What qualifications should you look for in a web designer or developer?

I'm looking to hire a web developer and/or designer for an upcoming project. Can anyone tell me what qualifications and/or experience I should be looking for?

Top voted answer
Steven Freeman

Steven Freeman at

Top 10% Web Development

As web design is a totally unregulated industry, generally qualifications are irrelevant to who you choose to use and not correlated to the level of service you could expect. It is more about their track record in achieving similar success for you as they have for other clients, rather than how many letters they have in their title.

Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

As mentioned above, it is important to make sure they have a body of work (portfolio) that you can access and take time reviewing. It is also a good idea to look for any testimonials from previous clients. However, it is still worthwhile to contact several clients for more detailed information if desired. It is important to feel comfortable working with a designer or developer.

Be willing to give them a list of your needs or more formal requirements. This can give them the ability to provide you a more accurate quote. Also, if you are unsure of what you want to do, start out giving them a smaller job. Ask them to review your current website (from a design and/or development perspective). This way you can hear what they think needs improvement as well as how they would potentially make that happen.

Also, be sure to discuss your needed timeline. Many business owners disregard having a time line in mind, however, the turnaround time can greatly impact the price. Rush work will always cost a premium.

Lastly, keep an open mind. Designers and developers (myself included) prefer to have the ability to produce great solutions. Micromanaging these roles will not produce the desired results. It is okay to ask for changes, but be specific when giving feedback so they know what needs changed. Remember, hiring the services of a designer or developer is no different than going to see a doctor or having a plumber come over. They are the experts so show that you trust their judgment. Would you second guess a doctor telling you about a procedure or a medication? If your drains were backed up would you tell the plumber he doesn't know what he is talking about? The answer to both of those questions is hopefully, "No".

In that same light, be reasonable with a designer/developer. Remember you hired them for a reason. Also, designers and developers talk. If you are labeled a problem client, you'll likely have trouble landing any other designer or developer in the future. We don't like to work with frustrating people if we can avoid it.

Jane Jones

Jane Jones, Manager at SavvySME

Great tips Jeff. Especially around trusting them to do the job. 

Melanie Gray

Melanie Gray, Managing Owner at

Top 10% Insurance

It depends what you are wanting.

If you are wanting a simple website (small business website, personal website), contact the designer/developer's previous clients and find out how happy they were with their services. You can also find out if they have set up a CMS style website so you can make simple changes yourself (if that is what you are wanting).

If you are thinking of developing a website that has more complex functionality, you'll be wanting a business that has a team of people, and do the same thing. Find their previous customers (whom they have completed work for) and ask them what they thought about their services.

Paula Glynn

Paula Glynn at

If your website is going to be used to generate leads or revenue, it needs to be designed and developed with that in mind.  The agency you use (or solo person) should have experienced in this and basic SEO.  IF you rank for keywords, they should ensure that you will continue to rank for those and have that included in their proposal.  Someone who does competitor research, and takes the time to learn about your business.  Otherwise, your website wont be unique it will look like every other website.  Hope that helps!

Sandy Sudan

Sandy Sudan at Chauffeur Car Melbourne

Web designing is related to Technical, graphic skills and creativity. A Complete web designer should have above 3 qualities. You can ask questions related to these skills. You may ask following Questions.

1. What are your technical skills? This question is related to his basic technical skills like his knowledge about Html, css, graphic designing tools etc.

2. Can you make responsive website? This question is about how much technology geek he is. Nowadays mobile friendly websites are in demand and also need of the time so he is able to develop mobile friendly websites using html 5, css3, bootstrap, jquery etc.

3. What was your recent delivered project. This question will give you an idea about his past work and quality of work. These are the question for the website designer. you can ask those question from the developer but you should ask about what programming language he knows and about his previous project relevant to your work.

Keith Rowley

Keith Rowley, Joint Owner and Customer Strategist at

Top 10% Web Development

My focus is on business websites, so please view ths response in that context.
One of the big problems in this sector is that every man and his dog is offering websites - and many are not developers at all - they are designers of pretty pages (whom we also need). If you want to see the ugly side of this, join a group for users of development tools on Facebook and see such questions as "I've won this job but I don't know how to do it" and a plethora of questions on the simplest aspects of hosting, basic software tech and problem remediation, code snippets plus a host of other basic, must-have knowledge.

That's why we get so many inquiries that begin: " I've paid a developer but..."

Web technology is complex, so make sure you ask you specify exactly what you want your website to do before you get a quotation. Remember though that this specification will work both ways - it binds both you and the developer. if you need more work beyond the scope of that specification, your developer will and should charge you more (or even "I cannot do that"). If the developer cannot meet the specification and has accepted the work then he/she is laible for delivering against a contract.


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