If you ask the right questions the chances are that you?re likely to get the results you wanted and intended. The trick lies in knowing the right questions to ask, especially when it comes to choosing designers for your school website.
Although it is by no means an exhaustive list of the possible questions, the following pointers may help you to frame the things you might ask potential schools web site designers:
- the acid test of any website is the number of visitors it receives;
- one of the principal things to ask your web site designer, therefore, is just how it is intended to drive visitors to your site ? be they parents, teachers, classroom assistants, school governors or even the children themselves;
- you may be forgiven the jargon, what you really want to know is whether you are likely to be attracted to the kind of website the designer has already made and published on the internet ? you might want to ask to see specific examples, therefore, of those most likely to reflect your own needs;
- the design ideas reflected in the sites already created by?Schools Cool, for instance, may give you a good idea of the pitch and tenor that is possible within a carefully built website;
- once you have decided to commission a website, of course there is likely to be some excitement in seeing it up and running in the shortest possible time;
- but equally important is the care, attention and time spent by the web designer in bringing together your expectations of what the site is intended to achieve and the capacity of the available technology;
- matching your ambition for the school website with the work to be done by a web site designer invariably involves close collaboration;
- what assurances are you given that it is to be a genuine collaboration, with your immediate and on-going needs and ambitions taken on board by the web site designer;
- one of the conventional ways for designers to give their clients a preview of the website is to produce a ?wire-frame?, showing where the various parts of the content of your site are depicted on the webpage;
- quite simply, therefore, what is your designer?s commitment to producing a readily comprehensible wire-frame of your intended site;
- to those less familiar with the ways of web site design it may seem odd to have to ask whether the product is going to be user friendly;
- but this is likely to be one of the most critical tests of your web site ? are visitors going to find it simple and naturally intuitive to navigate their way through all the helpful and useful information you have provided;
- a web site is never intended to be static or cast in stone ? for it to truly meet its full potential, you are likely to want to be able quickly and easily to update it ? whatever level of technological knowhow you may have;
- does the designer intend to build in that capacity for you to access and update the information conveyed through your school web site.
Just a few of the questions you may wish to ask any web site designer may help you to sort the sheep from the goats and achieve the product that suits the needs of your particular educational institution.