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Good professional web design companies can be found either in the local yellow pages or online via a search engine. Searching for professional web design companies using either of these methods should be constrained by the following conditions:
The approach you take to working with a Web design firm can determine how smoothly the process goes to create a Web site for your business. Begin by selecting the Web Design firm with a staff and experience most closely matched to your organizational needs and goals. Next, follow a few simple rules to produce results that give your firm a profitable and formidable presence on the Web.
• Keep lines of communication open and clear by assigning a primary liaison to the Web design staff.
• Keep your design timeline and direction on track by maintaining clear meeting notes and referring to your design brief.
• Approve all items like typography, copywriting, and Web design according to the timeline in order to avoid time spent with excessive revisions and disagreements over the conceptual process.
• Even when the project is complete, think for the long term. Assess what worked and what needs improvement for the next time. It is far easier to forge a strong relationship with a Web design firm and work with them again in the future than starting the entire process over.
If you're dealing with a professional Web design company, you can expect to receive some form of a design brief after your initial meeting or consultation. What is a design brief? During your initial meeting with a Web design firm, you'll discuss the parameters of the project, your design expectations, your target audience for your online project, and your budget and pricing needs. A design brief is a summary of the discussion for you to review, outlining a timeline for the project and cost requirements, created specifically for you by a professional Web design company.
Reviewing the portfolio of a Web page design company is often most convenient because you can simply browse through the design company Web site. Not only will a Web design company have its portfolio online, but the company's own Website is a portfolio onto itself for you to gauge ability and creative style.
You can start by assessing the overall picture of a Web page design company Web site and portfolio and then moving on to details. Decide if their design aesthetic matches your tastes and project vision. Then look for things like the cohesiveness of the design, level of interactivity, and clarity and ease of use of the site. The portfolio and company Web site should be thorough and error free. In your last step, take a look at the client list or clientele showcased on the design company portfolio to get an idea of references and contacts you can use to assess the Web design company's level of professionalism, adherence to budget, and schedules.
The first sign of a good web design company is the quality of its own website. If a web design company cannot implement its own site in a pleasing manner, then it is likely that they will not be able to implement a customer's website properly, either.
A web design company's website should also have all of their services listed on it, regardless of how limited or how broad those services are. In conjunction with the services, a portfolio should be available, and each service that is offered should be showcased by one or more examples in the portfolio.
Finally, the portfolio should contain examples and demonstrations from each of the employees in the web design company.
A good web designer can produce quality web pages, regardless of the design that is called for. He or she can also work with a customer to iron out any problems that are encountered during the design and implementation process.
Web designers should possess a portfolio that shows off all of the abilities that they advertise, which should be openly available on their website or in the form of a CD. Good web designers should have a web page that is clean and well-designed. They should also enable customers to use the design on their homepage to determine if their style is what the customer is looking for.
Signs of a good web design company include:
Personal web design is often sloppy or unprofessional because individual users either do not take the time, they do not have the tools required to make a professional website or they don't have the ability to do so.
While many individuals do not need a professional looking webpage, businesses do. Expert business web site design, therefore, seeks to create web pages for companies that need to look professional and business-like. This means that a website will have coordinating colors, will be soft on the eyes, easy to read, free of excessive flashing or moving graphics and be easy to navigate.
Top web design companies use technologies and techniques in their applications and websites like CSS, PHP, ASP and Flash. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a way to dynamically and easily change the entire look of a website by changing values in only a single file.
PHP (Php: Hypertext Preprocessing) is a coding language that is used by websites to communicate with a database stored on a server.
ASP is a programming language from Microsoft, and is used both to communicate with databases and to display content. Flash is a motion graphics application that is used to create animated graphics for websites. These technologies are all employed in some way or another by most top web design companies.
Many larger web design firms offer both professional web design and hosting in one package. In general, for a single price they will design, build, and put your website on the internet and continue to host it for a monthly or yearly fee.
Web design firms can afford to do this when they are larger than one or two employees because the firm can afford the costs associated with running hosting servers. Packaged professional web design and hosting is a good choice for businesses because they will have only one company to go to for questions or problems with their website, not multiple sources.
Additionally, packaged professional web design and hosting is often cheaper than purchasing the services separately, leading to savings for the company.
Web design companies usually offer website design, creation, implementation and occasionally hosting services. Larger firms that provide a higher level of service often continue work on the website after it has been delivered to the client by maintaining and updating it as needed.
The website design and creation that they do is carried out by their employees, and can range from simple HTML pages to complex PHP or ASP pages. Web design companies that are larger than a sole employee can often offer hosting to their clients because they have enough resources to support hosting servers, and because their clients want to have all of their website needs taken care of at one place.
When website design is done by an established or professionally educated person or design firm, that design is called professional web design.
Professional web design differs from amateur web design in several ways.
When working with a Web design company, expect that they will do the necessary research to find out your company's background, goals, and needs for the Web. Be prepared to answer the following questions from your design firm, or at least to provide them with the information, so they can best address your needs.
• Your Web design company should investigate what your business does and what part the Web site will play in promoting your business.
• Your Web design company should find out who your target audience is and help you market to them effectively.
• Your Web design company should find out what the priorities of your content are to make an effective site map.
• Your Web design company should find out what design aesthetic you have in mind and assist you in realizing your vision.
If you are working with a Web design agency to design your business Web site, very likely, more than one person will be necessary to create the end product. The size and members of the project team will vary based on the complexity and size of the project. However, you can expect your project team can consist of the following: a project leader, who is often the art director or marketing director, a senior Web designer, support design and production staff, and a programmer. Depending on the specifics of your Web site design, the Web design agency may outsource work to photographers or illustrators to add imagery to your Web site.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|