For any company that is looking to outsource its web development activity, it can be quite daunting trying to find an agency that can share its vision of a digital shop window. And with the enormous range of niche skills available and new ones appearing all the time, it’s quite a challenge knowing what to look for in the web developer who will become the perfect extension of your organisation.
Before you start briefing potential agencies, you need to make sure you’re clear on what the purpose of your website is. Is the objective to sell, speak or save, or a combination thereof? Some sites are designed purely as an e-commerce outlet, a digital store from which customers can make purchases. For some organisations it’s not practical to offer your product or service online, but you can provide a customer service portal, through which customers can access information and advice and you can use it as a brand-building tool.
In some business models the use of digital media can be a cost-saving device, using the internet to reduce the cost of physical stores, employees and even the financial outlay of manufacture for items that can be delivered digitally, such as music and film.
Once you fully understand the ways in which you want your website to be used, it becomes easier to identify specialists who can provide the right skills for your requirements. There are digital design agencies all along the spectrum, from the tiny niche organisations specialising in one key aspect of technological innovation to the larger, whole-service agencies that can provide the complete package, but may well be employing the services of those smaller experts.
In all fields of web development London is home to a multitude of providers and it’s always worth putting your brief out there to several potential agencies, first to see what kind of creative solutions they propose, but also to get a feel for their people and whether they really ‘get’ what your business is about.
Another metric that is useful to understand is how visitors to your site will be accessing it; will they be on a standard PC or on a mobile device? This information is available in whatever analytical software you’re using and gives valuable insight into the functionality your website requires. Your options then include:
– Giving your site a responsive design, which adapts to the detected screen size, positioning text and images in a way that makes the page easier to view.
– Having a second, parallel mobile site, pulling over the most appropriate content and perhaps omitting content that doesn’t render very well on a smaller screen.
– Creating a downloadable app.
An experienced mobile web designer will be able to demonstrate previous examples of all three options and should recommend the solution most suited to your audience and business objectives.
Andrea Gerrard is an experienced web designer. With her extensive background working in Web Development London has become Andrea’s main area of focus for contracted design projects.