There is no specific set of skills for a web designer. Some designers veer more towards development, and others prefer visual design.
For that reason, choosing the right web designer can be really tough.
And that's even before we start considering the style, price, and experience, which vary greatly.
For example, right now, there are more than 11,668 results in Fiverr for web design. How is a business to differentiate between one and another?
In this post, I will attempt to clear your mind and hopefully help you find the best solution for your business. Before we start, let's clear something up.
A web designer is someone that designs websites. The specifics could vary greatly from someone who creates all the graphics and hierarchy systems to someone who takes a multidisciplinary approach.
A website is comprised of images, illustrations, icons, copywriting, research, etc. A web designer could work in each of these aspects or work with a team.
The baseline for a web designer is to take care of the layout, brand elements, colors, fonts, and all the visual and motion elements.
While some web designers take the project from start to finish doing the wireframing, planning, coding, launch, etc. Others prefer to work with a team and play to their strengths. Working with a team or flying solo plays a part in the pricing.
I work alone in most of the projects that come my way, but I've been part of projects that require a specialist for each aspect of the website. These projects tend to be more expensive and take way longer to complete.
When choosing a web designer, you should choose a designer or agency that fits the project you need. I know it is tough to know what kind of team you will need, so one piece of advice I can give you is to choose a designer that works in a CMS that can grow with your business.
I've had a few clients who needed to completely redesign their site because their last web guy used a framework or a CMS that could no longer support their website.
Most designers have their own style. Before you hire a web designer is a good idea to check their portfolio and see if their aesthetic matches your brand.
Don't rely solely on the portfolio. Remember that most of these pieces were designed for specific projects. The goals and needs shown in these works might not necessarily align with yours.
Another aspect to take into consideration is that the design system they followed might have been chosen beforehand. Each brand is different. A good portfolio is not always a warranty, but it will help you to choose.
The portfolio will also let you peek at the way they work. Remember that what they show is what they consider to be their best work. If you see superb attention to detail, you can assume your project will have the same characteristics.
If you ask any web designer, they'll probably tell you their favorite part of designing a website is when they are staring at the monitor "pushing pixels."
However, a successful web design project needs constant communication and goal-setting. An experienced designer will have a clear roadmap before putting pen to paper.
Ask your designer to show you the steps he/she will follow before starting a project. This way, you will have a clear workplace and schedule, which will result in fewer conflicts.
I use Ora.pm as a project manager, and I have a few friends who use Trello as another project manager. But I've seen everything from a simple Google Doc to a whiteboard.
The objective is to let you know the steps needed to complete a project. It provides a timeline, a set of rules, and demonstrates the scope of the project.
As I stated previously, a web designer could have a long list of skills or a limited but well-developed set.
To be honest, I really wouldn't worry too much. As long as the designer can deliver a working website in an easy-to-manage way for you, I believe that's enough.
For me, it is more important to look for a designer with good communication skills than a designer with a good design eye but lacking in soft skills.
A beautiful site is essential, but a website that helps your business grow is even better.
The most popular websites (Amazon, Google, Facebook) would probably never win a design award. However, what they lack in good looks, they make up in conversions.
A well-designed website has a strategy behind it. It is not only about looks. For that reason, I am wary of websites with lots of animations and flashy content. In my experience, these sites are built not to sell but to show off the developer skills.
I'm not against beautiful websites. I do believe a website must be beautiful as well as functional.
So, for me, one of the most important questions to ask is: how will this website aid my business goals?
This question should be answered by both the designer and the client. And an agreement should be reached by all before the hand-off.
You should choose a web designer depending on the kind of work you'll be needing,
In my opinion, you shouldn't place too much weight on programming languages or preferred CMS. As long as you can manage your website and it works correctly and fast, all your needs are covered.
I believe too much attention is paid to the new technologies. A WordPress site might deliver the same experience as a Gatsby site. It is a matter of learning how to and using your site.
Pay attention to the designer's portfolio but take into consideration that some visual choices might be the result of a previous branding guide.
And lastly, choose a web designer that makes you feel right. Either with good communication or good soft skills.
Have fun! Building a website with the right people is an adventure!