When first contacting web designers about your website or online project, it's very important to have a written brief. Without some kind of brief, it can be difficult for web designers to fully understand the project and what it entails.
Spending time writing a clear and consise brief will make your project run a lot more smoothly and quickly than without. The more detailed you can be in the brief about both graphic design and functionality of the site, the better. For example, it's always a good idea to include in your brief any existing logos, branding colour palletes, copies of current business cards, corporate fonts to ensure the graphic designers are aware that there is already a brand identity that must be adhered to. Secondly, if the site is to be redesigned, the more guidence you can give your web designers on what style of design you like, the better chance of success you have of having design developed that you like, first time. It's helpful to let your designers know of 3 or 4 websites you like the layout and design of and specify what it is you like about them. Perhaps the colours, whitespace, clean, uncluttered feeling or perhaps a busy site with lots of text and images. These sites generally do not have to be industry related, only seen from a graphic design point of view. Lastly, supply your web designers with 3 or 4 of your competitors websites so that they can see what you are up against.
It's also crucial to give your potential designers a sitemap. A list of the pages that are going to be required such as Home, About Us, Our Services, Contact Us, Media Library etc.. in addition to this, any special functionality that is required such as online payments, a user registration area to access a document library perhaps, ecommerce facilites are just a few of the functionalities that may be required. Giving this kind of detail to your developers will allow them to study the project in detail.
Once your developers have a solid idea of your design and development requirements they can spend some time researching ideas for the site and if time allows research some of the latest technology on the web that could be used. Once ideas have been discussed, your web developers should be able to give you a good idea of the cost of the project and estimated timescales for design and development.
Should you wish to move ahead with the project from there, you will have a good foundation for the project and should feel confident that both parties understand the project in detail. Your web designers should be able to design and develop a first class site on-time and on-budget.