Five things you should expect from your web developer

Five things you should expect from your web developer

I sometimes flippantly say I am looking for a job in digital with absolutely nothing to do with websites. Why? Because they are hard work! No new website get’s born into this world without a certain amount of blood, sweat and tears. Once live the ongoing management and optmisation can be a grind.

So you need to find the right partner.

Having spent over 15 years working on websites I have worked with all shapes and sizes of web development partner – from freelancers working with WordPress, through small boutique web developers to big agencies working on enterprise level platforms.

Regardless of size here are five things I am looking for when selecting a partner.

All of the things you would normally expect to get from a web developer

Creative excellence, technical expertise, client focused account and project management, rigorous development and testing, the ability to deliver against timescales and budget and flexible cost effective support options. These things define the starting point.

The appetite for and the ability to understand your business

Sounds obvious doesn’t it but don’t take this for granted. In my experience a lot of web developers don’t and can’t.  That’s often not the way they look at things.

All too often they come at things from a technical perspective rather than a business perspective. I can understand why but when it comes to solving a problem the technical piece comes much further down the line than you might think.

Beware of technical solutions focused thinking (and it can cost you a fortune).

Think like the customer and look at things from their perspective

Closely related to the above and perhaps even more obvious.

Maybe it is because developers are so busy and just charging down a list of things to do but you want to work with those that once they have put a tick against something they take at least one moment to try and use that piece of functionality – just like a customer might.

It does not replace proper user testing but it certainly goes a long way to addressing some of the immediate and more obvious problems.

A good dose of common sense

I looked up the dictionary definition for common sense and it said good sense and sound judgment in practical matters. If you have the last two things dialled you are probably half way there.

Sometimes I describe myself as a compulsive problem solver. That’s what you want from your web development partner too. Understanding business problems within the context of digital, looking at them from a customer perspective and coming up with practical (and sometimes technical) solutions.

Common sense goes a long way in this game.

Not outsourcing their testing to the client

This is a real bugbear of mine and it happens all the time.

I think I know why it happens. Testing takes time and if it is not accounted for it eats into profit margins.  But all too often often it is the result of not applying business solutions focused thinking and a customer perspective.

I call it Checkpoint Charlie. It’s should form part of the process of handing over any development work to the client. If it doesn’t happen the client is essentially getting handed bad homework.

If that happens you should treat it as such. Hand it back and say must try harder!

Of course it is a two way street

You must strive to be a good client too. That includes not constantly changing the brief or adding to the scope, working together with your web developer to solve problems and rise to the challenges that crop up on the way and being appropriately (and not overly) demanding.

Bear this in mind and I am sure you will get along just fine …

Image credit : Andrew Mager

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