Web Design (also called Graphic Design) is the creative, artistic part of the process. (Think artist, interior decorator, right brain thinking.) Web Development and Programming, (also called coding) is the logical, technical part. (Think architect, electrician, left brain thinking.)
Unfortunately, because of the many software programs that make it “easy” to create a website, some design professionals really believe that they know how to turn their design into an active website. And because of the many ready-made designs available, many developers believe that they can legitimately offer design services along with the coding services.
So what can you do to determine if the person you are considering hiring has the skill level that you need for a successful and correctly coded website? Consider asking them the following:
- How many people will be working on my project and what is the specialty area of each? (Best answer: a minimum of 2 but preferably more.)
- Does the designer intend to do original work or use templates for this project? Ask for samples.
- Does this person or firm conduct usability testing while creating your website to make sure that the design and function is user-friendly? If so, how do they test the website, do they charge an additional fee for this service and will they share the results?
- What “lead capture” components do they recommend building into the site design?
Ask for the website address (URL) of some of their most recent projects. Then find at least two people with programming knowledge who will look at the code for that site (they’ll know how to find it) and give you feedback as to whether or not this person/firm is coding websites using current “best practices.” Another option is to go online to the Markup Validation Service and enter the URL of a few of the websites they have done. It will tell you the number of coding errors that exist on the home page of the website. It’s not unusual for correctly coded websites to show some errors, but if you see an excessive number of errors, there may be cause for concern.
Taking the extra steps to make sure you’re selecting the right team to create your website will save you time and money in the long run.