Hiring a web design firm to build your organization’s web site can be nerve wracking for many small business owners. Unfortunately, stories abound about web sites that took too long to launch, went over budget or just didn’t live up to the expectation of the web design buyer.
Imagine this conversation as a way of analogy:
“Hey, let’s go grab some lunch.”
“Yeah, sandwiches sound good.”
“OK. But I want to sit down and have table service, I don’t want to just order at the counter.”
“Great. I know a place that’s got sandwiches, soups, salads”
It turns out that place is Denny’s.
Looking back, everything that was described fits with what Denny’s offered. But I can imagine many people would be disappointed with the experience. The quality of food will be poor, and the ambiance, decor and service will all be lacking.
It’s not that Denny’s mislead anyone. Their menu, environment and pricing is out in the open.
The problem is that the buyer was expecting something more. Better quality, better service. A more exceptional product and experience.
Here at Visible Logic, we always try to deliver exceptional quality. Our web site work goes beyond the minimum. However, we also try and tailor our estimates and project scope to our client’s goals and budget.
Frequently, there is more than one way to build out something in a web site and one way may be less expensive but have drawbacks in terms of functionality or design and branding. Another route may be more expensive initially but be a solution that is scalable.
You’re getting a web site—or lunch—either way, but as a buyer of a web site you need to have the same expectations as the provider of the web site design.
As a web site buyer it can be difficult to identify what is included and the quality and extensiveness of these elements. It can be especially hard to figure out how one estimate compares to another.
Every small business owner I know carefully examines major expenses. And for most, a web site launch or web site redesign project are significant investments for a small business.
We find that managing expectations is key to everyone feeling satisfied with the project. If you want to pay for sandwich at Denny’s you cannot expect the quality of a five star meal. Sometimes, inexperienced buyers feel they’ve paid for a gourmet meal, when they have not.
What amplifies the problem is that the web site buyer may not be well versed in the web standards: what is a best practice? what is a reasonable fee? The small business owner does not feel like they are on even footing when discussing their expectations.
Two tips for getting clear with your expectation:
The disappointment that comes from mis-matched expectations can cause problems in a branding project, a logo project or anything other type of design project. But they seem particularly prevalent in web design because of the wide gulf between the most minimal way to solve a web challenge to the most robust way to solve the problem.
What have you been disappointed about when you worked with a web designer?