Getting positive results from a web designer has almost as much to do with finding a good web designer as it does being a good web client.
The best websites are custom made to be a perfect fit for your business. The key to getting an end product that looks great and works for you is allowing the professionals you hire to get a full understanding of what you want to achieve, and use their skills and knowledge to achieve those goals.
In short, your job is to tell your design team what you want and then let them give it to you.
One of the hardest things for some business owners and managers to do is to loosen the reins a bit and let the web design team do what they do best. Relinquishing a certain amount of control over the project and trusting in the expertise and experience of the design team is a vital part of getting the results you want from the relationship. Resist the urge to micromanage!
The designer’s role is two-fold: first, to understand your needs and goals and second, to deliver the results in the best possible fashion. Your role is to help facilitate the first part of the designer’s job: communicating your needs so the designer can get in your head and understand exactly what your business does, how you do it and what you offer to clients. The better the designer understands where your coming from, the more precisely he or she can achieve the results you envisioned. To that end, you can play a more integral role by learning a bit about the web design process – both by allowing yourself to be educated and through independent research – so you can provide the information and concepts that will be useful to the web designer.
Your role should not include heavy involvement in determining and executing the best method for realizing your goals based on your needs. Doing so is counter-intuitive to the notion of hiring a web design team for their expertise and professional insight. The amount you pay a web designer should reflect the value you place on their instincts and experience, meaning the more you pay for their expertise, the more trust you should release into that professional’s hands.
Trust the integrity of the design. Web designers will often present you with three or more conceptual mockups, each composed with its own typeface, color scheming and layout. The aesthetic makeup of a web design is almost always irreducibly complex – meaning there’s limited ability to mix and match aspects between designs. Attempting to do so yields a mixed-up duck-billed platypus of a design.
Pay attention to content and function. With websites, form always follows function. So, instead of focusing on the look and feel of the web design, point out things you like or dislike about the way the content is presented. For example, saying that you preferred how the presentation of the contact information in mockup A rather than in mockup B is more useful than saying, “I wish this was blue.”
Be efficient as possible with changes. Providing a single long list of tweaks and changes for a website is much more productive than submitting many shorter lists of revision requests. This way, the designer can seamlessly integrate all of your requests at once, rather than going back and rearranging, rebuilding and in many cases, starting from scratch in order to accommodate each new change. To prevent this from happening, set aside some time to review the design carefully rather than taking quick glances here and there, noticing something new each time. This will significantly reduce the total time (and cost) required to finalize your web design.
At the end of the day, getting the best results from your web designer is all about establishing a shared vision with the professional you choose to work with. Just like any relationship, communication and trust are key. Trust that your web designer has the skills and experience needed to actualize what you’ve envisioned for your website, but don’t trust him or her to be able to read your mind. Devote your energy towards making your needs as clear as possible to your web designer so you can better achieve your common goal: creating a functional, scalable and beautiful website for your business or organization.