I have written several times about the challenge of choosing the right web development company for your needs. I have continue to see companies and individuals falling into a trap created by this myth:
“If they are a good graphic designer (or developer) they can make me a good website.”
I firmly believe that even the best designer in the world, and the best developer in the world can still end up with unhappy clients. The most important element of the design/development process can’t be superseded by design talent or development talent. That element is the “process” itself.
Think of it this way. Could even the best mountaineer in the world reach the top of Mt. Everest alone? How about with out making a plan? Looking at a map? Of course, you say, they couldn’t do it! So how can you expect a talented designer, or developer to accomplish your goal (your personal Everest) when they have no plan, no sherpa’s, and haven’t even considered looking at the road map for your business.
- Ask about their process – The process will be timelines, stages, phases, and/or steps.
- Interview their references about the process – When you check references, ask about the process they went through. See if they can remember any of the phases of the build, and if they missed the original deadline do they know why?
- Find out about the timeline – Ask if they have the timeline already laid out.
- Learn what your responsibilities/deliverables will be – Don’t think you can handoff your online image to a company and trust they will get it right. You will have responsibilities to, if they are doing it right.
- What are your deadlines for the project – For the items you will be responsible for, what are your deadlines?
- Who will report to you on the project – Is there a single point of contact who is going to facilitate all the conversations? Keep you on task, as well as the other team members.
- What happens after you complete the project – The site is done. You love it. Now is there a next step or at least recommendation for who will help support it. How to get people to it?
So before you judge a book by its cover (or a designer by their portfolio), make sure you check out their process!