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
What is the major purpose of your website, what would you like your users to do when visiting?
By defining the functionality and goals of your new website, you’re not only working for your marketing positioning but also solidifying one of the most important features for your team of web designers and developers. By establishing a technological and visual approach, you’ll clarify and lay the groundwork for further web design features.
2. References – the best from the web
What specific features appeal to you? Take a look around and get inspiration from other sites and apps across the web – don’t restrict yourself only to your competitors! It’s recommended to look at unrelated websites – new approaches might be applicable and solve some of the technical issues (e.g. website functionality) currently faced by your team.
Provide specific details to your web designer
Every web designer appreciates being provided with references, but always be sure to define precisely what attracts you to a certain reference. It’s easy to be confused by examples that aren’t clearly laid-out. By providing specific examples and descriptions in the brief, you’ll receive work as close as possible to your ideas.
This is the only way for your creative team to gauge your way of thinking, not only visually, but also functionally.
Also your web designer may come up with more examples that you haven’t considered. Feel free to look at those just to get an idea – why restrict yourself?
3. Defining the type of content
Prototyping is the very first step of the process when working with a website designer. This will significantly ease your layout configuration later on.
Many clients skip this step, thinking that it will save them time and money. Prototyping – 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 site/app. Without a clear vision, things will never run smoothly.
Use your team to prepare mockups or – if you still think it’s time-consuming – discuss each screen of the future website and they should be able to help themselves.
4. Assets and Style Guide
Before your website is being designed, it’s in your favour to get familiar with your most powerful weapon: the assets you already have. You may have already invested a great deal of resources in developing a brand style guide. Be sure to review and send all of it to your team.
By providing this detailed style guide to your web designer, they’ll be much more familiar with your vision, resulting in a stronger, faster design proposal.
Provide assets as early as possible
Re-working your existing design assets may require a lot of time from the web designers. They have to adapt the website layout, colours and typography to your brand style. This adds to the time-frame of your project, so the earlier you provide all your assets, the better.
5. Mind the Colour application
If you have a style guide, the colours for the website will be defined, but various screens may render them in a different way, It’s always a good idea to discuss their colour application with your website designer. You may need to add some more to your palette to cover certain functionalities of the site/app, or might need to slightly change a certain colour to ensure legibility for text or image visibility.
Brand style guides are often developed “primary” for print purposes. While this might change over the next few years, it’ll benefit you to use your designers’ experience and advice to properly apply your brand palette.
Colour preferences are personal, not objective
Since they have an emotional impact on people, the reason for colour preferences are often personal to a client, not objective.
The web design team should always think about the best usage of each colour (and keep a cool head) in the name of the better work result.
Always discuss your ideas with the designer and client, and be sure to stay as objective as possible.
6. Use Typography wisely
Typography defines major visual characteristics of the brand, and is a significant factor that should perfectly represent the site. To get the most out of typography, use all of your available options.
If you already have a developed brand style, you need to define the brand application typography rules before you start.
Get your web designers familiar with the chosen fonts
Fonts are a key asset and familiarising developers with them early on will avoid any confusion and you, saving time and money. If you already have defined brand fonts, they must be provided in your assets and ready-to-be used on the new site.
Fonts might have restrictions
Your fonts may not work on certain websites or apps, as there are restrictions in terms of web-safe fonts. Popular fonts typically have their own web versions, but these may be paid based on website traffic. It’s the agency team’s responsibility to inform you if your style guide fonts aren’t applicable, and they should check if you’ve already purchased web fonts. Otherwise, they should suggest the closest possible web-safe font combinations.
If you happen to work with an internal website designer, consult your options with them. If you don’t have an internal web design team, rely on the advice of the web designer you’re hiring (it’s their obligation to be familiar with typographic features).
Web font size is different
Rules for legibility and text preservation are strict and they might slightly differentiate from your style guide. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to discuss this topic with your web designer – they should recommend the best approach to ensure the most preferable options to display your information.
Web renders fonts differently
Website fonts may look slightly different across different browsers and devices. Yes, this happens, 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
Providing images on time and sharing any preferences of usage with the agency team will prevent wasted hours to rework them.Think of a landscape image being put in a portrait container: It just doesn’t work. Image application often depends on layout rules. When choosing images, the web designer will need to choose them according to the best visibility of the image in 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 Internet Explorer 9. To get valuable statistics and cross-browser testing, we recommend using StatCounter and BrowserStack.
There’s no better way to ensure you’re on the same page and working towards the same goal by discussing any developments with your web team.
Use these simple steps as a way to achieve a clear and flawless web design process, which will elevate your site and save you time and effort.
Agile Digital is one of the local leading digital agencies that help brands grow their presence and revenue online.
We’ll be very happy to handle the finer points of your website.
I am a managing partner at Agile Digital. I earned my Master's degree in Modern Balkan history before making a complete pivot in my career by launching our nearshore studio Sofyma in 2009 and our digital agency Agile Digital several years later. Over time, I have worked on hundreds of digital projects for global brands and small startups. I often enjoy writing in our Blog about topics I am actively involved in at work.