What to Expect from Your Web Designer

We can’t really detail the process by which other web designers create websites for their clients, but here is what we typically do when designing a website:
  1. Ensure that it is easy to navigate, with clear and consistent navigation, requiring minimal clicks to find information;
  2. Give your site an extremely professional look, with good colors, contrast, and balance of text, graphics, and white space, and well-organized information;
  3. Ensure that any graphics or photos used throughout the site are compressed properly for a balance of optimum file size and visual quality;
  4. Ensure that all graphic elements have ‘alt-tags’ for accessibility purposes, and that no links are broken;
  5. Use common fonts and consistent style throughout the site;
  6. Check for typographical or grammatical errors;
  7. Code it in the currently accepted web design standard;
  8. Ensure that it is cross-browser compatible; currently, we test on the latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Opera on Windows, and earlier versions of Internet Explorer (back through version 6); as well as obtaining screenshots for available browsers on Mac OS and Linux.
  9. Ensure that the code validates to current W3C Standards (i.e., all HTML, CSS and any JavaScript OR a blog type website in WordPress).  Here is a good article on why your site should be designed to W3C standards, should you want to know more;
  10. Vaildate your site for basic accessibility;
  11. Ensure that it displays without horizontal scrolling at the agreed upon size; it can be a fluid or static width site, as you desire;
  12. Code the site to download quickly;
  13. Include meta-tags, such as page-specific titles, site description, and a minimum of keywords, to aid in natural search engine searches;
  14. Hand-submit your site to the major search engines, if desired;
  15. Submit a Google style site map to Google, if desired;
  16. Make all external links open in a new window or tab, so viewers are not sent away from your site, if desired;
  17. Encode any email addresses on your site and/or put the contact email in a form with “captcha,” to reduce chances of getting spammed;
  18. Include some or all of the following items in the footer of the website (in small text), as you desire:
    • text links
    • copyright data
    • link to contact form
    • other contact info, as desired (address, phone, etc.)
    • link to your Privacy Policy
    • link to your Terms and Conditions
    • link to a Site Map
    • last modified date, if desired

Also, we will be happy to advise you on any of the above mentioned items (whether to have them or not, and why or why not), and on any other technical/design issues about which you may have questions.  We can advise you on content considerations, such as what verbal content to include and how to write it, and what forms of visual communications may be of most benefit to your site.

Not all of our clients choose to follow all of our advice, for various reasons: sometimes an artist prefers higher quality, but slower loading graphics, or a company knows their particular audience is more comfortable with language that may be more colloquial than ‘proper’ grammar.  We offer what we consider to be our best advice from a usability and design point of view, but defer to our clients who know their audience best.

(I originally wrote and published this article on my design website, Marilyn Fenn Design.  I have updated the content for re-posting here.)

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