What should I ask before engaging a web designer

We consult on some website projects and often get asked what should I ask my designer.

Here are a few things we recommend you find out before engaging.

  • What is in their written warranty?
    Find out specifically if they have one to start with. Many don’t. Check that the warranty has clauses that protect you also, not just them.
  • What is in their Quality Assurance Policy?
    Again, many don’t have one.  You need to know that if the web site’s functionality is what was promised and you have a way to be sure the company will resolve any issue for you.
  • What experience do they have?
    Web Design is one of the most common careers individuals with very limited IT experience think they can do. Protect yourself by making sure they have some experience you are satisfied with.
  • What similar projects have they completed before?
    If your web site needs are specific, then find out of they’ve completed other similar projects for clients recently.
  • Who will own the intellectual property of the website?
    This is the rights of ownsership etc to the website and files. Some companies retain these rights. We believe they belong to you.
  • Will the website be locked to using their company?
    Some web site designers provide web sites that are locked to their company. This means if you ever decide to use another company to maintain your web site in the future, you can’t.
  • Are there any required services that they don’t provide?
    Be certain that they can provide the web site functionality your business requires. Some companies have limited resources and may not be able to expand with you.
  • How do they communicate with clients?
    Some campanies stop communicating once the money is in or the project is started, let alone complete. Be certain they will be willing to discuss your project throughout the design process if necessary.
  • What are their work flow and processes?
    Knowing how the company will go about putting your web site together is important. When you are expected to provide content to keep them on schedule it’s important to know their workflow and timing.

Extra Hints

  • Ask the developer to explain their project back to you to check that they have a good understanding of your project and expectations.
  • Draw diagrams or sketch layouts to communicate exactly what your expectations are.