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Stopping budget blow outs on your website

Posted 15/September/2014 by vicky

To ensure the process of getting your website developed is as smooth as possible it all comes down to the communication between you and the web designer. Things such as missing functionality or costs increasing above budget unexpectedly are generally a result of miscommunication or because functionality is added mid build that hadn’t been accounted for.

So how do you make sure you and your web designer are on the same page?

  1. Think like a customer and map your ideas out. The biggest cause of budget blow out is realising there are functions you want your website to have that you hadn’t thought of previously. Your website developers will do their best during the scoping phase to ensure they cover everything off and discuss options for you with regard to the functionality your site might have, however the best way to cover all of the requirements for your site is to put yourself in the place of your customers. Imagine that your site already exists. What would your customers be able to do? Why are they on your site? What problem do they have that you are trying to solve? What is your solution? What steps need to be carried out on the website for the user to gain access to your solution/service/product. Imagine budget wasn’t an issue what would your site have? As web developers if we understand what your ideal website would look and act like we can make suggestions on a way to create a site that allows for the growth to get there organically. Don’t forget to do your competitive analysis, view the competitors and find the gaps, where are they falling down? How could you improve on the user experience?
  2. Beyond functionality, let’s talk layout. Once you have mapped out the functionality you believe your site will need, next is to think about what each page will contain. Well it will have text and images I here you say, but it goes far beyond that. If you are having a custom website designed you are not going to want every page to look like a plain page with a text block and 1 or 2 images. Different pages require different layouts to be designed. For example you have your custom home page layout but then what happens on the other pages. You may have FAQs page, rather than the old style of listing text down the page which can be too content heavy for users and will most likely cause them to leave the page, you may want an accordion style design for content as can be seen here: http://lgp.org.au/councils/current-contracts . You may then want a slightly different page design for your various services that you wish to showcase. You might have a company profile page that needs to be custom designed, a bio page of staff that needs a unique layout that you can update as staff change over time. Planning out how many different styles of page designs and layout you require will help you to avoid budget blowout’s.
  3. Make sure your designer understands the brief. When you supply a web designer with a brief, the most ideal situation is always if you can meet with them face to face in a meeting and go through your specifications. Being face to face really allows you to see if they are understanding you requirements. A good web designer should be able to review your documentation and see any gaps, or suggest the best way to deliver your ideas. They should have questions and suggestions for you and once they have a complete understanding of the project they will deliver your quote.
  4. Is the quote crystal clear? As we mentioned above, just as important as your web designer understanding your brief, you need to make sure that the quote you receive is crystal clear and you can flag anything you feel has not been include that needs to be. Don’t be shy to say to your web design company that you don’t understand the terminology or descriptions in the quote, after all this is the document you are signing off on to say that you understand what will be design and developed.
  5. If it sounds too good to be true… When you are gathering quotes for a custom project if you receive a couple of quotes that are around the same ball park and another which is significantly lower there is generally a reason for that. Whilst it may seem that you have struck web design jackpot, a much lower cost comparison may mean one of a few things;

1) They are outsourcing the work overseas – you may get a great price but these situations rarely work out well for the customer. You may get ¾ of the way through a project only to discover they have not been briefed correctly and your job cannot be finished resulting in you being out of pocket and out of time and having to start all over again with a local supplier.

2) They say they understand the job but still provide a cost that is significantly cheaper – the chances are they don’t really understand the complexity of what is required and again you may find you get to a certain point in the project for them to turn around and say they don’t have the skillset to carry on, and again you have wasted time and money only to have to source a company that can develop your project

3) They plan on using templates. If you are planning on a custom project you don’t want your site developed using a collection of templates that are being manipulated to do the job. Make sure you enlist a web developer that has the skills and experience to create a site on a framework that you can take to another developer if you wished to down the track and they will be able to easily take over the project.

If you are about to embark on a new digital project, give us a call today to chat about your ideas on 02 8006 3402