Kissimmee, Florida -- How to find a good web designer of Mobile app developer?! That's practically a joke. While there are possibly millions of amazing designers and developers out there in the vastness of the virtual ether, sometimes it can feel as if finding a "good" one is like hoping for the golden ticket to experience the magical world of Willy Wonka. But even in that story, somewhere out there, the reward was a virtual reality. Somewhere.
The route I took in my professional Internet beginnings was unconventional in many ways. I did not have the immediate resources to hire a web developer with the hopes of him or her designing what my mind envisioned. The Internet was so new that companies notoriously made claims that were almost inevitably unable to fulfill. So I took the initiative to begin learning on my own. I began with development applications by Adobe and Macromedia (who was later acquired by Adobe), Sonic Foundry, Microsoft's Visual Basic Studio (which later evolved into Visual.Net) and SQL Server, AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max, and even Digidesign's Protools. These were all applications that I began to study intensely. I traversed through Drumbeat and Cold Fusion to apps as everyday consumer-friendly as Microsoft's FrontPage and Allaire's Homesite.
The beautiful part of it all was that most of these companies offered trial versions of the app for free. We could literally develop sites for our company and mock-ups for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) before the trial version expired. So by the expiration date, we were able to actually purchase the app that we chose to use for development from the down payment received from the client. The result was that I gained a tremendous amount of experience and direct know-how by working with these development tools firsthand.
Even now, it is because of my own personal experience that I am often able to smell out performance hyperbole - an overstatement or absolute lie - when interviewing or speaking with a prospective development partner, contractor or employee. I get it! You want the job. "But you ain't got to lie Craig!"
But in most cases today, the cost of hiring a company or individual is fairly reasonable. The challenge is finding a good designer or developer among the billions of scammers and the ultra-mediocre.
First off, there is no foolproof way of absolutely ensuring that you get a good designer or developer in part because creativity or talent is very subjective. But there are a few precursory ways of getting closer to the mark than simply trusting what you see online or what they claim. Here are a few suggestions:
This is probably the least problematic and most accurate means of finding a good web designer or Mobile app developer because a business person who actually cares about their professional reputation is not likely to recommend anyone who may reflect poorly on them, their company, or their brand. Remember that in technology, age can be totally irrelevant. I've known of 12-year olds who could blow 30-somethings out of the water when it came to design and app development. You are looking for talent and creativity, something that will fit into your budget, an individual who is open to dialogue, and someone who can get it done within your appointed time frame.
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In more cases than not, this is an individual or team that you will find yourself establishing a real relationship with, and who you may turn to from time-to-time for other projects or advice. Believe it or not, this business progression tends to be as natural and normal as eating and sleeping.
But, typically, referrals are people or companies who have been recommended by someone who you know and trust or highly respect. That person or company has established credibility with the person referring them, and that speaks volumes. It is advisable that you still place them through the same degree of scrutiny and pre-screening as you would any other designer or developer to ensure that they will fit in with you, and your team, company or project. But this is, by far, one of the best ways of finding good talent.
. From Microsoft to Adobe, most application manufacturer websites offer vendor and developer referrals. Now, this is definitely not as clear-cut as a referral from a friend or business associate. In fact, many of the sites simply require the designer or developer to register with them in order to be listed. But they do offer an incredible pool of resources leading to individuals and companies who specialize in working with a specific design application or development tool or process.
Quite often, the manufacturer will feature truly innovative concepts, design screenshots, or freeware developed by members of their group or referrals with a direct link to the company's website or contact information. Some require an individual or company to become certified through their company, which involves company background checks and interviews with past clients before they will allow them to be listed.
As in the case of anyone who you are looking to possibly employ, be certain to perform your own due diligence to confirm their claims and to make extra certain that they are a good match for your team or project.
Professional organization and industry-related association (POIA) websites are also a great resource but, in more instances than not, not, individuals are typically not required to do much more than pay association fees or dues in order to be listed on a POIA site. Remember that most POIAs are typically interested in providing a learning, networking, or discussion platform for its members, and membership and sponsorship. Without members, most POIAs will not exist. So what's the benefit of a POIA in your search for good web designers or app developers? That's simple.
In my experience, even though membership and sponsorship fees may not be tremendously exorbitant, people who are merely looking to "get over" will not generally spend the money to become a member. They may attend the functions but paying money out for membership tends to be beyond the range of what many bad designers and developers are willing to spend or able to afford.
More importantly, members of a POIA tend to adopt a fraternal mind-set. This can be toxic for bad designers or developers. Why? Well, as in the case with almost anything purchased, while people may not see the need to talk about how great your company is, those same people tend to be quick to speak out when the service or performance is poor. So even though POIAs typically do not prescreen their members for actual talent, the members have no qualms in placing a bad designer or developer listed within the POIA site on blast for the public to see.
Even though it may feel as if sites like Facebook are a virtual haven for tomfoolery and trickery, occasionally you can find diamonds in the rough of the social media landscape.
This falls back to referrals. While most members of these sites tend to have "friends" located around the world, there are generally only a handful that you ultimately establish an actual relationship with beyond the site. Again, these are people, especially if there is a professional connection, who you can inquire about a referral for web design or app development. Allow me to place emphasis on the fact that this is definitely not foolproof. But as you develop your online relationships, you will being to establish an idea of the people who you can confidently make such an inquiry.
Also, professional networking platforms such as Linkedin are great resources because people who register with LinkedIn for example tend to be of the more professionally committed caliber. But these sites are also places where you will find a virtual cornucopia of up-and-comers, which is not always a good thing. Just because you "want" to be an app developer does not necessarily "make" you an app developer.
Again, be mindful of people and companies who you connect with even on professional networking sites. Membership does not automatically mean he or she is a good designer or developer. You will need to perform your normal prescreening due diligence to increase the chances of finding a good candidate.
FREELANCE/EMPLOYMENT SITES. Sites such as eLance and Fiverr are great resources as well. The challenge is that these sites tend to be overrun with mediocre to just downright bad talent. Remember, these sites are a service or a platform to connect companies and individuals who are in need with persons or companies who may be able to satisfy that need. They are not fortune tellers or talent rating agencies.
But many of these sites do offer services which go a step further than merely warehousing a bunch of names of individuals and companies that you can possibly contact. Some of these sites offer services which covers the cost of reviewing member companies and contractors through past and existing clients and member referrals. This definitely does not make the companies who choose not to expend the additional resources instantly inadequate or bad at what they do. It also doesn't guarantee that the member who pays the additional cost is great at what they do. But it does increase the chances of hitting pay-dirt and narrowing down your list when a performance review is attached to an individual or company profile.
RANKING SITES. Angie's List is probably one of the most popular even though there are possibly hundreds of others who offer similar services. These sites are not always the best resources for tech talent. They appear to attract more blue collar and administrative professionals. But tech professionals are listed, and these types of sites are great at filtering the wheat from the chaff.
COMPANY WEBSITES. As long as you can find them, you may be able to establish a better idea of what the company is most proficient at accomplishing. Corporate sites offer a broader purview of the company's capabilities, past and present clientele, reviews, and examples of their work. But great "looking" websites can be created by mediocre to bad designers or developers. So, as always, be certain to perform your normal due diligence to increase your chances of finding a good fit.
Finally, you have probably noticed that regardless of where you may find a possible candidate to work on your web design or Mobile app development project, it is recommended for you to perform your "normal due diligence" before hiring. The number of techniques applied by experienced companies or individual professionals is possibly incalculable, none of which are unquestionably infallible by the way. But here are a couple of very simple recommendations for increasing your chances of finding a good web designer or Mobile app developer once you have narrowed down your list and as you prepare to interview:
1. Ask to review past and present work. App developers can often provide you with a working mock of past work and present projects. Even new web design talent tends to have a collection of projects that they have created or are currently working.
2. Select a few of the examples provided by the prospect and ask the candidate to explain the process for coming up with great concepts and then executing the idea. Ask him or her to explain the role that they played in the design or development process if a team was involved.
3. Give them an opportunity to prove themselves by asking them to design or develop a mock-up within a time frame that you or a member of your team designates.
4. Ask for references of people who can confirm their work and talent. This can be teachers for new designers, and past and present clients for working professionals.
Again, there is no surefire way of guaranteeing that the person or company you select will be the very best for the job, will establish an awesome working relationship with you for the future, or will meet deadlines until you actually begin to work together. But what these steps and sites will do is help you to weed out a few more of the good candidates from the bad. And that's the ultimate goal - To lessen your chances of having to spend good money just to be able to talk about your awful experience.
N. D. Brennan is a leading contributor for The Jordan Effect, the author of "51 Successful Business Tips For Millennials," and the creative mind behind The Social Media Millionaire Book Series. 51 Successful Business Tips For Millennials is scheduled to be available for pre-order on October 15, 2018, as an eBook at www.Amazon.com and in paperback at www.CreateSpace.com. He may also be contacted directly at email@example.com.