Picking the right web design company to update your business website can mean the difference between a project that runs smoothly or a process that is riddled with missteps and blown budgets. After you’ve done your research and have selected the team with the right experience in the right price range, then comes the real challenge: working together over the length of the project to ensure that your business needs are met and that the project is a success for everyone.
At the center of this yin and yang is one key principle: trust. It is your responsibility to trust your design team and it is their responsibility to behave in a way that continually earns and retains your trust.
We’ve developed a few key pointers to help you learn to trust your design team, for projects on the web and off.
Before beginning a project with your design team, ask to see samples of their previous work. Though print and web designers are always seeking the next big design trend, if they have worked in an industry or on a project that is similar to yours, use that as a sign that they know the landscape and can help you navigate it.
Understand the process
A quality web design company should follow a specific process with quantifiable benchmarks throughout the length of the project. If your team doesn’t explain the process to you, feel free to ask before work begins. Then you will know what to expect and when changes or setbacks happen, you will not feel taken for a ride.
Set deadlines & expectations
Setting clear expectations and deadlines at the start of a redesign ensures that everyone is working toward the same goal. If you get off track, you can easily course-correct. Ask your team to set benchmarks to measure progress at the outset of the project and make sure they stick to the plan (or they give you plenty of notice if they encounter unforeseen challenges.) On the flip side, you must live up to your end of the bargain, too, by replying to their questions clearly and quickly to avoid any schedule stalls.
Communicating with a design team can be tricky, since you might not know the correct jargon. Web design companies are used to this problem and will work to help you articulate exactly what you expect. Don’t be vague with your feedback. “I don’t think I like it…” or “It doesn’t feel right…” without additional explanation doesn’t help the team figure out what you DO want.
Instead, use clear directives and follow each with a short explanation. Here’s an example: “I would like our accounting services to be featured more prominently on the website since that is where we are focusing most of our new business development right now.” Communication like this will aid the team’s subsequent decision-making and can help them anticipate your needs.
Another tip to communicate with designers is to use adjectives that reflect a personality type. You might tell your team that you want your website to be more:
Also, clearly articulate your target market to your team. Be specific! The more clearly you can describe your ideal customer, the more easily your web team can design a look that meets your expectations. You might want your website to be…
- …for athletic men
- …for safety-conscious parents
- …for budget vacationers
- …for businesses who need legal services
- …for local construction contractors
Don’t micro-manage your design team. It slows down the process and erodes their morale. Trust their years of experience. They understand what their process is. You don’t like it when your clients micro-manage you; neither do design companies.
Don’t be afraid to defer
When in doubt about a design, layout or UX solution, defer to your team. Web design companies make their living providing useful design solutions for businesses like yours. If they are reputable, they are up to date with all the new design trends and they will want to push your website to look like it’s on the cutting edge of today’s web design best practices (if only to ensure that you will get at least a few years’ longevity from it). Unless you have a very good reason for changing their designs, leave them as is.
It’s not always easy to put your company’s goals and future success in the hands of someone who is tasked with representing your company to the outside world but who doesn’t work within your company’s walls. But by developing these tools of trust, you can confidently loosen the reins and rest assured that your design project won’t crash and burn.