What qualification and/or skills should I look for while hiring a web designer?


I am about to launch a website, which I got created through a freelancer. However, I am not very pleased with freelancer's performance and plan to hire someone full-time to make required iterations in design and functioning of the website.

As I am not a designer myself and I do not know much about programing languages, I needed some guidance on the skills, qualifications and experience that I should look for while hiring such a candidate. I will really appreciate your inputs as it will help me in making the right decision.

Also let me know in case you think I need to hire two and not one employee.

Thanks in advance,


Hiring Development Employees Design

asked Apr 2 '10 at 03:32
185 points

6 Answers


You need to consider four separate things. (And most companies completely skip the last item, which is a big mistake.)

  1. The designer's portfolio- what does his or her work look like? If you aren't impressed with what he has done before you are unlikely to be happy with what he does for you.
  2. Performance references. Ask for references and check them!
  3. How well does he code his web sites? Ask for the url of a real live web site he has produced. Run it through one of the free on line HTML validation web sites. There should be no errors. Errors will cause display problems in various browsers and indicates a lack of attention to detail in this person's work.
  4. SEO coding experience. You can not build a web site without understanding basic SEO techniques. A competent designer understands the basics of SEO as it applies to web site design and uses that to your advantage.
I have helped business friends improve their web site rankings. (This is not a service I offer!) They have beautiful web sites that perform wonderfully. But even though they have been on line for 5 years they show up 500th on Google's search for their most common keyword. Google can't find them or ranks them at the bottom of its search because the web designer did not have a clue about basic SEO techniques.
answered Apr 2 '10 at 07:12
Gary E
12,510 points
  • +1 and don't forget: crossbrowser works/displays the same or almost the same in the major known browsers (IE, firefox, chrome, safari, opera). Usability too is very important (UX). – Totty 12 years ago


Here's what we look for:
- Talent
- Idea generation
- Ability to code their designs to at least a basic level
- Attitude
- Self motivated
- Attention to detail
- A desire to keep learning
- Good research skills
- Communication skills
- Team player
- Interest in human behaviour
- A love of good design
- Outside passions
- A work/life balance
- Good sense of humour

Hope this helps. I appreciate many of these apply whatever the role but I believe personality traits and life skills are just as important as talent and creativity.

answered Jul 4 '11 at 18:20
Laurence Mc Cahill
11 points


Also make sure that the freelancer provides you with detailed contracts which equally support both parties.

answered Aug 2 '11 at 03:29
Meaghan Burke
21 points


Typically a web designer is involved with the way a website looks. This will involve HTML/CSS. A web developer on the other hand is concerned with how a website functions and should have a solid understanding of HTML/CSS, as well as a programming language like Python or PHP and Javascript. The specific skills necessary will depend on your website. Your developer at least needs to have a solid understanding of HTTP, and probably database design. Any any web developer worth their salt will have these skills. You may be able to find someone who can do both well, but that is not likely in my experience. For instance, I consider myself a developer. I can make a fully functional website that does everything you need it to do. It will however be very very ugly, so I leave the design part up to designers.

answered Apr 2 '10 at 07:15
138 points


His view on how to find what's more user friendly, his expertise in latest technology such as html5 and one of the Ajax toolkit like jquery or gwt

answered Aug 2 '11 at 10:09
Web Thinker
430 points


You need to nail down what your requirements are for your site. Prioritize: usability, design aesthetics, performance/database usage, and any marketing/SEO needs.

Shop around for designers and take a look at their portfolio. You'll notice right away which ones are appropriate for you and at a closer look, get an idea if they have the technical skills you need. Follow other recommendations for code review.

DO NOT hire someone without seeing them at work. Tell them ahead of time (this isn't a pop quiz) to bring a laptop or have a way to connect to a home computer (Go to my PC) during the interview. See if you can give them a one web page assignment. Take a page you don't like about your site and see what they would do with it. If they can't type code quickly, bad sign.

Ask them about the tools they use. I would expect very passionate responses about their computer, development tools.

answered Apr 3 '10 at 03:41
Jeff O
6,169 points

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