What to Look for in a Web Designer

If you hires someone to do your website (or if you plan to do it yourself), here are some of the standard practices you or your designer should follow (IMHO):

  1. Ensure that your site 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
  3. Create a clear visual hierarchy through size, prominence and content relationships.
  4. Ensure that any graphics or photos used throughout the site are compressed properly for a balance of optimum file size and visual quality;
  5. Ensure that all graphic elements have ‘alt-tags’ for accessibility purposes, and that no links are broken;
  6. Use common fonts and a consistent style throughout the site;
  7. Check for typographical or grammatical errors;
  8. Code it in the currently accepted web design standards;
  9. Ensure that it is cross-browser compatible; test on the latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Opera on Windows, and earlier versions of Internet Explorer (back through version 7), and all appropriate browsers for Macs.  As a rule, I include additional stylesheets for IE6 and IE7.
  10. Ensure that the code validates to current W3C Standards. Here is a good article on why your site should be designed to W3C standards, should you want to know more;
  11. Vaildate your site for basic accessibility;
  12. Ensure that it displays without unwanted horizontal scrolling at the agreed upon size; it can be a fluid or static width site, as you desire;
  13. Code the site to download quickly;
  14. Include meta-tags, such as page-specific titles, site description, and a minimum of keywords, to aid in natural search engine searches;
  15. Hand-submit your site to the major search engines, if desired;
  16. Submit a Google style site map to Google, if desired;
  17. Make all external links open in a new window or tab (usually the same new window or tab), so viewers are not sent away from your site, if desired;
  18. Encode any email addresses on your site and/or put the contact email in a form with “captcha,” to reduce chances of getting spammed;
  19. Include the items in the footer that you desire.  Here are some of the things you may want to consider:
    • text links
    • copyright data
    • encoded contact email
    • other contact info
    • link to your Privacy Policy
    • link to your Terms and Conditions
    • link to a Site Map
    • last modified date
  20. For WordPress websites, there are a whole host of additional options available.
  21. Consider whether you will need to also include code for mobile apps.
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