Design company blues – Three tips to avoid a web design horror story
Sometimes being scared can be a lot of fun! That’s why we read Stephen King, visit haunted houses, or go to see scary movies. One thing we never want to scare us, though, is a design company.
To be scared, we need to be surprised or shocked. When you go to a design company, the last thing you want is a shocking surprise.
Which Movie Do You Want to Watch?
If you’re about to work with a design company to get a website, you’re embarking on an adventure. Just like the hero in a movie.
But what kind of movie will this be?
Hopefully, it will be an exciting movie. The sort you’re proud to tell your friends about, one you’d be happy to relive. But if you’re not careful, you could wind up in a horror story.
Here are three simple tips to make sure you avoid a web design horror story.
Watch Out For The Masked Man (or a Faceless Design Company)
When you choose a design company, it’s important to choose one that will be up front, accountable, and honest. It’s important to make sure you’re working with a specific person or team.
Knowing who you’re working with and how you can reach them is key, because when you have questions you’ll want to know exactly where to go.
There’s nothing worse than e-mailing a generic address, hoping to be heard.
And what about when the site is done? If your design company was hardly reachable when they were working for your money, imagine how unreachable they’ll be once they already have it!
There are many design clients who have found themselves locked out of their own websites by unscrupulous design companies. Want a quick change? That’s got a big minimum fee. Want to move to a different company? Sorry, you’re locked out.
You can avoid this unfortunate situation by finding someone up front and accountable from the start.
Bring a Map
It’s a classic horror story trope. The couple driving along a dark highway, lost without a map. It makes for a fun popcorn flick, but not so well as the story of your new website.
The first step of your website journey, before you even look for a designer, you should know where you want to go. You’ll need to create your map – find out where you want to go, and where you want to avoid.
Explore the web and make a list of the things you like and dislike on a website. Write down the things you’d like your site to have.
Make plans for what sort of image you’d like your site to have. Would you like a slideshow? Do you have images, such as product photos, or will you need them to be designed.
What type of functionality would you like? Do you need a contact form, a forum, a quote generator?
Even the more ephemeral things can be considered. What tone would you like your website to have? What target audience should your site appeal to? What adjectives do you want your website to represent?
By developing this map, you’ll be able to point to concrete desires you have and you’ll be able to see the gaps in your planning. By doing the map, you’re able to find out the things you don’t know and this will help you prepare questions.
With a map, you’ll be able to present your needs exactly to your design company. And when you’re further along your design journey, you’ll have something to look back on to ensure you’re going in the direction you want to.
Have a Back Up Plan
You don’t want to be trapped, or stuck with a design that you don’t like. If you’re investing your time and your money in a new design, you’re going to want to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need.
Before you put your money down, ask your prospective design company how many revisions they are able to make. Find out the process they plan to take, and how you can be involved in that.
Some companies develop a concept for you and then you won’t hear back until the site is completed. Maybe this will work for you – but you’ll need to know in advance what to expect.
At Montreal Graphic Design, we involve you in each step along the way. Before we begin, we also inform you of every step the process involves.
Those are three very simple tips to avoiding a web design horror story! What it all boils down to is planning ahead. A movie where the hero kills a bunch of werewolves is a great action story. But if the hero didn’t plan ahead and forgot to bring his silver bullets – it’d be a horror story.
Your silver bullets are going to be finding out the character of your design company in advance, and preparing your vision for your design in advance.