How You Can Ensure Your Web Designer Provides You With Value For Money!
When you hire a web designer to create your business website, as an entrepreneur or business owner, you’ll seldom get down into the dirty details about what they are actually doing with your website build and how they are doing it. Business owners often just focus on business functionality and appearance, leaving it to the “pros” to take care of the rest.
That shouldn’t always be the case. Here are 4 key elements of your web design that you should learn more about from the company tasked with designing your new web presence.
Unspoken Secrets Of The Trade
The following four web design aspects don’t often come up in discussions or negotiations with web developers but they are important topics nonetheless. Given their importance and impact on your business, they should be part of the broader conversation with your web development team:
1. Website Accessibility: If you wish your website to be inclusive, catering to the broadest segment of the population, then you need the site to be designed as widely accessible a destination as possible. That means you must comply with The Disability Act 2005. Some simple ways of ensuring that accessibility include:
• Avoiding the exclusive use of colour to convey key information about your goods and services
• Making sure your website is designed using contrasting backgrounds and foregrounds
• Ensuring your web designing team stays away from the excessive use of flickering or flashing elements
• Stay away from non-standard website plugins which may not work on simpler browsers that those with various disabilities may use
• Allowing users to re-size page fonts and image sizes
Paying attention to these simple details during the early phases of design could not only mean that you end up with a fully compliant website; but it could also attract a larger segment of visitors to your site who otherwise might not have visited your site. Discuss these details with your web designers and ask for their advice. How can they incorporate the best practise principles and still have a great looking new website for your business.
2. Browser Inconsistencies: Many of today’s browsers do not interpret web designs universally. There may be inconsistencies across major browsers, such as Microsoft Edge, Google’s Chrome, Opera, Apple's Safari or Firefox - and these deviations could make your web site look like its erratic or poorly designed.
These challenges are magnified when dealing with mobile-enabled websites.
For potential clients that browse using various devices (smart phones, tablets, desk top computers), these differences could be a minor irritant regarding your site, or a major “turn off” leading them to go shop and visit elsewhere.
The way to get around this is to have a frank and example/demo based, face to face discussion with your proposed web development team about how they will be dealing with the above issues to make sure your website is extensively tested. Good web design teams will have a robust solution to make sure that your site is very widely tested before it goes live.
3. Error handling: Good website designers never assume their designs will be error-free. Instead, they handle any eventuality in their designs. Because this “handling” often takes place behind the scenes, unseen by the site owner, business owners don’t often understand its importance.
Have an open conversation with your web designer about this, because if your site does crash due to poor error handling, it could cost you more than just money to fix – your company’s reputation could take a hit too. Sometimes that damage may be irrecoverable. Talk to your web designers about how website errors are dealt with on the website – can these be logged and inspected regularly?
Who looks after this and how can this error handling/management solution be put in place in a workable format. This is most important with larger websites but it does matter with smaller websites too, so speak with them and have a full conversation about the ongoing health and operation of your website.
4. Good Coding Practices: Just as no one wants to know how a sausage is made, too many website owners and business managers care little about how their website is actually designed and built. A lot of what you see on your PC or smart phone screen takes place via hundreds and thousands of lines of website code.
“Spaghetti code” is a reference to code written using shoddy and undisciplined coding techniques – and you don't want unprofessional coding on your website as it is often badly built and has more chance of breaking in the near future. This dirty code will also be more expensive for you to fix when something does go wrong. Just as you want your architect to be exacting in their often unseen work of designing the details of your new house plans, your website designers and developers need to carry out their coding to exacting standards too.
Speak with your web design company face to face and explain this concern to them and ask them to address it with examples of website build code that they are working on now. You don't need to understand the code, but you do need to see that they are putting comments on their code here and there and that you are getting gan assurance of the quality of your website code build. This is an asset that you are buying for you website – you need it to be of a high standard so that it lasts the test of time and does not continually cost your business just to keep it 'alive' and running.
Working With The Pros
Not every IT firm will tell you these things beforehand, however, any professional outfit that designs and develops quality websites will be more than happy to discuss all of these web design “secret” details openly with you. This is a conversation that should take place before you enter into a binding contract with your website designer. This are important to you and your business so a professional web design company will have no issues showing you how they expertly deal with these details to look after their clients
Many of these concerns cannot be addressed by template-based or cookie-cutter website designers – they just don't have the wider skills to operate at this level. Websites need to be custom built to meet the above specific technical requirements. Some of the challenges identified above might seem “minor” – like contrasting backgrounds and foregrounds – but could end up needing comprehensive redesigning to the website, if they are not addressed right at the start.
It’s best to consult with a professional design team when planning and building business-critical websites – they have all the skill-sets and experience your website will require and they'll make the whole process easy on you.
If you have any questions on the above or any other website design, support or management questions please feel free to speak with us. Within 10 minutes you'll know that we're the website team that you wish you'd encountered years ago.