Web designers are the souls responsible for your online presence. They create the look, feel, and layout of your site. They understand how a user’s eye will respond to an explosive image, a subdued font, a striking color combination.
The words of Dr. Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover, ring true for web design: “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” Famously, for one ecommerce site, a simple relocation of a button resulted in a revenue spike of no less than $300 million. Because of the strong correlation between good UI design and sales, hiring the best web designers is extremely important.
So, how do you avoid unnecessary cost without skimping on quality? It’s a difficult task, to be sure, but it is possible nonetheless. Here are 6 shortcuts that will help you hire a web designer with great talent quickly and easily.
1. Budget your time
Since your image is of vital importance, crafting a website that is both functional and true to your brand requires a multi-phase approach. Defining the project scope, drafting visual designs, creating sitemaps and wireframes, and testing and tweaking can take several weeks — sometimes months — to complete.
Blocking out a sufficient amount of time at the right price will pay off immeasurably. It’s easy to overspend, throwing money mindlessly at countless redesigns. By the same token, however, under-spending is just as dangerous. Be open to long development times if you wish to create a complex site. Conversely, be prepared to scale back on your expectations to meet time constraints.
2. Create a compelling job description
Great job descriptions not only attract interest, they can serve as an incredible resource for you. Before you thumb through resumes, you’ll want to have a clear picture of what kind of candidate you want, what their duties will be, and how they will interact with your team.
An effective Web Designer job description, like all job descriptions, will start with a concise summary of your company, then lead into a pitch for the position. In your summary of the position, you’ll want to include common Web Designer skills, such as the ability to create wireframes, and write clean, front-end code. Those summaries should be followed by bulleted lists: the job duties and the qualifications necessary.
Depending on the scope of your needs, you’ll want to list skills specific to the role, such as:
- Strong Photoshop skills
- Ability to create wireframes
- Ability to incorporate feedback from UX designers and back-end developers
3. Don’t forget about freelancers
You may be set on hiring a full-time employee to help you with your web design projects. You may not have accounted for the fact that hiring a full-time, or even part-time employee, is often lengthy. Finding freelancers, however, can be done within a matter of weeks. You can even sidestep digging through resumes altogether: there are several quality freelance matchmaking platforms with a large communities of vetted talent pools. Freelance networks, such as Crew, Toptal and Scalable Path, can find a freelancer that fits your needs in mere days.
Interestingly, using platforms that match you with freelance web designers can be one of the best ways to acquire a truly phenomenal talent. Often, the best in the business are attracted to the freedom, flexibility and creativity a freelance lifestyle affords them. As a result, remote freelancers report higher job satisfaction, work longer hours, and enjoy boosted productivity.
Freelancers with proven track records can be of great use to inexperienced teams as they consistently produce quality work, can ramp up productivity quickly, and are accustomed to acclimating to new company cultures. If you’re short time or are simply looking for a fresh addition to your team, hiring web design freelancers may be a wonderful choice.
4. Find stunning portfolios
Before you hire a web designer, you benefit from becoming familiar with popular web design trends. Then, when you ask potential candidates for their portfolios, you may have a better idea of what to expect. The most enjoyable way to achieve this is by studying top-rated portfolios and web design samples.
If you have the extra time to spend, admiring strong portfolios on popular design communities like Behance and Coroflot may help you understand current designs and practices, and may help inform your search for a top web designer. You may even find leisurely wending through portfolios gives you more confidence in your ability to analyze web design work.
5. Leave technical testing to the professionals
Crafting a fair test is far more difficult than you may think. If you have a talented group of web designers already available to you, they may be able to come up with a test tailored for your business. Otherwise, you may wish to borrow from tests that have already been developed.
Consider consulting a technical interviewer or recruiter, or utilizing tried-and-true web design QA scripts, like the one listed below.
Here are a few examples of the precise questions you will see in well-designed web design QA scripts, some of which you may consider siphoning from:
- How many H1 tags can you have on a single web page? Does it even matter?
- When do you use JPG compression and when do you prefer PNG instead?
- When talking about responsive web design, what are the differences between the Mobile First and the Desktop First approaches?
6. Streamline onboarding to maximize efficiency
Web design is a lengthy process when done correctly. Adding unnecessary time to design projects can be very costly and should be avoided if at all possible.
It takes about 5 months for a new hire to reach their maximum productivity. Shortening this period means less wasted time and money. In order to speed onboarding along, you’ll need a step-by-step process that will help a web designer acclimate to the culture as quickly as possible.
Craft workflows and checklists that encourage complying with style guidelines, navigating company portals, learning effective communication, bonding with coworkers, and learning the company mission and ethos. This way, your web designer can spend less time learning the ins and outs of your company and more time advancing quality projects.
Hiring is never easy. Thankfully, there are a few shortcuts that make hiring a web designer just a bit easier. Budgeting your time and writing exceptional job descriptions will help you begin the process. Opening up your possibilities by considering freelancers can reduce costs and boost efficiency. Going through portfolios of established freelancers and web design experts can help you understand current trends in the industry, giving you a better picture of the candidate you want. After you’ve brought them on, remember to streamline onboarding by provide new hires with detailed walkthroughs from how to access the tools they need to how they’ll are expected to communicate with their team.
Following these hiring shortcuts will help you immensely during your search, so be sure to integrate them into your current practices. With a little luck, you could attract the very best web designers in no time at all.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.