These are the things I wish clients would ask when they’re looking to start a new project. You can use this as a punch list of questions to ask a web designer, web development agency or someone to develop an online course:
1. Do you have any case studies?
Case studies are a really great way to see what an Internet developer or graphic designer has done for another client. Good ones take you through the problem, solution and introduce the technology. We’re careful to create case studies that are framed to show how work we’ve done for one client is applicable to many. People can find case studies on our website, but they don’t ask for them enough or ask for ones that are specific to the work they need.
2. Do you have references?
It’s a little odd how many people don’t ask me for references. They should, because talking to someone we’ve actually done work for is invaluable. An outside perspective is exactly what someone hiring a designer should be looking for, too.
3. How does your process work?
I’ve worked on enough projects to know how valuable it is to have a capable person managing the process. You’re not only hiring someone who knows about the technology and design, but who also knows about how to manage a project, how to schedule milestones, and make sure deadlines are met.
4. How did you get into the web design industry?
This is an easy question that will give you an idea of how passionate a person feels about the work they do. It will also give you an idea of the values of the web developer and what kinds of hidden skills they bring to their cache of talent. It always sparks a good conversation, and anything that opens up conversation in an exploratory call helps.
Notice that nowhere on this list is, “How much will this cost?” Everybody has a budget, but without preliminary research into what a client needs, it’s virtually impossible to give a price estimate. Plus, if you’re working on a tight budget, a good development agency can help figure out how to solve problems you have rather than cut features you can’t afford. Plus, value is not the same thing as cheap. With interactive design, you get what you pay for.
Anything I missed? If there are other questions you’ve found useful in initial conversations with web designers, add them in the comments below.