Subtle questions to think about
Choosing a web design agency is not easy and there is no magic formula to pick the right one for you, but there are some simple questions you can ask yourself to avoid choosing an incompatible agency, or one that won’t fulfil your requirements. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before jumping in.
1. Do they take an interest in your company?
A successful website encapsulates the organisation. It reflects it’s values, goals, and image from top to bottom. A good web designer will take an active interest and ask questions about your business to try to identify who your target audience is, what your long-term and short-term goals are, how you want your website to integrate with your business and the outcomes you want to achieve from it. Taking an interest in your company means the solutions and interface for your website will be more likely to be aligned and in tune with your business.
2. Do they ask the right questions?
They should be asking questions to identify your business strategies as well as preferences. Before an agency provides you with a quote, they may ask you questions around websites and designs you like and ones you don’t as well as the reasons behind them. They should also be asking you what you want your website to do, and how you want to manage the content. In later phases, for example after the initial design mock-ups they should again be asking for feedback. Although the agency should take your preferences into account, do listen to the reasons why your designers has done things a particular way as they will be thinking about usability, compatibility in different browsers and the next phase of development where the designs are coded. If they don’t ask any questions about your preferences when it comes to design and functionality, there is a pretty good chance you won’t be pleased with the result.
3. Do they answer your questions?
Don’t be afraid to ask why and how, or just ask for an explanation of any jargon you might not understand. If you don’t fully understand their answers, or they don’t take the time to explain at the onset, chances are you’ll hit some problems further down the line.
4. Do they have experience in your sector?
If you are a store that is going into e-commerce, you will need a very different website than, say, a non-profit organisation. A non-profit organisation may need a donation page that accepts different currencies, and an online shop needs to maintain an accurate inventory. Previous experience with your market and industry may mean they understand the users that land on your website better and will have more experience in designing the website which will give you the most conversions, developing so that it incorporates functions that your market will find useful, and have experience with tools and frameworks which they will be more efficient in using. Pick an agency that has experience designing for organisations similar to your own. They will be more aware of common issues (and solutions) from the onset.
5. Do you like the look of their website and other websites they have designed?
This is not the only thing to go on, but if you really truly dislike their website, it might be a sign that your design tastes are simply different. After all, we won’t all like the same paintings. Every agency will have one or more designers working with them, and one or more of these will be allocated to your project. If you don’t like any of their designs, chances that they’ll produce a website style that you’ll like are slim. Ultimately, it is an easy thing to consider and can help decide between two agencies that are otherwise equal.
These are just some more subtle things to think about. Make sure you feel comfortable with your web design agency. Often the process of website development and continued maintenance will mean that you form a long relationship with your agency so it’s worth taking the time to ensure they are the right fit.