ABOUT WEBSITE DESIGN
Every satisfied customer on every website starts in the hands of a talented web designer. This professional has the ability to capture the client’s vision, bring the design elements to life, and ultimately create a website that appeals to consumers. This is no easy task since it involves both creative and technical abilities, so a top web designer is experienced in many different disciplines.
Likewise, an in-demand website designer will also have insights into the business and marketing worlds to understand how a website can meet a client’s needs, convey their brand, and help embrace new customers online. This knowledge is used to maximize things like lead generation and overall engagement levels.
WEB DESIGNER VS. WEB DEVELOPER
A designer specializes in creating and laying out the visual aesthetics of a website. This professional usually has a background in art or design and is highly visual by nature. Web designers are also well versed in creating a user experience (UX) that makes sites easier to navigate and visually appealing, which enhances the user’s ability to find what they’re looking for. In short, designers excel at helping brands find and express their unique identity online.
- Excellent with conceptualizing projects
- Solid artistic and design skills
- Basic to advanced coding knowledge
- Very proficient in graphic design
- Familiarity with SEO and marketing
A developer is someone who can take a mock-up of a website and bring it to life through coding. This professional often has a background in programming and they will be proficient in several different coding languages like HTML, PHP, and Java. Additionally, they usually have a vast knowledge of website platforms, front-end frameworks, plugins, and databases.
- Excellent technical background
- Advanced to expert coding skills
- Strong understanding of functionality
- Can build some or all of a site from scratch
- Some familiarity with design, marketing, and SEO
TYPICAL TASKS OF A WEB DESIGNER
A typical web designer handles a variety of different projects for their clients, ranging from routine maintenance to site optimizations and design work. Depending on the professional’s proficiency with search engine optimization, graphic design, and copywriting, some web designers may offer many additional services as well.
For instance, some website designers create mock-ups for potential clients using graphic design software, while others may prefer to create a custom theme that would be viewed as a functional website instead. It all depends on their individual skill and personal preference.
A website designer typically also spends time:
- Working with a variety of design and optimization tools
- Keeping up with the latest design software and technologies
- Choosing layouts and page elements to optimize visual appeal
- Improving the overall interface and user experience
- Creating banners and landing pages to drive sales/leads
- Using responsive design to enhance mobile access
- Collaborating with graphic artists, programmers, and writers
Additionally, some website designers and developers may specialize in certain industries such as e-commerce, finance, automotive, or medical. These professionals may have extensive experience within their chosen sector and be able to provide more of a turn-key website that’s fully optimized for client acquisition.
Defining Your Project & Writing a Project Description
It pays to do a little bit of homework before hiring a web designer since it can have a drastic effect on the overall price and the quality received. For example, a simple website without any large customizations can be launched with a pre-made theme at a minimal cost. This may not be suitable for websites anticipating lots of custom layouts and/or extensive traffic, so it’s good to know up front what type of designer will be required or if you’ll also need a developer.
Sample Job Post
Now let’s look at an example web design project description. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post, or any other document that describes the work to be done.
XYZ Company is looking for a web designer to create a custom theme for our e-commerce store. This project will be to create a responsive, mobile-friendly design.
- Mock-ups for each page of online store (approximately 30 pages)
- Custom navigation and button elements
- Graphics integrated into two homepage sliders (8 images total)
- Setup of online shopping cart
Deadline for deliverables:
- All work must be completed by <date>.
This project requires the following skills:
- Expertise working with <design software>, <mobile/responsive framework>, <Adobe Photoshop>, or <CMS template builder>
- E-commerce experience is a plus
- Understands responsive design
The work will also require a great eye for detail and prior retail experience, preferably in the fashion/clothing industry. We would like to begin this project no later than <date>, so we plan on hiring a candidate by the end of the week.
Read this article for more tips on how to write a great project description.
Reviewing Freelance Web Designer Profiles & Interviewing Freelancers
After posting a detailed, well-thought-out project description that defines what you’ll need from your web designer, it’s time to start reviewing proposals. How do you choose the right designer for your project?
Experience, Style & Work
When it comes to finding the right web designer, start by looking for portfolio samples that match your personal taste and style. Be sure to ask freelancers about their experience with other facets of design as well, and consider the overall goal for the website being built. For instance, a website that requires integration with an enterprise content management system would require a seasoned developer to incorporate it.
Finally, it’s important to verify that a web designer understands the brand in question and its overall goals online. A qualified professional will be able to provide a list of any expected obstacles, plus estimate the amount of time the project will take and the total cost. Since complex website projects could require months to complete, a good working relationship is essential.
With the right freelance web designer, you can end up with a finished product that brings your vision to life. Just take the time to create a detailed project description, review each freelancer’s proposal and portfolio, and ask them a few web design interview questions to determine if they’re the right fit for the project.