Most web designers display samples of their work on their website in what’s known as a portfolio or a new popular term used is “webfolio.” The online portfolio gives you a chance to see the designer’s capabilities while viewing their work at your convenience. Before you review any design portfolio, it’s important to understand a few things about portfolios in general. A web site portfolio has that WYSIWYG element but you don’t always get to see everything. Use what you see in a designer’s webfolio as a baseline, not as an overall deciding factor as to whether or not you’ll that designer.
Some designers may include additional work samples to give you more of an idea of their talents, may or may not be a live site and may or may not include but are not limited to:
- Design demos that were created for a specific client where the client selected a modified version or different design altogether. In some cases these samples can be purchased and modified to your site needs which can save you design time. They may be in the form of web site templates and available for modification and purchase as well.
- Web site templates created specifically for purchase.
- Web sites that have been removed from display on the Internet by the client. The design may still be well worth viewing, but for their own reasons a client may elect to remove a site from use.
- Designs or artsy “doodlings” not used on any web site may be included to show you additional samples of style and creativity. This usually happens when a design pops into our heads but we may not have a specific place to put it into a web site project. A client may find something they feel is perfect for their project!
For Your Best Viewing Advantage
Best viewing of any web site is using an up to date, most current version browser . We absolutely can’t stress enough that this practice is not only related to your computer’s security, but you’re cheating yourself out of the latest and greatest viewing pleasures if you don’t. Older browsers are simply not capable of handling the new fangled features that are being introduced to the Internet at blazing speeds. If your browser is not up to date, not only is your computer more at risk but you’ll miss viewing some very cool stuff!
Browsers and browser updates are free and updating is quick and painless. On our “What’s a Browser” page, you’ll find a few convenient links to updating your browser or, if you’re feeling adventurous … select a new one.
Important Things to Remember
- Sites are designed following the client’s wishes. What you see in any designer’s portfolio is not necessarily the full extent of their capabilities or their style. What you’re looking at for the most part is what the designer has been asked to create by their clients. Every designer who’s been in the business for any length of time has at least one site in their portfolio (if not more!) that they absolutely hate but that the client loves! Just because a design is in a portfolio, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re proud of it. Imagine what it would be like if every site out there looked the same?
- The client likes one look, the designer prefers another. There’s always going to be differences of opinion, it’s part of the business. Because we do this day in and day out, it’s always to your advantage to listen to your designer when they make suggestions about your site look. It’s even more important to pay particular attention to functionality issues. This doesn’t mean you have to “listen and obey!” It does mean that should at least seriously consider what your designer is telling you. A good web designer will give you the best information they have so that you can make informed decisions about your web site.
- It’s probably safe to say that it’s every web designer’s dream to have free reign to be able to create each client’s site in their own way. In this way we all could really show off our capabilities and our own personal style. But we work for the client and so like it or not sometimes, it’s our job to follow each client’s wishes as best we can.
- Some designers have done work that by contract they are not allowed to share with others. Some may be works in progress and “not ready for prime time” others may be private login type sites for example.
- Many designers opt to use what’s called “screen shots” in their portfolio. A screen shot is a “mini-version” snapshot, usually only of the site’s home page and quite often does not do the actual site itself justice because the image can degrade in the resizing process. It’s kind of like trying to put a size 13 foot into a size 8 shoe — something’s gotta give! When a link to the web site itself is provided, it’s to your benefit to visit the site itself. Also keep in mind that the screen shot does not provide a complete view of the entire web site and all it’s features. A screen shot is meant to be a sample only.
- Our clients are very important to us! The designer may be kept so busy creating web sites for clients, that they may not have time to keep their own portfolio up to date! There may be any number of projects that are not yet included. There’s no law that says you can’t ask the designer if there are any additional sites they can share with you.