In a previous article (7 Keys to Getting the Website You Need), we discussed the value of planning your website before you begin development.
So you've done your planning and chosen your Web Designer. You're all set, right?
Well, maybe not. In this article we'll cover some approaches you can adopt that will help ensure a smooth development and successful implementation.
Use Milestones To Track Progress
For any sizable development, you should ask your Web Designer to provide a set of milestones. For many designers, providing milestones is standard practice.
Use the milestones to track how the development is going. But remember:
- Milestones are just estimates. The schedule can change for a number of valid reasons.
- Some milestones will depend on input from you, so you can affect whether they are met (see below).
Keep Momentum High
If you'd like your website design to move as quickly as possible, then you need to keep up the project momentum.
In most design projects, you'll need to make a number of decision. Respond as quickly as possible. Nothing bogs down a design project faster than a client who takes forever to respond. One good approach is to clearly identify the decision makers in advance, with agree on turnaround times for decisions.
You may also need to provide materials for use on the site (content, images, videos, etc.). If so, make sure you designate who's responsible to provide these and when they will be provided.
Know When You're Going Out of Scope
The scope of a project refers to the set of activities required to complete the project and the deliverables that designer has agreed to provide.
The estimate that you got from the designer assumed a certain project scope. For large project, the designer should have defined the project scope in the Project Proposal.
As the project progresses, you may think of additional items that need to be included. The designer will normally be flexible, but if the change in scope is significant enough it might result in a change in the project schedule and cost.
You need to realize when you're going out of scope and decide whether the additions are worth it.
Don't Be a "Back Seat Driver"
You're hiring the designer for their expertise. Let them do what they're good at.
You may think that you know just what the site should look like. This is seldom actually the case. There are a host of factors that go into a good website design, and the designer knows what they are.
That's not to say that your input will be ignored. A good designer will take your preferences into account.
But remember that many of the world's worst websites were developed by their owners, and look just the way they intended.
Pay On Time
This not only good ethics and a good business practice, but has important practical implications.
The initial website design is seldom the last thing that you'll want your designer to do. There will be updates, enhancements and other modifications.
If your designer knows that getting paid is a long, drawn-out process, they're not going to be anxious to take on follow-up projects.
To a great extent, a successful website design project depends on the same kinds of factors as a successful project of any kind. Have a plan, maintain momentum, avoid scope changes, let your experts do their job and pay them when they're done.
I hope that this has been useful. What do you think?