How to choose the best web designer? The web designer is an indispensable professional for the online presence of companies and other subjects with public visibility.
He is responsible for the project and the artistic and technical development of a website.
It makes choices on the style, on the navigation structure to make the user’s browsing experience optimal.
In this article, you will find out what a Web Designer is and what to expect from him.
You will also learn to understand that there are skills common to all and other variables from professional to professional, which are and how to orient yourself in this sea of possibilities.
There are two main tasks of a Web Designer:
- designing visual communication on our website
- encode in web language (with HTML code) creating the single pages of a site
The first is a fundamental requirement, the second is not always. Or rather, it depends on what you need.
But then, what does a web designer really need to do?
The basic prerogatives of a web designer are to know the principles of UX (User Experience), Accessibility (especially if you work for PA), graphic design (which is hardly separable from UX), graphics software for the design of the interfaces and the production of the graphics “pieces” they need.
Then, only then, must possess the programming skills.
This, of course, at a theoretical level.
The speech can be different if we talk about freelancing.
A freelancer often finds himself working alone and is naturally more inclined to hybridize his skills.
So we could say that a freelance web designer, in principle, should be able to follow a project from beginning to end, in its specific skills.
Why in its specific skills?
We’ll explain it to you with an example:
Imagine a Web Designer who is contacted by the lawyer who works downstairs to make him the website.
In this case, it is likely that the web designer does not make “only” the design of the site.
It will also deal with a whole series of services: from domain registration to the creation of email boxes, from the choice of hosting to the installation – for example – of WordPress, from the site structure to the graphics, the treatment of the photos and so on.
Here, suppose that for some reason his client asks him to use not WordPress but another platform: it is not said that freelance can do it.
But not for this, it can be said that it is not prepared!
How to choose the best Web Designer for your business
The first advice, even before creating an ad to search for a Freelance Web Designer, is asking yourself the question: what do I want to do?
It makes no sense to program a platform from scratch, spending time and money, if with a ready theme you can have an equally professional website: the extra expense is nothing but waste.
So unless you have special requests or automatisms to create, look for a Web Designer that can put you online, guaranteeing you with an already existing theme appropriately modified, visibility, SEO and Newsletter.
There is no harm in using, for a customer without special technical needs, an already existing theme to prepare a new website.
On the other hand, it may be advisable to hire a Web Developer together with the web designer, in case it is necessary to prepare information and design choices.
This is because, as we said before, a Web Designer is not a programmer.
Do not ask them to know server-side languages (PHP, .net, java, c ++), to have skills in 3D or to correctly configure a Server.
These are tasks that are the responsibility of the programmer, in this case, a Web Developer or Web Developer.
Which, in turn, is not a Web Designer.
The developer does not take care of the graphic layout of a site, it is not necessarily a creative person, nor a visual communication expert.
But then, as a freelance professional, do we have to choose if we want an internet site for our online presence? As we said, it depends.
Depends on what?
Essentially from necessities, objectives, starting points.
We will try below to list a couple of scenarios and their respective solutions, without pretending to be perfect and comprehensive. Essentially we have identified three limit cases:
SEARCH FOR A WEB DESIGNER WHEN…
You need to present your business through a website. Almost all freelance Web designers are able to give you what you need: to help you choose a Hosting, register a Domain, set up Email, and create a professional Website with a standard CMS technology like WordPress.
SEARCH FOR A WEB DESIGNER AND A WEB DEVELOPER WHEN…
You need a new website whose functionality is not standard and should be tailored to your specific activity. For example, you want the site to dialogue with your management system to provide an area reserved for customers or employees.
SEARCH FOR A DEVELOPER WHEN…
You want to add new features to your website, or the Web project you want to create does not currently require a particular graphic appeal.
A very varied universe
Before going into details of the various specializations it is better to clarify a fundamental point.
It is very easy to find Web Designer hybrids, which are halfway between Web Design and other disciplines.
This is natural, because the Web Designer normally comes into contact with other disciplines and, if he does not become an expert, at least he must understand the language.
So it happens that a Web Designer can take a little ‘hand (we say affectionately) and end up specializing so much that at some point no longer knows whether it is more a Web Designer or more something else.
Here is a scheme to give you an idea of what the areas in which a Web Designer can end up being contaminated. Of course, this can be useful because for your project, or for your idea, you may need a professional who is at ease with Web Design and a Web Designer is often “hybrid”. The specialties that could cover are Code and Development, Search Engine Optimization, Brand Identity, Conversion Optimization, Digital Strategy, Social Media Marketing. But also Systems, Affiliate Marketing.
If it is true that a freelance Web Designer is often “contaminated” with other disciplines, it is also true that some of them can be “100% pure”. We are talking about Web Designers who are “just” the project, the design of the website, without daring to touch even a line of code.
So the first question you have to ask when you’re looking for help with your idea, for your Web project, is: “Do I need a pure figure or a hybrid?” And then, in the second case: “What kind of hybrid do I need?”
Having said that, let’s move on to the various specialties. The most common hybrid Web Designer is the one who does not disdain to get his hands on the code. Let’s start from this…
The Web Designer can know how to write programming code, but it is not a programmer
Do not be scared, we do not go exactly to the technician. But this fact of the code, yes, you must know.
Websites, perhaps before we have taken it for granted, are written following a code in one of the markup languages.
The code must be as clean and logical as possible, to be able to intervene with any changes without having to face a real puzzle.
Because it’s true: the client will hardly go to see the work “behind the scenes” because little would understand.
However, it could require, for example, a different seasonal version (Christmas or Easter) of the layout.
However, it may be necessary to intervene directly on the code, for any reason.
And a logical and clean code allows you to do it quickly and with the guaranteed final result.
In short, a markup language is a set of rules that describe how to represent a text. The following are standard conventions and can be used on different supports.
Or, as we suggested before, you can choose to make the web designer work in tandem with the web developer.
The web designer today: a profession that must be in step with the times
Among the skills that a web designer must have today, there are surely Responsive Web Design, elements of graphic design, communication and knowledge of the W3C standard rules.
But let’s go in order, to know exactly what to ask the freelance professional before hiring him for one of our projects.
Responsive web design is the optimization of the website for mobile devices.
Or, rather, it is the set of techniques that allows you to create websites that can automatically adapt to the device on which they are displayed.
Whether they are computers, mobile phones, tablets, TVs, thanks to the responsive design, the user’s manual intervention is reduced to a minimum to resize or scroll through the contents.
Knowing the RWD (Responsive Web Design) is therefore very important for some years now: on average there are 21.1 million Italians who connect to the internet with a mobile device.
In order for our site to be easily accessible from smartphones and tablets as well as PCs, the web designer we hire must know responsive design.
We think about the damage of image or even economic that we could have today with a site not optimized for different devices!
So well, many web designers will smile and take it for granted, but the customer does not always know that he must create a responsive website.
The web designer must know how to design usable and accessible sites and understand the client’s business
The standard grammar of the W3C is an important and certainly necessary skill for the realization of a whole category of sites (think for example to the Public Administrations).
What is it for?
Building websites based on these standards makes them compatible and navigable in the most uniform way possible, regardless of the browser used or the computer system.
The acronym W3C stands for the World Wide Web Consortium and is an international organization founded in 1994 with the aim of developing all the potentials of the web and, above all, of establishing technical standards.
Standard that the Web Designer must know very well if it is addressed to Public Administrations, but it is good to know even if its customers are private.
Usability and accessibility are therefore two keywords in the field of website design.
When we choose our Freelance Web Designer, let us make sure that it really knows how important it is to create a usable and accessible website.
A Website is accessible if it is able to use the greatest number of people.
People who are able-bodied and people with physical disabilities (visually impaired, for example) or cognitive.
To create an accessible site there are standard rules and guidelines defined by the WAI, the W3C working group that we mentioned earlier.
A site is considered usable if it is easy to interact with its pages and its structure.
The contents of our site must be designed in such a way as to be easily viewable and understandable.
In private, especially for small businesses, it may not be necessary to create an accessible site (while it is mandatory, for example, for the Public Administration).
It is certainly necessary, instead, to create a usable or user-friendly site.
And this a Web Designer knows it.
So, if the user experience and responsiveness are discounted concepts, things that are much more important for the customer are not discounted.
Today’s Web Designer must:
- Know how to understand first of all the values and the business model of the client
- Talk to him with the same language to consistently understand the objectives
- Designing the website by making the most appropriate technical, structural and communication choices.
In the field of Web Design, basic and “ancillary” skills are many and difficult to place in universally recognized standards.
For your idea, start by identifying development goals and priorities. Next, understand these “keywords”, look for a Web Designer with the right attributes.
Megan Max is one of the greatest animators at Video Animation Inc and the friendliest person who always keep smiling. He is too handsome and known as the sculpture of animators.