Welcome to 5Qs, a series highlighting the must-ask questions for a successful agency search. Let’s find your next web design agency together.
Your company’s website is a brand ambassador, a data collector and a conversion tool. Or at least it should be. Does your site need a little work in one or all of those areas? First, think about your objectives and the scale of the project. Then hop over to Agency Spotter to start your search for agencies specializing in web design and online user experience. Now you’re only steps away from having those agencies pitch to you. When they do, be sure to ask these five questions:
1. How will your agency’s expertise help me achieve the objectives stated in my RFP?
You can look at expertise in two ways. One way is specific skill-sets, such as database integration or user experience design. Another is client and industry experience. Do you want an agency with a client list of Fortune 500 companies or start-ups? What about experience with your industry? Alignment between your business objectives and the agency’s skills is vital and not to be compromised.
2. What challenges do you anticipate with this project?
This is the agency’s chance to be honest and voice any concerns about details in your RFP, creative brief, or conversation. Perhaps they don’t see any potential problems on the horizon, or perhaps they do. Respect the agency that tells you something you may not want to hear. Their honesty may save your site.
3. Can you walk me through how you manage a web design project?
Knowing how an agency manages workflow helps you anticipate the success of your partnership. Do you get a dedicated project manager? How many accounts does that project manager oversee? How frequently will you see prototypes? Not every agency will have all the developers or designers your project requires and will outsource that work. This doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker, as long as they’re upfront with the implications.
4. What coding standards do you follow?
Here’s your coding cheat sheet: Good websites meet W3C standards. HTML5 is the most current web language. Adaptive web design and responsive web design are two slightly different things. The agency you choose should test their work on multiple devices, browsers, and processing speeds. All the agencies on your shortlist should be able to explain their approach to each these standards. Be wary of any who can’t.
5. What services do your fees include and not include?
A website is a living thing. It’s going to need maintenance over time. Ask the specifics of what each agency’s fees cover. What if a bug is discovered after launch? Do you own the source code or does the agency? This discussion will help eliminate budget hiccups in the immediate future and beyond.
Let’s Find Your Standout Web Design Agency
- Top Web Design Trends for 2014 (Forbes)
- 6 Easy Steps to An Agency Shortlist (Agency Spotter)
- What Constitutes Good and Bad Web Design? (New York Times)