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When it comes to designing websites, most people know they should be using a professional web designer. Of course, once the site has been designed, it also needs to be built; one of the biggest decisions is whether you choose a separate designer and developer or look for a company who does both.
As with everything, there are pros and cons for each choice. Let’s start with a look at the work process for each:
Separate Designers and Developers
Keeping these two aspects of website creation separate is often a linear approach, with the designer finishing their work and passing it across to a developer. Whenever the developer needs some design changes, they pass it back to the designer and so on. Whilst at first this might seem more time consuming, that isn’t always the case.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when searching separately for a designer and developer is communication. If you’re thinking of employing someone, it pays to keep an eye on how they communicate. Not only do they need to communicate clearly with you, but they will usually need to interact with other individuals working on your website. If someone is taking a long time to get back to you regarding quotes or times for work without good reason, then you may be better off focusing your efforts elsewhere and using someone else.
Another important consideration is cost, if they’re working independently then you will probably end up paying more for their services. This isn’t always a bad thing, but it is useful to remember. You don’t want to hire the most expensive designer and developer you can find then discover that you can only really afford one of them.
A company who both designs and develops
Having a team working all together on a website is much more of a circular approach than using separate designers and developers. It is much easier for a team to tweak designs whilst carrying on with development work than it would be for freelancers.
Communication between designers and developers who frequently work together (which is pretty much a given when they are in the same company) will, for the most part, be fast and efficient. The benefit of this situation is that they will potentially be in the same workplace and have worked with each other before. They will already understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and also what to expect from the other, so there will be fewer discussions over who should do what. And when things need to be changed, it is often a case of one wandering over to the other’s desk and discussing quickly what will happen rather than having to wait for email or phone responses to messages.
Some companies will give you a rock-bottom price, and some charge the earth. There might be no difference in their products, so make sure you don’t pick a firm based on prices. Whether you choose individuals or a company, it is always good to remember that paying more doesn’t guarantee better work: quality doesn’t necessarily come with a high price tag.
So which option should you go for?
Coming from a company who provides both web design and development, either as a package or separate entities, I can see things from both sides. Sometimes it seems easier to just finish a design and send it off to an outside developer, but on the other hand it is very satisfying to see a project through to completion.
Many people mistakenly believe that an independent designer and developer will not be the right choice for them. Just because they work on their own doesn’t mean you will lose out on quality – this goes for those who specialise in either design or development, or both. Most freelancers work ridiculously hard to keep on top of their game: they have to, or they wouldn’t win jobs. However, this doesn’t mean that they will be better than a web company with an in-house designer. Take our designer- just because he has a steady, safe job doesn’t mean he takes his profession any less seriously. On top of that, our lucky customers get his expertise for a fraction of the price he would have to charge if he was a freelancer. Whilst this isn’t always the case, it does show that brilliant designers (and developers!) can be found anywhere. So keep your eyes peeled for talent that impresses you!
Regardless of whether you choose a separate designer and developer or a team, the key point is that the arrangement works for you. It‘s never really about how many people can work on your new website at once, it’s about the quality of their work, and achieving the best possible result for you. As the client, you have the right to ignore any and all advice your web developers and designers give you, but you would be wise to trust the professionals. Like any job, if you don’t take the time to look into who you’re trusting the work to, you can risk coming away with a bodged job and an empty pocket. Overall, use your common sense and don’t entrust your web presence to any old wannabe. Whether they work freelance, for a small team or a larger company, the majority of developers and designers are on your side. Find the ones you work best with, who give you the respect you need as a client but aren’t afraid to speak their educated opinion, and you can rest assured that they will strive to make your site the best it possibly can be.