214. When to hire a web designer

This week on Boagworld: When to hire a web agency, user testing on disposable websites and a need for speed.

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Web Design News

This week: A psychologist’s view of web design, a gaggle of usability testing posts, the need for speed and inspiration kills.

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When to hire a web designer

I believe website owners hire their web design agency at the wrong time. Instead of hiring a web designer when you need work done, hire them when you don’t!

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User testing for disposable websites

Increasingly any marketing campaign is accompanied by a landing page or microsite, but how do you justify user testing such short term sites.

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  • Hi Paul,

    I just got done listening to the latest podcast this morning on my way to a meeting.

    I really like this idea of having monthly meetings with clients and setting monthly goals. This is very similar to being a key account manager wherein one would stay in touch with their clients on an ongoing basis after the project is complete.

    We had a client get in touch with us the other day suggesting that we should be approaching them on an ongoing basis with suggestions and ideas on how to continually improve their website. Your feature ties in with this notion perfectly.

    There’s plenty of food for thought here. Good work!

  • I was also really inspired by your proposed approach. It frustrates me that some sites I built for clients a couple of years ago have sat basically unchanged since then. I think one additional point that you didn’t emphasize is that the technologies and best practices used on the web are changing so rapidly, it’s important to be continually adapting. Just a small example – Google’s support for rel=”canonical” was announced at the beginning of 2009. Well, if I had an ongoing relationship with all the clients whose sites I built before then, I could just make that update as part of a regular process.

    I’d love to convince my clients of this!

  • Your thoughts on when to hire a web designer are interesting, especially when you compare them with when to hire an SEO/SEM person. SEO is the exact opposite as a client usually expects an on going relationship over a certain time period.

    So why the difference? My thought is that the problem is in your title. When you hire a WEB DESIGNER is when you want a new website designed, but you would have much less of a problem having an ongoing contract if that person was seen as say a ONLINE BUSINESS ADVISOR or a WEB MARKETING CONSULTANT.

    In truth I am finding clients are now realising that there is so much potential on the web that they need someone to partner with to help them take advantage of business opportunities. If you market yourself accordingly and back up your claims with results, many will accept a longer term proposal.

    In reality your post probably applies to companies such as you and me who are interested in the business side of the web, but a lot less to companies that really are design not business focussed.

    On a completely different but related subject, one of the things you mentioned was optimising a button. Although I totally agree that this should be done, what you need to take care about is that the design as a whole works, as well as just a button. Testing things in isolation can cause problems. An example of this could be where a header is changed to increase a click through rate, but this has an effect on what is being clicked on elsewhere as the total design has effectively changed, or the button design improves the click through, but prevents the user reading copy they really should. The end result being in reduced completion, or poor customer satisfaction.

    Anyway, good post!