Tips for Working With a Web Design Agency

Deciding to partner with a web design agency is an exciting moment for businesses. You’ve gone through the process of “weeding out” other companies to find the one that best aligns with your vision and website needs.  But for some businesses, the “honeymoon” period quickly comes to an end and they are bitterly disappointed with their web design experience. Perhaps expectations aren’t met, or they feel the design never quite matched what you had in mind. For whatever reason, the project stalls and both parties find themselves frustrated and disappointed.  Collaboration on complex projects such as web design can be challenging. Fortunately, the way to solve most of these challenges is through communication. Here are four simple tips to help you better understand the process of working with a web design agency. By following these guidelines, you’ll improve communication and lay a solid foundation for success.  Define Expectations The project begins long before you ever see an iteration of your website. You can help the project start smoothly by clearly defining expectations upfront. Draft a one-page brief that outlines the project, key deadlines, and other pertinent information. Although you’ll likely have follow up meetings to refine the details of the project, this initial brief gives the agency a clear understanding of your expectations and opens the lines of communication.  Assign a Contact Nothing will stall a project faster than having too many proverbial cooks in the kitchen. Before you have your first meeting with an agency, decide who will be the point of contact for the project. This will further define expectations and will ensure clear communication during the design process.  Your point of contact should be someone who can attend meetings regularly, quickly respond to project question, and is a trusted decision-maker for your organization. This person does not have to be an expert in web design, but should clearly understand the expectations for the project and be able to effectively navigate communications between the agency and your business.  Trust Their Expertise  When you choose an agency, you choose to trust their expertise. After all, you likely selected them because you liked their portfolio or because their results are impressive. Agencies work hard to become the best at what they do.  Expect to have some of your ideas challenged, and be open to suggestions. Prepare to answer questions you hadn’t even thought of before starting the project. While it’s perfectly okay to ask questions and clarify expectations, you should ultimately trust the agency to do what they do best.  Be Willing to Collaborate  Your project will likely go through several iterations while the agency works out details such as user experience, interface details, and content placement. Be open to adjustments to your initial vision. For example, if you like the look of one particular item in the agency’s portfolio, but that project doesn’t include the eCommerce features you need, be prepared to discuss other design options that may better serve your business.  Part of collaboration also involves giving honest feedback. If you don’t like a design or interface aspect, say so. If you don’t understand something, ask. Providing timely and constructive feedback will help the project go more smoothly and will ensure expectations are met on both ends.  Nothing is more frustrating for an agency than getting to the final stages of a project and realizing the client isn’t happy. By following these tips, you can avoid disappointment and ensure the project is a success for everyone involved.  When you’re ready to choose a web agency, check out our directory for a listing of the best design companies near you. 
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