8 Simple Tips For Working With A Website Designer
Have you ever missed crucial deadlines because you weren’t satisfied with the numerous changes in your website or email design? Ever skipped prototyping to save time and money? Have you failed to establish clarity with your design team and missed providing the assets they need early in the process?
When it comes to getting quick and efficient work from your web designer, the following points will get you where you want to go – all without spending unnecessary time or effort.
Check the key points you need to pay attention to below.
1. Know your key function
2. References – the best from the web
3. Defining the type of content
4. Assets and style guide
5. Mind the colour application
6. Use typography wisely
7. Understand how images are used
8. Testing – use the right screen resolution
1. Know your key function
Planning ahead is the first step in any project. We recommend putting together a brief with some clear ideas. It’s important to think about the basics of what you need for your website, even if it’s in the early stages:
- What is the main purpose of your website?
- When users visit your site, what do you want them to do?
- What is your budget?
- What is the project timeline?
Defining your website’s functionality and goals is not only crucial for your marketing positioning, but also for your web design team and developers. Establishing a technological and visual approach will allow you to clarify and lay the groundwork for future web design capabilities.
To ensure success, it is crucial to find the right web designer early on. You should not go for the cheapest web designer you can find solely based on price, since it may cost you more in the long run. Read testimonials, look at examples of past work, and see if the agency matches your requirements, style, and general vibe!
2. References – the best from the web
Which features particularly appeal to you? Browse the web and get inspiration from other sites and apps – don’t limit yourself to your competitors! It is recommended to take a look at unrelated websites – new approaches may be applicable and solve some of the technical issues your team is experiencing (e.g. website functionality).
Provide specific details to your web designer
Web designers always appreciate references, but be sure to specify exactly what draws you to a particular reference. It is easy to get confused by examples that are not clearly explained. Providing specific examples and descriptions in the brief will ensure that your ideas are reflected in the work.
In this way, your creative team will understand not just what you are thinking visually, but also what you are thinking functionally.
Your web designer may also come up with additional examples that you hadn’t considered. Take a look at those just to get an idea – why limit yourself?
3. Defining the type of content
Wireframing is an essential part of website design. It involves sketching and creating a basic outline of your website.
Wireframes help us visualize how your website will look and function before we begin development.
Many clients skip this step, thinking that it will save them time and money. Wireframes – even at its simplest – can avoid confusion situations both for the client and your dev team, and the benefits far outweigh the cost of time investment.
Understanding the page structure – and how each element is supposed to function – is the most vital part of the website/app. Without a clear vision, things will never run smoothly.
Prepare mockups or, if you still find it too time-consuming, discuss each screen of the future website with your team so they can help.
4. Assets and Style Guide
The assets you already own are your greatest weapon, so get familiar with them before you design your website. There may already be a style guide for the brand, which has taken considerable time and effort to develop. Make sure you review and send all of it to your team.
The more detailed your style guide is, the more your web designer will understand your vision, resulting in a stronger, faster proposal.
Provide assets as early as possible
It may take the web designers some time to rework your existing design assets. Your brand’s style should be reflected in the layout, colours, and typography of your website. If you provide all your assets as soon as possible, it will speed up your project’s progress.
5. Mind the Colour application
It’s always a smart idea to discuss colour application with your website designer if you have a style guide, as different screens may render them differently. The colour palette may need to be expanded to cover certain functionalities of the website/app. It also might need to be altered slightly to ensure legibility for text or images.
A brand’s style guide is often developed primarily for print purposes. Use your designers’ experience and advice to properly apply your brand palette to your website or application.
Colour preferences are personal, not objective
Colours have an emotional impact on people, and the reasons for their preference are often personal, rather than objective.
A web design team must always consider the most effective use of each colour in order to achieve a better work outcome.
Discuss your ideas with the designer and the client as much as possible, and make sure you remain as objective as possible throughout the process.
6. Use Typography wisely
Make use of all the typography options available to you to accurately represent your brand.
A website should have consistent typography and a coherent design.
Each page of a website should use the same text styling for headers, body text, links, and other text. It is also important to make sure that padding, line spacing, size, color, and weight are the same for each type of content.
To ensure consistency in typography, we recommend creating a universal style guide for every website you create.
Get your web designers familiar with the chosen fonts
Fonts are a key asset, so familiarizing developers with them early on will avoid confusion and save you a lot of time and money. It is imperative that if you already have defined brand fonts, you make sure they are in your assets and ready to be used on the new website.
Fonts might have restrictions
Your fonts may not work across all browsers and devices due to OS or browser incompatibilities. Instead, a web-safe font will be loaded.
A lot of popular fonts have their own web versions, but these may be paid based on website traffic. It is the agency team’s responsibility to inform you if your style guide fonts aren’t applicable, and to check if you have already purchased web fonts. As an alternative, they should suggest the closest possible combination of web-safe fonts.
Your web designer will be familiar with typography, so he or she can offer you advice.
Web font size is different
There are strict rules for legibility and text preservation, which may differ slightly from your style guide. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to speak to your web designer – they should recommend the best method for displaying your information.
Web renders fonts differently
Different browsers and devices may display fonts differently. This does happen, but it’s perfectly normal. You should be able to rely on your team to decide the best approach.
7. Understand how Images are used
Any preferences for image usage should be communicated to the agency team in a timely manner. Think of a landscape image being placed in a portrait container: it won’t work. Images are often applied according to layout rules. As the web designer makes the selection of images, he or she must consider the best way to make sure that the images are clearly visible within the layout context.
You can find great free stock images on websites like Pexels, Unsplash and VisualHunt. Very often, the digital agency team will need to invest some time reworking your images to unify them stylistically or, most importantly, optimising image sizes to provide much smoother website execution.
8. Testing – use the right screen resolutions
One of your web team’s obligations is to always be aware of the most common screen resolutions and test the execution of your website on these screens.
The most important thing you’re possibly trying to achieve is to attract as many visitors as possible by providing a clean and engaging user experience.
You’ll find relief and security when your agency informs you about the most common screen resolutions and browser versions. The success of your site relies on testing as much as possible, and using exactly these screens.
If you’re trying to judge whether your web team has reached a goal, you need to restrict yourself to the most common screen resolutions and browsers. If you have a super sleek, innovative design with multiple animations, it’s technologically impossible for it to run smoothly on old Internet Explorers. To get valuable statistics and cross-browser testing, we recommend using StatCounter and BrowserStack.
Keeping your web team informed of any developments is the best way to ensure you are on the same page.
With these simple steps, you can create a clear and flawless website design process, which will elevate your site and save you time and effort.
I am a managing partner at Agile Digital. A graduate of Modern Balkan history, I made a complete pivot in my career when, together with Juan Pineda, we founded a nearshore design and development studio Sofyma in 2009, followed by our digital agency Agile Digital several years later. Over time, I have worked on hundreds of digital projects from small startups to global brands. I enjoy writing in our Blog about topics I am actively involved in at work.