9 Things to Look for in a Web Design Portfolio

9 Things to Look for in a Web Design Portfolio

If you run your own business, you’ve probably invested a lot into it. You’ve raised it from the ground up with money, time, and effort. You’re proud of what it is today, which is why it can sometimes be tough to hand over the reins when it comes to your website.

You know how important this online presence is to your business’s future and want to give a great impression to first time visitors, as well as loyal repeat customers. How can you rely on a web designer to put as much care and effort into your website as you would?

A good web designer feels the same way about their business as you do. This is why you can rest assured: each website they design has their company name at the bottom. Each website is a reflection of their work.

By knowing what to look for in their portfolios, you will be able to separate decent designers from a designer that is the perfect fit for you.

Responsive Designs

A responsive design is currently non-negotiable for most businesses. Instead of using a combination of mobile-only and desktop-only website designs, they can use one that displays consistently on every device.

If you’ve ever had this misfortune of encountering a desktop-only website on your mobile phone, it is not a great experience. Not only is it frustrating that images and text aren’t displaying as they should, often you can’t navigate the site at all and are forced to leave.

In fact, mobile devices now account for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online so that’s a big potential loss. Even Google considers responsive design to be the industry best practice!

White Space

Sometimes less is more. If a web designer’s portfolio is full of complicated and busy websites, you may want to stop and think. Unless you want your website to be a piece of art in itself, which may indeed be what you’re looking for, intricate designs could be too hectic.

If you’re like most businesses, you need a website mainly to display products or services. Design-heavy pages usually distract from services and increase website load times. Here are a handful of benefits that result from white space:

  • More balance. Images and text can lose their effectiveness without using white space for balance.
  • Improved user experience. White space creates a clear path for users to take through website navigation.
  • Readable text. It’s much less overwhelming to read text that is separated into paragraphs instead of one long block of text.
  • Clear importance. White space emphasizes important text and images.
  • Trust built. Nothing says “spammy” more than a cluster of confusing and distracting design elements.

To learn more about the benefits of white space, check out this blog post.

Links to Real Websites

If the web designer’s portfolio displays screenshots of their work, but the URL is cut off, that could be a bad sign. It’s possible one page turned out great, but the website as a whole is sub-par or glitchy.

Look for obvious links to the actual website that was created. By visiting this website, you will be able to assess the usability and load time. The design should make sense throughout the various pages.

Diverse Designs

Although it’s preferable to see examples that are right along the lines of what you’ve envisioned for your own website, a wide range in a web design portfolio says a lot. It says that the designer is used to switching things up and being creative.

Even if you do find a web design you love and would like to copy, is that really a good idea? There is a big advantage in having a design that is inspired by your unique business. Every color, font, and theme should be fluid with your brand.

A Variety of Niches

If a web designer has experience working with only one particular industry, it may be a challenge to work on something different. Experience with both casual and corporate businesses will bring more to the plate.

If you have buyer personas that are both corporate and casual, you’ll want a designer that can seamlessly design your website to appeal to both. Haven’t defined your buyer personas yet? Start today with the guide below.

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