View Full Version : How do you choose a web designer?

11-06-2005, 10:23 PM
I am using one of the many websites for finding a web designer abroad.

I appreciate that many people here will suggest it is a bad idea, but lets just not go down that road. The simple fact is that, If I go abroad I can start my business now, if I stay home, I cannot.

Even going abroad isn`t easy, I have been given quotes between $600 US and $3500 US
If I was looking here (which I have done) I would be looking at 5000 +

So, the question...... You have supplied a detailed spec (for a lay person) they all say they can do a great job and most have a reasonably good portfolio (providing it`s all their own work), so what questions do you ask in order to sort the good from the bad, they all have good reviews, all suggest a similar time scale.
Unfortunately none have a site very close to what I want.

Scaled payments (using escrow) may be possible, but that does`nt help if you get part way there, hand over some money and then they lose interest, go bust or whatever. I can`t afford to make a mistake.

The questions/ problem would probably be the same if I were choosing between UK companies, except I would be deciding between 5000 and 15000.

Paying more does not necessarily guarantee better quality does it???

Any suggestions on a way forward would be great.

Thanks in advance.


11-06-2005, 10:40 PM
Ask them for referrals - people who will testify to their skills and customer service. Phone/email them and ask away... :)

13-06-2005, 10:01 AM
...no matter how much you are paying and whether they are in the UK or overseas the same rules apply:

1. Speak to the person at length, at least over the phone ( a face to face meeting obv. not possible if you are contracting overseas) You wouldnt give the keys to your shop to someone you had only met over email and the same applies to your website... make sure they are on your wavelength from the start.

2. Take up references. Just because they give you some names and site URL's doesnt mean they are giving you the whole truth. Find out whether the sites were delivered on time, to budget and to specification from the customer themselves.

3. Get a watertight contract

4. Get a very detailed specification. This should itemise every aspect of the site, down to a button by button description.

If you follow these steps you should be better protected, but remember that there is a reason that Web design firms in the UK will charge more than overseas... For instance A4 Internet (my employer) have to cover: liability insurance, offices and studio rentals, support staff and costs, the cost of face to face meetings with clients, holiday cover, accountancy fees, etc.

You may think that by going to an unknown provide in India or Eastern Europe you are being smart by cuttting out these overheads... But consider how smart the decision may seem if:

You need to get your site updated with 24 hours notice as you have gained media coverage and the designers are not contactable on the phone.

You need to change hosting provider and therefore alter database parameters and security settings, but the develoipers are no longer available and seem to have simply vanished.

Two months after promised delivery date your site has not been completed and the developers are elusive, you are keen to resolve the issue but they have found they underbid and are now cutting their losses and working on a new project.

It transpires that your site (which is now very well known and successful) was "ripped" from a competitor site, using much of their code. You face court action and ceasze and desist orders, your developers are outside of UK jurisdiction.

The list of potential problems is endless, caveat emptor.....


James Hirst
A4 Internet ltd
0845 108 0411

14-06-2005, 10:20 AM
Hi Steve,
If you are still looking, please contact me. I am ready to answer all questions and have over 4 years experience in the web industry.

If you provide me with a spec, I can provide you with a very competitive quote


15-06-2005, 03:13 PM
....entirely James. But there is no guarantee you wouldn`t have the same probles with a UK developer.

15-06-2005, 03:17 PM
But you have more legal protection over here than going abroad. Also people have different cultural views in some countrys and this will be reflected in their web design. What works will in one country does not always go down well in another!