No matter how good a design firm or designer may be, they should always present you with multiple design options for the look and feel of your site. Too often, a designer will fall in love with their first attempt. And while it’s not a bad thing for a designer to feel passionate in support of their design, they may be coming at it from a different perspective that doesn’t match your objectives (and why do extra work for no reason?). They’ll pitch their design aggressively and advise you that it’s not necessary to consider other comps because their design is already “perfect”.
Unless they’re going to give you a discount because they nailed it on the first try or their name is Cezanne, have them give you a couple of other mock-ups and make sure that they are reasonably different – not just moving a few blocks around within the same look and feel.
Creating a couple of design options forces the designer to think creatively about the different objectives of the site and overall usability. It will also challenge you to think more broadly about the pieces of your new site and how they come together; often, you’ll want to borrow options from multiple different designs. What you’ll find is that no matter how good the first design may be, you’ll gain insight from the process of evaluating multiple designs that will positively impact the site in the long run – even if you ultimately end up going with that first design.
Good Web design firms understand how a healthy design process works and will present you with multiple options right out of the gate. However, we recommend always specifying the delivery of multiple design options in your Web development contracts to ensure your designer knows what they’re on the hook for.
Here is an example of a successful design process from a recent project at Praetorian. Below is a set of designs for the homepage of a video library for law enforcement departments. You can follow the process:
Three Initial Comps:
Refining and Combining... Two New Versions:
The Final Version:
Read the full series: Top 10 Web Design Warning Signs