Are you interested in hiring a web design firm? The good news is there is no shortage of options.
The bad news is that not all website design firms are created equal in terms of the service and quality they provide.
And since a company's website is often its face to the world, picking a design agency is one place where you don't want to skimp in terms of either time or money.
To find the right website design firm, look for one that understands...
1. Your industry needs: The firm's specialty may be web design, but they should be able to think dynamically about the kinds of products or services you're delivering and how best to present them. It's helpful if the firm you pick can show you past work on similar websites, so you can know what to expect. Smashing Magazine has a number of useful website showcases for different industries that might give you a place to start as you're thinking about the look and feel you want for your own site.
The right web design firm will ask the right questions.
2. Your customers: The quality of user experience on your website will depend heavily on who the designer has in mind when creating. Make sure your design firm understands your target audience and how they're going to use the website. User-experience guru Justin Smith advises designers to invent a detailed fictional user persona when imagining a website; you should look for a firm that seems to have an intuitive grasp of what this persona might look like, based on your initial conversations. (For more insight on developing personas, check out our blog article, "Buyer personas: What are they and why does your business need them?")
3. What questions to ask: A good web design firm will want to understand your business to the fullest extent possible. To do this, they will not hesitate to ask the right questions, i.e. those that indicate they're thinking about how best to tailor the website to your needs and those of your customers.
The best design firms are confident, but not so much that their egos get in the way.
Photo Credit: Chris & Karen Highland.
4. When to assert themselves and when to concede: One of the most dangerous qualities in a designer is an oversized ego. Web design is a creative endeavor, and designers can get protective about their work. You should look for a firm that seems open to your ideas and input. On the other hand, they should be confident enough to stand behind their ideas when they really disagree. They're the design experts, after all.
5. What looks good: This seems like a no-brainer, but it can't be emphasized enough. A classic study found that 46 percent of people rate the "design look" as their top criteria for evaluating a website's credibility. The firm you pick should be able to show you portfolio work that's objectively attractive. Now, that's an oxymoron, of course. But if you have aesthetic doubts about a firm's past work, get a second opinion. And a third.
The right agency for your company is out there. If you are ready to take the next step and hire a professional and experienced web design firm, contact us today for more information about how we can help you.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can better align your inbound digital marketing strategies and content creation with an agile, data-driven website, download our growth-driven design eBook.
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