How much are you willing to invest in design?

Paul Boag

Be careful that your tender process does not undermine the design of your website or mobile application.

Few tasks take a specific amount of time. You could wash your car in 10 minutes or 2 hours. It depends on how much time you are willing to spend doing it. The longer you spend (within reason) the better the results.

The same is true with user interface design. When we spend time on the details it improves the user experience. The website Little Big Details is full of examples of design details that you might deemed unnecessary. In reality they transform the user experience.

Tumblr terms and conditions
Tumblr has a plain english version of their Terms and Conditions. The time to write these was well spent as it informs the user and makes the company appear more transparent.
Google Weather
The size of the arrow on Google Weather changes depending on the strength of the wind. This tiny detail clearly communicates it message without the need to clutter the interface.
Medium sharing
If you select some text on you can easily share it on social media. This feature will have taken time to design and implement, but will also significantly increased sharing on the site.

These little details make all the difference. If you make a user smile they are more likely to remember you. Small enhancements in the user interface can make the users life easier. A subtle nudge in a design can push a user towards a certain action. The polish in a design can be all it takes to convince a user of your professionalism and the quality of your offering.

These are small things that make a big difference. But they take time. Time to think of and time to put in place. Time that is so often lacking from projects.

Your tendering process isn’t helping

The problem is in how we select designers. We send out the invitation to tender and several designers respond. The brief is exactly the same, but the prices you get back are different. Different designers have assigned different amounts of time to the design process. The question is, how much design are you willing to pay for?

If you go for the cheapest quote then the attention to detail will be lacking. It’s that straightforward. The designer won’t have the time to add those details.

That is why at Headscape we always ask about your budget. We need to know how much time we get to spend on design. We need to know how much you are willing to pay.

Keeping your budget secret means we have to guess how much you want to pay for design. It makes no sense because the winner isn’t the best designer, but the person who guesses closest to the figure you had in mind. That or the person who charges the least.

Next time you hire a designer, make sure you have a conversation about budget first. Find out whether the designer is comfortable with your budget and what is possible within those limits. This conversation is vital. So if you have a procurement department involved, don’t allow them to stop you talking to suppliers. At Headscape that would cause us to walk away; that is how important we take those conversations.