20 December 2018
20 Questions to Ask a Web Design Company
A website is a must-have marketing tool for any business. Acting as the major source of information about your company on the Internet, it provides both existing and potential customers with information about your business and services.
Hiring a web design company to do the work for you is the right decision, as professionals can help you reach the goal times faster than an in-house team. Why? The answer is simple: they have the expertise, experience, and resources you lack.
Be cautious when selecting designers to work on the project — all that glitters is not gold. Make sure that they're the right choice for you by interviewing them. We’ve selected 25 questions to ask when hiring a web designer that will help you assess the expertise level of your candidates. As well as provide an alternative to hiring.
Questions to Ask a Web Design Company
We've compiled a list of questions to ask web developers to help you with this tough task. Ask them all and you'll find a perfect team for the project
The first set of questions to ask a web developer is connected to Design Experience and Skills.
1. Can you provide your portfolio and your customers' feedback/references?
This is the first question to ask when hiring a web designer. A potential service provider may claim that they have relevant experience and have developed dozens if not hundreds of websites, but you still need some proof. Always ask for a portfolio to support what they say
Also, request customer feedback and references or visit business listings like Clutch to find out whether all the projects found in the portfolio are real and how capable the company is. If you know some of the customer names, you can contact them directly to learn more about their experience of working with the agency.
2. Can you share any case studies?
Websites are not only about building an online presence but also attaining specific goals. Do you want to be sure that you’ll get exactly what you need? Case studies are the best way to do that with minimum effort when hiring a website design company
Ask for case studies with detailed statistics of the business results that were reached with a specific project: a conversion rate increased online sales grew exponentially, and so on.
If the data doesn’t satisfy you, just say "No" and hire another service provider.
3. Do you create designs for one specific industry or company type?
Web design companies often work with clients from various industries, while others are laser-focused on specific industries or even company types. Is that good or bad?
Designers working with industry for years know exactly what their clients need. They can create a design that meets all imaginable standards and requirements much faster than others.
But will they be able to create something unique? Hardly. To get something unique, opt for agencies with a wider specialization.
4. What services do you offer?
In the ideal world, all web design agencies commonly provide not only design but also web development services, as well as hosting, copywriting, SEO, and other services associated with websites. But in reality, this may be not true, hence this web designer interview question. So never assume that an agency has all the skills you need for the project
If it's a small company, chances are they won't tackle everything related to your site. Double-check that you'll gain the desired results with their assistance before signing a contract.
5. Who will be working on my website and how much experience do they have?
If you employ a big company, don't expect every member of the team to be involved in your project. Knowing each who will be working your site will is always beneficial.
It's your money, so you have the right to ask questions about the experience and skills these people have. This will also help you to understand how the project will be managed.
6. Do you work in-house or outsource your projects?
Some agencies offer web design and development as a service and outsource the work. Such an approach has two sides. It can sometimes be incredibly helpful or it can lead to project delays, communication challenges, and additional costs.
If your web designer needs additional support it’s a good idea to know who they’re working with and what features they’re working on to eliminate any misunderstandings on either side and help you get the best result
7. What are the major steps you follow when developing a site?
Like any other process, website development includes some major stages that experts will never miss, such as research and planning, design, develop, testing, and launch.
Agencies that can't tell you how exactly the project will be delivered are not the ones you're looking for.
8. Will you integrate third-party apps, extensions, etc. to the website if needed?
A brand-new or revamped site is not enough. You will need to make it fit your needs by extending its functionality through the installation of custom plugins (e.g., social media) or integration with third-party solutions.
If the extended functionality is part of your website design plan, discuss these developments during the interview.
Web design projects have many similarities, but each of them is unique to some extent. Here is another set of questions to ask when designing a website. This “what to ask your web designer and developer” section covers the project details.
9. What kind of research will you do on our business?
If you want to get sophisticated branding and website design, this web design question is a must. Successful design, development and marketing requires research of your business and industry. That’s why website design and development process should include Design and Technical Discovery phases.
Designing and building your website in this way allows you and your designer to focus on creating the attractive brand story, engaging content writing, and employ best practices needed for your online presence.
10. What do you need from me before we start the project?
Ask this web design question at the beginning of the project to prevent scrambling for content, images, login info, and other details. Before you start the project, talk with your web designer and get a checklist of exactly what you’ll need to give them to get started.
Here are some tips: you will need written content, logo design, and photography, so suggest your ideas on what you want to see and give some references.
Generally speaking, lower-budget website builds mean you, as a client, need to provide all the written and visual content. The designer then builds the site with that content. Higher-budget websites usually include content writing and brand photoshoots are done for you. In any case, you will always need to provide written feedback/make edits and you will need to show up for your photo session (and plan ahead).
11. Should I provide a written copy for the website?
This and the next questions are specifying the previous one. Most web designers aren’t content writers, so they will outsource this task to a copywriter who will be responsible for creating all the marketing content for your site.
Alternatively, you can create written content for your site or hire a copywriter you trust. It’s a great idea to give your written content to an editor for review and ask colleagues for feedback. Website writing is different from any other form of writing, so it’s very important you are working with a copywriter who knows how to and specifically writes for websites and keeps page hierarchy, SEO, and meta descriptions in mind.
12. Do you want me to provide the images for the website?
It’s a good practice to get prepared and gather your images, graphics, videos, and all brand materials (logo, fonts, colors). Ask the designer to review the content and say if they fit.
If you are trying to rebrand your business you will need to get new custom photography. Most web designers aren’t professional photographers, so they will outsource the task to a brand photographer. Find out if you will need to hire a professional photographer yourself and ask for referrals.
13. How long will it take to complete the site and how much will it cost?
The scope of the required work will determine how fast the project will be delivered. Describe what you want to receive in order to get an approximate estimation of the project timeline and cost.
You certainly have your thoughts about the deadline. If the estimation differs drastically from it, you may need to review the launch date. A preliminary cost is also essential so that the final price will fit your budget.
14. Will you perform QA before the site goes live?
Though testing is a vital web development stage, some put design first. Your service provider should describe the kind of testing they will perform in detail. You will also be able to share your thoughts and set different priorities if necessary.
QA specialists should carefully develop a test strategy for the product, including functional testing, performance testing, usability testing, security testing, database testing, and A/B testing
15. Can an existing site be revamped or do I need a new one?
Creating a new website may not be the best decision for your business if the old one can be improved. Website revamping may cost less and take less time.
If the existing site almost meets your goals and you only wish to make it more attractive or add some new functionality, you may not need someone totally new.
So seek expert advice on what is better for you. Let them name the weaknesses of the current site and the necessary improvements and share a preliminary cost of such a project and its timeframe.
Note: also find out what materials they'll expect from you in both cases in order to prepare them beforehand.
16. Will you create a custom design, or customize a ready-made theme or template?
There are two options to create a site design: either take an existing free/paid template on the Internet and customize it or build everything from scratch.
The first approach is usually quicker and cheaper but won't make your site stand out in the crowd. The second is more expensive and time-consuming, but a site with its design will never be the same as others.
Tell web designers what your needs are and ask them what is better in your case.
17. Who will own the code/fonts/design/domain/etc.?
Source: Stack Overflow
Imagine that the project is over. They have designed and developed a site for you, registered a hosting account, written compelling copy, and completed other vital steps so that the site can go live.
But are you sure that a couple of months later you won't stumble upon a website surprisingly similar to your own? It will have your custom fonts, your original artwork, and even your logo. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn't it?
Find out who will own all the source files, the hosting account, the server, and everything related to the site in advance. Make sure you negotiate all the terms and include them in the contract.
18. Will my website be built to meet my business growth?
Your business will grow one day, and you will certainly want your website to meet it by extending its functionality with widgets or by adding new pages.
Will it be possible without a redesign? Inquire whether they can build a site with some room for growth and how much effort such growth will require.
19. Will you provide any warranty/maintenance services when the work is completed?
A glitch, problem, or error—that's not what you expect from a well-developed site. But like anything else, it may break one day, unintentionally or not.
You will definitely want a quick fix from the people who delivered the project. But will they do such work for free and how long will it take? Find it out about the services they provide and costs, and plan ahead for them.
20. Will you show me wireframes and layout mockups prior to proceeding to the development stage?
If you need a simple, informative website with no extra functionality, you will have an idea of its design that you'll be able to communicate to the design team.
But if the project is complex, with numerous components and modules, wireframes and layout mockups will be of great help both to you and the agency. With them in front of you, you'll be able to judge whether all the elements are arranged correctly. As no coding is involved, all the changes can be done within hours, saving both time your and the web developer's time.
Here are the final web design questions you can use at the interview that touch upon the tools and resources
21. What web standards and practices do you follow?
The web designing landscape is still evolving. If you want your site to look up-to-date, find out whether web designers keep abreast of the latest trends and standards by simply asking them.
A small tip: spend some time googling before the interview to find information about the latest World Wide Web Consortium standards and inquire how the developers will make your site comply with them.
22. What content management systems do you work with?
Content management systems come into play when a lot of content is involved. If you're running an e-commerce store or you have decided to start a blog, you'll need one to upload, edit, publish, and manage the content.
There are many great CMSs like WordPress and Joomla that have such functionality, making it important to find an agency that can recommend one to you, integrate it with your site, and make changes in its core code if needed.
23. How will you track all the project-related tasks?
A site development project will have deadlines. But will the agency meet them?
To make certain that everything is OK and to eliminate surprises, keep track of the progress. As the project will comprise a multitude of individual tasks, it is close to impossible to track them manually.
A project management system can be extremely handy. Request access to it and weekly/monthly updates, so that you'll know how the project is progressing in detail.
24. What design and development tools will you use?
There’s a huge number of both free and paid tools that can be used to design and build a site. Product Hunt, for instance, offers thousands of them.
But some software is better than others. For instance, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Canva are the best choice for graphic and web design, while InvisionApp is great for interactive designs. The use of well-known solutions is a true sign of professionalism.
25. Will you optimize the site for search engines?
SEO is a boon to businesses looking for a way to rank their website higher on search engines. This can be achieved through on-page (e.g., adding meta tags) and off-page (e.g., user-friendly interlinking) optimization.
It’s important that the web design agency can assist you with optimization to entice new visitors your site.
The leading Japanese video game company KOEI TECMO reached out to us to improve their website. Our team completed full-cycle redevelopment of the entire game catalog, simplified the workflow, added the direct links and replaced the information on the page. The client’s website design lacked order, so we improved the user flow and also removed the excessive visual elements from the screens, making them more minimalistic to put a better accent on the important data.
Rhlah — Travel Marketplace
Rhlah is an innovative travel portal allowing millions of users to plan trips, book tours, and hotels, as well as communicate with fellow travelers to Saudi Arabia.
Agente team designed this custom travel marketplace from scratch with user experience and user interface design for over 50 pages of the platform.
LMS for Marketing Courses
Our client wanted to develop a learning management system with the modules for video lessons, tasks, assessments, and teacher-student communication.
We offered an Agente turnkey eLearning solution that includes UX/UI design, HTML coding, and software development. We adapted the main functionality to different devices making video lessons come with resumable playback and YouTube embedding functionality. Our development team implemented eLearning website features that enhance learning experience for corporate users: video lessons, task management system, progress tracking, messaging system, user profiles, and dashboards with analytics.
Atterley — eCommerce Fashion Retailer Platform
Atterley asked for a complete redesign of category, brand and product pages on their e-commerce fashion website. Within three months,we optimized the website’s UX for higher conversion, updated the UI, improved Atterley’s catalog and product pages, polished the information architecture and strengthened the brand identity.
Finding a web design company for your site may seem an easy task. But choosing between agencies offering similar services can be really tough. Feel free to use the survey questions for hiring a website design company we listed in the post to find the best match. Want to interview AGENTE? Contact us today and we’ll answer your question
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