When it comes to hiring a website designer, there are several factors to consider: design skills (portfolio) and cost, being two of the most obvious. But how do you know if you’ve hired the right person for you?
Here are eight things that you’ll want to watch out for (and let’s alternate male and female, just to be fair):
1. She insists on using Comic Sans.
Many fonts are now considered outdated on the Web, such as Times New Roman, Verdana, and Arial. Comic Sans is not only passe, but screams unprofessional. Unless your audience is six-year-olds, it never is (and never was) appropriate. There are so many professional fonts available these days, including many fun ones. If your designer doesn’t know that, run.
2. He never returns your calls/emails
This is something you don’t want happening with any professional you hire. Sure, we all get busy, but if your designer is always “too busy” to get back to you – even if it’s just to tell you he’s busy, but will get back to you soon – you’re not getting the attention you deserve and have paid for.
3. She doesn’t listen to your ideas
Sure, you’ve hired a professional because she has experience and knows best. However, that doesn’t mean your ideas don’t have validity, whether they’re what works in your particular line of work or simply what you’re comfortable with. Your designer should be more than willing to hear your ideas and concerns and offer her thoughts as to the pluses and minuses, from a design perspective.
4. He only listens to your ideas
At the opposite extreme is someone who doesn’t offer any push back on your ideas. If he blindly does everything you’ve asked, without offering his professional opinion, he’s not doing his job. Sometimes the client needs to be informed of what might not work or alternative options. The whole process should be a discussion, leading to the best overall result.
5. She uses clip art
Clip art is the usually-free graphics that comes with desktop publishing programs, like Word, or that can easily be found in a Google search. There may be a place for it, but it’s not on your website. If your designer can’t put in the time or cost to find or create original, professional graphics or photos, it’s time to look for a new designer.
6. He tells you everything’s impossible
Sure, there are things that are difficult and/or time consuming to set up on the Web. But, unless you’re asking for flames to literally shoot out of the screen, just about everything you’d want is doable. Especially if it’s something you’ve seen on another website. If your designer laughs something off as “impossible” he’s probably being ignorant or lazy. If he’s not sure if it’s possible, he should take the time to research and get back to you with an idea of how difficult the idea may be to implement, so you can decide if it’ll be worth the cost.
7. You don’t like her portfolio
This one really begs the question: Then why did you hire her? You may not love every piece the designer has done, but you should definitely like more than you don’t like and feel confident that she could create something that you’ll be happy with, based on her style and the variation shown in her portfolio.
8. He doesn’t have any testimonials or references
The portfolio the designer presents to you may look great, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. What’s he like to work with? Does he meet his promised deadlines? Are there surprise costs? If his website doesn’t contain a list of happy clients, ask for at least three references so you can hear for yourself what the experience of working with him will be like.
Remember, you’re the one paying for a service. You should not only be happy with the final result, but with the process. Take your time and make the right choice for you!