How to Manage Your Web Designer
A web designer should be focused on what they do best: designing! However, many designers get so caught up in the creative process that they fail to incorporate a business perspective. That is, they are not focusing on how their service will truly benefit the client. Without this knowledge, they will have a much more challenging time communicating and managing the design process.
Follow these tips, starting with the initial meeting with your potential designer:
Explain your businesses touch-points
As you are meeting with the designer, ask questions about their design process, experience, and expectations. Understand exactly what they want, or what they need to make a first class design. This information will be used in all your meetings with the designer, and will help the designer put together a well thought out design.
Explain what your existing website (if you have one!) is doing right/wrong. What does it have going for it-where is it lacking? Be honest and open when reviewing your old website, this will help the designer develop a more effective design composition.
A few specific areas to investigate:
How many sales/visitors – if an ecommerce website, how many sales are generated each month. How many unique visitors come to the site?
What is the conversion rate – how many visitors convert into customers? What’s the average order value?
How many repeat customers – how many new customers come back to make repeat purchases? And how often?
When asking these questions, think more from a business perspective than a design perspective. The designer should be focusing on much more than designing a website: they should be thinking about increasing your sites sales, or generating more leads. When you can connect with them on this level, your design will be more effective in meeting your business objectives.
What to ask
Learn more about the designers work. Compare their portfolio of designs to your existing site (review their newest work), and ask the designer how their concepts can help meet or exceed your business goals. Try flipping back and forth between site designs to emphasis the difference in design quality.
Ask the designer to explain the conversion centric components, usability improvements, and other key design elements – outline the major money making or lead generating components required for your design. Ask them to explain how these components will increase the bottom line sales of the site.
Reviewing the proposal/contract
Make sure to go through the proposal/contract with a fine-toothed comb to make sure you understand all points!
Understand the process Ask the designer to explain or document the design process from prototype to production. Have them include everything from market research to wireframing and user testing. As the designer to breakdown their methodology so you can understand it.
Outline provided services Ask the designer to list out all the items included with the design; from the initial research to the favorite icon. Ask if their are limits on applicable items (e.g. stock photography).
Expectations Ask the designer to clearly articulate what the expectations should be for the design process. For example; content, images, photography, turn-around time on deliverables, and other assets. Ask for the deadlines and consequences of missed dates.
Understand the strategy of design Ask how many revisions are offered, and what’s included with a revision. Also define how revisions above and beyond the defined limit are handled.
Ask for buffer time To play it safe, ask the designer to include hours above and beyond what they estimate the design will take. Many times, due diligence and research don’t catch every special case. When this happens, it helps to have additional buffer time to make changes or additions.
Ask for the hourly rate Ask for their hourly rate for more revisions, additional stock photography, etc… If your project burns through your quoted hours, and the buffer time, you can expect to be charged the designers hourly rate for completion.
Use these tips to work with your designer, and expect to see a well thought out and effective design for your website!