Asking designers better questions

As a designer, I get asked a lot of questions by clients before they engage me for web design projects. The most common questions are “How much does it cost to design a website?” or “How much does a standard website cost?”. I believe that we need to ask designers better questions.

Asking desingers better questions is key in project success

No Standard Website

Let me cut to the chase – there is no standard website! There is no standard website because there is no standard web project. Every project is as unique as every client is. Every designer or design studio brings a unique skill set for every project.

A better way to know how much a web project will cost is for the client to provide some context. What business are you in? What services do you provide and to who? How do your customers access your services? How will a website help you serve your customers better? If you have a website already, what do you want to be fixed and why? Do other players in the market already have a website that can be used for benchmarking?


A better approach to getting a quote would be to ask if the designer has the capability to help you fix your problem or problems. Ask if their solutions will improve and add value to your existing website or web platform. Once you agree on a solution, ask them to present a proposal that contains how they can fix your problem, how much it will cost and how long it will take.

asking better questions

Why are you so expensive?

Better question – what value are you going to bring to this project at that price? Because every designer or studio brings along a different and unique set of skills.

Some designers are strong on design while others are strong on web functionality. Some designers will help you understand the need to supply quality imagery so you end up with a quality product. Some design studios will have the expertise and resources to help clients curate and create engaging content where it is lacking. Some design firms will hold your hand after you go live (usually for a specified period of time) until you are able to run on your own. The cost normally reflects the value the designer believes you will get from the project.

Always check the designer’s portfolio

One thing you could do to help know the designer or studio you are engaging with is to have a look at their portfolio. The type of clients they have been contracted by before and the quality of work they have produced. Most times than not this helps you to understand the person or firm you are engaging with and the value they are likely to bring to your project.

When we ask designers better questions, we get better answers. We then go on to make better-informed decisions about a designer we want to engage.

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Austin Madinga's Life Unbound