When you’re out looking for a web developer, many articles will tell you to look at things like a portfolio, coding techniques, years of experience, cost (obviously), but there’s one thing that most of these articles simply don’t stress enough: COMMUNICATION.
Your website represents your brand to the world. It’s your baby, and you want someone who is going to care about your baby almost as much as you do. When dealing with web developers, the single most important characteristic is their ability to communicate effectively. You’ll know you’re in good hands when they ask questions about your business, your target market, your strategy – and not just what colors you like. They need to be able to communicate with you in asking the right questions, listening to and understanding your answers and goals, be able to work with you to get you exactly what you need, and also be able to learn about and communicate with your target market.
Our video this month pokes fun at some of the stereotypes of web developers and designers you may encounter in your search. Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day-themed, not just because it was released in February, but because sometimes looking for a web developer kind of feels like online dating.
This video showcases four distinct personalities that you may encounter in the web development market:
1) The Boastful Braggart – “I’ll tell you what you need.”
Confidence is good, over-confidence is not. When someone tells you something like, “You’ve just won the developer’s lottery,” he’s obviously trying to portray that he’s experienced and knows what he’s doing. He’ll probably want to make you a website that is showy, and may, indeed, “blow the doors off anything you’ve ever seen.” Highbrow design is his first priority. The question is: is that what you or your audience need? The Boastful Braggart does not respect your needs, and will be resistant to hearing your input on the research that’s been done specifically targeting what your site visitors are expecting. He may not even do any research of his own, and will likely make it difficult to change anything about your site down the line. In the end, this designer is more interested in making a portfolio piece for himself.
2) The Reticent Recluse – “I know what you need- you need a…well, um…”
He is a nice guy and smart, and possibly an expert web coder in his own right. The functionality of your site will be top-shelf, and he may be able to design some intricate databases for you to utilize. But his inability to communicate well holds him down. His sites may function extremely well, but he may not do such a great job at listening to or understanding exactly what you need, and his design skills may also be on the short side. As you can infer from the video, this type of web developer will not communicate well with your audience either, so copy-writing from him would not be such a good idea. After all, technical skill, without well-developed design and communication skills, is not enough.
3) The Humiliating Hacker – “I don’t care what you need.”
This person is probably a tremendous web developer from a technical standpoint, and like The Reticent Recluse, will probably design you a site that is intricately coded and highly functional. The problem here is that he is not interested in your specific needs or your audience’s. It takes research and listening to determine what your readers are looking for, and they may not need a ton of bells and whistles, but something clean and simple. The Humiliating Hacker may see something straightforward as a waste of his time, and may try to up-sell you on some immensely intricate web-coding technology or functionality. If your research still shows that your website audience doesn’t need that, The Humiliating Hacker may charge you an arm, leg, and your first born for a simple website to make it worth his while.
4) The Pleasant Partner – “I’m listening.”
“I want to hear what YOU need.” This is the one thing to look for in a web developer. In the video, The Pleasant Partner spent most of his time inquiring after his potential client’s needs, interests, goals, and budget. He knows that every website is different, and must cater to the end user while meeting business objectives. The Pleasant Partner uses high-tech features, design, and back-end technology in service of those goals, and not just because he can – an unfortunate rarity in today’s climate.
Besides, who doesn’t like a good listener?
If you’re in need of some web development, or other types of services that require exceptional listening skills, feel free to contact us to find out more.