Choosing a Web Design Firm
Internet design firms abound but choosing the wrong one could cost you thousands of dollars and months, if not years, of setbacks with your online
strategy. Genevieve Bos, owner and founding publisher of Atlanta-based
women’s career magazine Pink, shares her tips on how to make the right choice. A winner of the 2006 Folio: Magazine Ozzie Award for Best Consumer Web Design, Pink works with Melia Design Group, also based in Atlanta. "When we did a national RFP, I had no idea we’d use an Atlanta firm, I was sure we’d end up in San Francisco," says Bos.
- Make sure you know who will be doing the work.
" You can go to a lot of web design firms and it turns out they just
lost their senior artist and they have no talent left," says Bos. "It’s
important to get a commitment in the contract on who will do the work.
Very often the folks who walk in the room aren’t the same ones who will
end up working on your site."
- Make sure the design firm has the resources to dedicate toward your project. "I like firms that have at least three to four designers," says Bos.
"If someone is sick, you want someone else to pick it right up."
- Test the design firm’s creativity. If you’re starting from scratch, ask prospective design firms to give three or four ideas for the homepage. "One of things I did when looking for a partner was I explained our market, gave them some of our layouts and some of our first board imagery, then watched to see what they’d do with it," says Bos.
- Be clear about your budget. "We wanted to be practical from a cost standpoint," says Bos. "I wanted it at a turnkey, get-it-done, price."
- Be clear about the contract. "Everything was very transparent in the agreement, and when it wasn’t clear, I told them to rewrite it," says Bos. "Don’t be too embarrassed about not knowing something that you don’t ask. A
lot of publishers just say, ‘I guess we should have know that.’"
- Look for design firms with publishing experience. Not having to train them will save you a lot of time and money. "You want a low fuss back-end feature set with company that already has publishing clients so they can be a coach for you."
For more on how to choose a Web design firm, read Folio: magazine’s February issue.