about design you are asking yourself, is that what will attract my clients? 
  • Looking at other sites you like for inspiration is a good idea, but don't get carried away and expect your website to look exactly the same. That's called copying and its not good business!

Next week I'll discuss thinking about the future of your website. See you then!



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