Dealing with a web designer - checklist

Dealing with a web designer - checklistDesigning your website is probably a job for a professional - but as the one holding the purse strings, you'll want to stay in control of the project. Here are the issues to consider.

  • Decide what your budget and timescales are.
  • Prepare a thorough brief, providing the background to your business and the web project and explaining what you hope to achieve.
  • Decide what selection process you will use to choose a designer.
  • If appropriate, require designers to sign a confidentiality agreement before you reveal project details or any confidential information.
  • Explain what constraints the designer must work within: for example, matching your existing house style and following brand guidelines.
  • Work with the designer to develop a specification; establish as clearly as possible what will constitute an acceptable design.
  • Agree a timetable; plan interim targets and agree how progress will be regularly reviewed.
  • Agree what testing will be required during the project and before you accept the completed site design.
  • Establish what will happen if the project starts to run late.
  • Establish what will happen if you want to modify the specification once the project has started.
  • Establish what rights each of you will have to terminate the project once it has started and how any payments would be treated.
  • Require the designer to assign copyright and design rights relating to the site to you, or at least to grant you an appropriate licence.
  • Require the designer to waive any moral rights to be identified as the author or designer of material or to object to how it is used or modified.
  • Ensure that you have an appropriate licence to use any software or source code required to make the site function.
  • Require the designer to warrant that he has the right to any intellectual property used in the site, and to indemnify you against claims.
  • Review any obligations you are asked to agree to (for example, to provide specified material by a certain date) and confirm that these are acceptable.
  • Agree how much the designer will be paid, when payments will be made and whether you will pay any extra expenses.
  • Agree an appropriate dispute resolution procedure in case of any problems during the project which you cannot resolve between yourselves.
  • Prepare agreements with any third parties (for example, if someone else is hosting the site); establish how everyone will work together.
  • Plan ahead for how the site will be maintained and developed in future; consider whether this needs to be taken into account now.

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