There are many web designers out there. Loads, bags, reams, tonnes.
I’ve just Googled the term “web designer” and it returned 736,000,000 results. Insane.
Basically, we’ve got web designers climbing out of our arses.
(Not literally, though. That would be awkward. “Darling, did you just fart?” “No dear, just another web designer climbing out of my arse.”)
But you know what, for each decent designer there must be thousands of pretty shit ones.
I like to call them douchecanos. Like a volcano, but much, much douchier.
Want to avoid one of those bad mothers? This advice will keep you in good stead:
1. They don’t have a website
OK, not ALL web designers, on the douchecano side of the fence or otherwise, will have a website especially if they’ve just started out. But if you can’t find a place for them on the web, even if it’s just a holding page, ask yourself if they’re really the person you should be going with.
A web designer should absolutely have a website because it’s the first port of call for any client trying to find more about their style or the projects they’ve worked on. If they’ve been around a while and they don’t have a site avoid them unless they can prove that their level of work is exactly what you are looking for by finding out what they’ve previously worked on.
2. They take days to respond to your emails
This is frustrating to anyone in any career, not just in relation to web designers! But if you’ve emailed them asking for more information, pricing or just to find out their availability, and it takes them a week to reply? SAYONARA!
Yes, life gets in the way of things sometimes, but a simple message to let you know that they’ve received your email and they’ll respond by a certain date with a full answer is common fucking courtesy. If they can’t respond just to say that within 2 working days (and the operative word there is “working” – don’t get pissed off if you send an email on a Friday night and they don’t respond until Monday – they’re a web designer, not a sadist.), scarper!
3. Their website sucks (or their previous work sucks)
A few years ago I worked for a company that had possibly the most crappy website I have ever seen (don’t judge – times were tough and I needed the money). And when I say “I worked at a company”, it was a web design company. And the website had fallen out of the ugliest tree in the wood hitting every branch on the way down. Then was beaten within an inch of its life by the ugly stick. *shudders*. Seriously, it was rancid.
They kept that site for around a year and a half while I worked there, and were genuinely confused as to why they couldn’t get new clients. One day we randomly discovered the owners had bought this design from a crap template site. One of the designers snapped and got everyone in the office fill in an anonymous questionnaire about what they thought about the website and why we needed to change it. We all quite gleefully filled it in – I mean, there were really talented people who worked there. This website wasn’t a reflection of our work. It was a fucking shambles! The results were presented to the management and eventually a new site was built.
Hiring a web designer with a shocking website (or an awful portfolio) is like reaching in to a dog poo bin and expecting to pull out a diamond. Not impossible, but Jumpin’ Jehosaphat, it’ll be a wildly unlikely stab in the dark.
4. They don’t take any of your ideas seriously
Now, these types of web designer are actually more common than you think. You tell them an idea, and they either agree to it (then ignore you and do what they please) or just pooh-pooh it with no valid reasoning (then go ahead and ignore you and do what they please).
Now, I’m *not* saying that all ideas you are going to come up with will work best, and your designer should point out what works better and (most crucially) WHY it works better. I mean, if you ask a sommelier at a restaurant which wine goes best with the main course you’d like, you’d be likely to take their opinion and try it out. And they’ll probably be right.
BUT, if something they suggest (or just straight out go ahead and do) isn’t something you really wanted, or they can’t give valid reasons why their suggestion is better as a benefit to you and your business, tell them in no uncertain terms to DO ONE. You’re the one paying, you have final say-so.
5. No contract or no Ts & Cs.
Laying lots of money down for something and not sure what will happen if your designer gets run over by a bus, or runs off to Italy after a frisky email conversation with the buxom Mariana, perhaps never to return? Then you deserve a bit of a slap, truth be known.
If your designer hasn’t at least pointed you in the direction of their terms and conditions, the likelihood is you’ll get burned. Don’t be a dick.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever been subject to a douchecano designer, and how you escaped from their clutches!
‘Til next week,
(Artwork from The Oatmeal. You will piss your pants with hilarity. Fact.)