There are certain relationships that take a lot of work (marriage, parent/child, owner/Yorkshire terrier), but your relationship with your web designer shouldn’t be one of them. Here are 10 signs your web designer is less reliable than an untrained Yorkie.
Congratulations – once you realized that your website looks older than George Washington’s babysitter, you wisely decided to hire a web designer. While we applaud you for seeking the services of a seasoned professional, we want you to recognize exactly what you’re getting. Does your designer value your input? Do you feel listened to? Are you being pressured into including a flash animation intro against your will? If you answered “no,” “no,” and “yes,” you might want to consider hiring a new designer. Here are a few other warning signs you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Deadlines are being missed. You suspect the reason why – that his wife was hospitalized for a rare case of spontaneous stigmata – might not be true.
Although there are some occasions when a missed deadline might be unavoidable (if the client insists upon a battery of last-minute changes that came to him in a dream), but consistently failing to meet expectations is a sign of negligence.
2. Lack of communication, or taking an unreasonably long time to respond to calls, emails, texts, snail-mail, aerial banners, etc.
You shouldn’t have to hire a private investigator to learn the status of your website redesign. Your web designer should respond to your queries the same day – or at least provide an acknowledgement that he received your message and a time when he’ll be able to respond in full.
3. When you told your web designer that you were a Hepatologist, he thought you were disclosing your religious affiliation.
It is crucially important that your web designer has a strong grasp of your industry and market. If your web designer cannot understand how your potential clients think and what they want in a website, he won’t be able to create an effective one.
4. Your web designer uttered the following phrase: “Eh… it’s fine. Hardly anyone uses AOL Explorer. Or Opera. Or Firefox.”
Sure, the largest population of Opera users might be in Sierra Leone, and the only AOL Explorer users are two survivalists living in a yurt in western Montana. Nevertheless, your website should be compatible with every browser. It isn’t difficult to cross-check Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and even Opera. You don’t know which weird browser your potential customers might favor; you want your website to look great on it.
5. The person who gave you the initial consultation was knowledgeable, professional, and enthusiastic about the project. The person actually designing your website misspelled your name (Mike).
Some design firms use charismatic consultants to entice clients into using their services. However, once the work starts, the same dynamos that seduced you so effectively are nowhere to be found, and have been replaced by the lone Windows Vista enthusiast. While there may be multiple people working on your website, make sure the person who initiated the project continues on, in some management capacity, for the duration.
6. You notice that the web design concept for your nonprofit substance abuse treatment center is also being used for a cannabis bar in Oregon.
Recycled templates are the epitome of laziness. If your web designer is incapable of customizing your website to suit your needs and demographic, and to individuate your brand identity, he shouldn’t be a web designer.
7. Your site takes approximately the same length of time to load as it would take you to describe your products and services to the entire American population in person.
Load time is largely determined by the by the efficacy of the web design. With clean code and properly compressed images, your website should only take a few seconds (four or under, ideally) to load. Not only do users get extremely annoyed when pages take a long time to load, Google gets extremely annoyed, and punishes the site with lowered page rankings.
8. Your web designer is creating a Font-stravaganza.
Consistent, harmonious typography that is easy to read is essential to attracting, and keeping, viewers. Multiple fonts, no matter how unique or trendy, can cause eye-fatigue, annoyance, malaise, insomnia, hives, nausea, nostril fester, and hair reverb. (Although the last six conditions might have been completely made up.)
9. Your website blasts a shrill fanfare every time it’s opened.
If there’s one thing that can drive viewers to click away from a website faster than schizophrenic fonts, it’s unwelcome music. Do not allow your web designer to hypnotize you into believing royalty-free background music is a good idea. It was horrible in 2005, and it’s worse now.
10. You just don’t feel right about the direction your website is headed.
If you don’t think the design concept of the website is right for you or your brand, and your web designer is insisting it is, he’s not working for your best interest. It’s the designer’s job to make your vision a user-pleasing, brand-appropriate, high-ranking website; not to force you to like front page carousels.
If you’re not happy with your current web designer, fear not! There are other, more reliable, more flexible, significantly handsomer web designers just a click away!