Designers fall between two categories: Extremely creative and artsy, with a focus on the appearance and aesthetics of a site; and those that create designs which are basic and simple, focusing on the performance and ease of use of a web site. Some designers are capable of creating both types of sites, however you will usually discover that they will prefer one form of design.
Which sort of website is better?
This is a question that focuses on the goals of your website. The best solution will depend on the message and your market you would like your website to give off. You will need a site which highlights design features that are impressive, even if you are a graphic design company. On the other hand if you are selling widgets, then you may choose a layout in favor of functionality. Bear in mind that the two extremes aren’t always mutually exclusive: it is possible to have a visually rich design and performance. Nonetheless, in general, websites with a simpler design are more easy to use.
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How much input does the customer have in the plan?
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This depends upon the designer you choose and how much you are interested in being involved. Some designers are reluctant to have the client involved in the process, as it might increase the period and for that reason cost of the project. Nevertheless, some clients have a very clear notion about what they desire or at least what they like and what they do not like. That is an area if you want to have a big role in the design of your site, to check over with your designer.
An independent web designer or a business?
Freelance web designers are effectively one-man businesses. Therefore, you can expect all of the benefits and the pitfalls associated with small business. The service might be cheaper and is likely to be more private, but the resources of the internet designer will be restricted, and you might need to watch for the web designer to become accessible. On the other hand, a web design company will be more likely to have the ability to take on your job sooner, but you can lose out on a personalised approach. Nevertheless, some web design companies will assign a web designer to handle your project, ensuring you receive a personalized service, but with the benefits of the support of a larger business. For many having a web designer delegated rather than having the ability to pick is a significant drawback. Prices are normally on the higher side if you engage the services of a larger company, but this is not always the case, as they can take advantage of economies of scale.
In summary, there is no definitive answer as to which is better. A lot will depend on the actual businesses and freelancers in question. For example, a small company would provide services similar to that of a lone freelancer.