Asking the right questions and getting the most out of your designer.
When selecting a designer and getting your site designed you need to make sure that you ask the right questions and also not leave anything out when getting the site designed. You don't want to find your site done and find out you forgot to get a logo designed or something like that. You want to make sure that you get it done all at once.
The following will help you prepare yourself for a designer and also to find a designer or at least create a checklist of design elements and steps you need to follow.
Preparing for the Design
It is very important before you start the actual design to make sure you understand what you want your site to be able to do and also you need to have an idea about what you want it to look like also. I am going to cover functionality and also design/accessibility.
Functionality refers to what you want your site to be able to do. Certain functions require certain programming elements. Some functionality is just a matter of design. Below is a general list of some of the most basic and most used functionality on a site. I have also listed some tools that will help accomplish the functionality you may be looking for.
- Shopping Cart : Makes it so that you can sell product.
- Email List Manager/Autoresponder : Gives you the ability to collect email addresses.
- Blog : The ability to blog information.
- Forum : Program used for communities. An example of a forum can be found at: http://forum.joomla.org
- Guestbook : Give people the ability to sign your guestbook and let people know they have visited your site.
- Content Management System (CMS) : Makes it easy to build a web site. Like a web builder program.
- Photo Gallery : Gives you the ability to create a photo gallery.
- Polls : The ability to create polls.
- Site Builder/Web Builder : Makes it easy to create a site from scratch.
- Calendar : A calendaring system to let people know of events and things that are coming up and happening.
There are many other features available, but keep in mind that the more functionality your site has, often times the more expensive it can be to design or build. Also the more complicated it can be to manage. You can always add functionality later.
Design is a matter of making things look good. Accessibility is a matter of making things work fluidly and making things work the best way that they can. Below are some things to consider when putting your design idea together.
- Professional and Clean.
- Create a symbol that represents your business.
- 2 Forms of Navigation.
- Clear and easy to use.
- 2 to 3 Complimentary Colors.
- Don't use too many different colors.
- Make sure that you choose colors that represent feelings that you are trying to convey to your visitors.
- Make sure that you understand what types of forms you may need for your site.
- Make sure that you use forms to make emailing you easier.
- No more than 2 different fonts.
- You are limited to the fonts you can use online.
- Often times fancy fonts are actually graphics of words.
- Make sure your graphics represent you business well.
- Make sure that you are legally safe using the images you are using.
- Photos often times are best to use to create a professional feeling to your site.
- Clipart conveys fun.
- Keep the graphics consistent.
- Optimize graphics so the look good but load fast.
- Keep it simple
- Load Time
- Make sure site is search engines friendly.
There are many elements involved when it comes to web design. Just make sure whether you are building yourself or having someone else build it for you that you aren't forgetting anything. The more vocal and visual you can make your vision, the more likely the design will be more accurate as the vision is interpreted.
Once you understand what your needs are then you need to find a host that can fulfill your needs. Sometimes it's good to talk to your designer to get some suggestions for a host that they are familiar with. Often times it pays to research hosts though because some hosts charge $50 a month and some charge $5 a month. Sometimes you will find that the $5 a month actually offers more.
When it comes to hosting always remember that the more you know technically, the cheaper hosting becomes. It will pay off in the end to educate yourself.
Creating A Guideline For Designers
When creating a guideline for designers you need to be very clear to what you need done. With what we have discussed above, you should have a very clear vision on what your needs are for your site. Designers cannot read your mind, they need your input to create the ideas that you have for your site.
Choosing your Designer
When choosing a host you should base your decision on price but more importantly experience. You should ask to see some of the things that they have done in the past. Some type of a portfolio to see what type of designing they have done in the past.
There are many different places you can go to find a designer. Below are what I would suggest looking into.
- Local Design Company
- Local College
Sometimes you can give students internship credits for designing your site and you can often times get it done for free too.
Freelancers Online : Often times finding freelancers online can cut cost tremendously, but sometimes you run into communication problems and whatnot. Below are some sites you can go to:
You can often times cut costs but as the saying goes, You get what you pay for.