I have spent over 30 years programming computer systems for small to large companies. My experience ranges from designing and implementing PC based business systems, to mainframe systems and online websites. My first website was designed, built and uploaded to the internet in 1997 - before most people in the UK were looking to get an internet connection in their home. Website design now constitutes the core of my business - Photon Flux - and I am experienced in both databases, business processes, creative website design and online marketing using search engine optimisation.
Here is a 12 point checklist of topics which are relevant to your designers processes.
How much it will cost for a web designer to create a professional, mobile friendly website depends on many things, including the quality of the solutions offered and the amount of custom work involved in the development. Bespoke e-commerce websites will tend to command a higher rate of pay for the project, as the process to develop the site build. However, a basic design with a touch of digital media included along with a beautiful and engaging design with no e-commerce, is fairly easy to create and will cost much less - around the £150 price point. To deliver a full and real e-commerce solution with search functionality, product reviews, email systems and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for Google and maybe a wordpress blog is a much larger task, and prices start around the £2500 area.
Once the project is complete and the site is live, you will incur costs such as hosting and technical support. The price you pay for these services can vary wildly, and you should always shop around for a good deal whilst not compromising the performance of your website. Include speed, bandwidth, storage space and help desk facilities when viewing whats on offer. For a very basic site designed with 10 pages or so, an email contact form and good graphic images in the content - starting costs should be in the region of £4 a month - no more. Money paid for hosting can increase though with traffic volume (hits) and a high number of users / visitors. Ensuring that the host you choose has good plans which allow you to upgrade as you grow is essential.
The duties of a website designer depend very much on the complexity of the sites required level of design and branding.
The designer should be happy to cover many bases and act as a partner with the client to ensure that user and management needs are met. Existing brands should have
their graphics and designs collated and included in the designers recommendations. A technical support approach should be included in the service, as customers often
have no knowledge of underlying product usage - such as programming languages or standards.
The designer should recommend a highly effective user interface layout and ensure that the services implemented will be both aesthetically pleasing but also provide firm process control from the start. To create an award winning website the design company should be building with the latest technology in a creative way to maximise the businesses potential.
Liaising with technical members of the team, where the design role is separated from the coding of processing (such as payments, data analysis or file handling with a database) is essential. Any given designer should be adept in handling the non-visual aspects of the project, at least to the level of communicating verbally with coders who are not dealing with the screen layouts.
The design of the website falls into two categories, the look / feel and brand inclusion, and the design of the back
end business system process. When making contact with an agency with a team of developers, both customer facing and server side code needs designing along with the
database structure. If you have just started out and arent yet sure what you want to achieve, then start by thinking about both front end and back end design and
keep the two as relatively separate issues. For simple to complex displays wordpress is sometimes used but the concern arises when it is discovered that lots of
other companies are using the same website design or theme for their domain, because it is free. It is common for a website to look like a lot of others as a
result of the shared nature of these plugins.
Website design (we feel) should be unique to your business, and this should include the layout and functionality - not just the branding.
On of the most important aspects is that the design of the website is responsive. This means that if a user views the pages on their mobile phone, they will be just as readable as if they were being viewed on a large computer screen - it is responding to the device being used. There are various ways of achieving this, but modern programmers use CSS with media queries and to help them they can also use pre-built libraries such as Bootstrap which provides scaling and grid control across all platforms. Compatibility between browsers and also operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, IOS or Android is essential and should not be excluded. Bear in mind that you dont have to use a London based, london design company - we all use generally the same technology and invariably prices are higher for the same level of work in the city than they are in other areas of the country. (This applies to many different skills and trades).
Web design is the term we use to describe the decision making process before the website has been created.
Web development is the act of coding the website and the difference between the two is clear cut.
Website designing is therefore the sitting around the table part of the process - where a design agency might get their web page designers to talk through different options suitable for the company. One of many available web page designer systems might be used to show potential clients various creative website design variations quickly and these will also include the responsive aspect.
Web development begins when the design agency and client business have agreed the overall website design with regards to its layout and user interface. At this stage clients will normally "sign off" the website so that development can begin. Businesses change, so the company should be able to modify the clients specification on request and most experienced designers should be flexible enough to accommodate this. Technology is decided upon at any stage depending on how the design agency, but many clients have an idea of what they might want to use based on a website design they have seen elsewhere. A lot of clients fall foul of what we describe as wordpress wonders, website designers who just use other peoples code and have no real skills of their own. We tend to avoid wordpress beyond its main use as a simple blog - when it comes to e-commerce in particular, a custom solution is often the best path to take, especially if you want an award winning website.
Website development should also include a plan to address marketing. The overall website design and development should incorporate certain search engine optimisation components from the outset. While the design phase can touch on these topics, they are actually put in place during the system development.
Finally, thankyou for reading our article, if you have any questions just contact us for an informal chat about your requirements.