March 20, 2007

Outsourcing web site Design to Asia

The Information Technology industry is very familiar with the concept of outsourcing. A few years ago, outsourcing was related only to programming services. In the last couple of years, outsourcing of creative design especially web site design is becoming quite commonplace. Communication with Asian countries has become quite convenient with the advent of internet telephony and acceptance of working odd hours.

There is an unspoken protocol to follow when outsourcing creative design or web site design work to Asia. Some of these come over a period of time with practical experience and some of them are general guidelines to help you get the maximum out of working with an overseas web site designer.

  1. Be Precise: it helps to provide instructions to the web designer in simple language and in a manner which outlines your requirement. It is also worthwhile to try and document the complete requirement before you start the project. One of the main problems which designers and customers face is the content and other related inputs for the web site. It is best that all the information is sent to the designers up front so that they have enough material to work with and can thus produce better results.
  2. Use examples: It is easier to explain your point especially when it comes to design with examples. Since creativity is subjective, what looks good to you may not look good to someone else. Using images and examples of other web sites which you like or is relevant to your requirement can help get the point across faster. Examples also help the web designer as he or she is able to understand your requirements a lot better.

  3. Set up prior time for a call or chat. Though email is a great way to communicate, it cannot be the only way. Conversations and chats help in interacting with your offshore team better and also help in guiding them on what the issues on web site design may be. Timing for such communication can be set before hand and is quite commonplace within the Information Technology industry.

  4. Give constructive feedback: Designing a web site is an iterative process and there is no way that a project on web site design is completed within the first cut. Working with designers in Asia (or any other part of the world) will require some patience and would also test your skills as a manager. You might require some basic skills in designing to be able to communicate with the offshore web site designer. Giving open ended comments such as ‘I did not like this’ will not fetch any results and is likely to put the project in a classical soup.

  5. Explain cultural issues and business background if relevant. Working with an offshore designer can produce good results provided the designer and you are on the same page. In order to achieve this, you might need to explain the business background of the web site and cultural issues if any. Do keep in mind that the web designer is not able to see you and neither are you able to see his working style in real life. Since cultural issues are bound to exist, they are also likely to come up in the web site design as well (by gabriella). It is best that basic concepts of the idea behind the web site are explained to the designers on the onset of the project so that they can think in that direction.

One of the main reasons of using offshore web site designers is the cost comes down dramatically. Apart from the cost, you are likely to get a dedicated web site designer who will ensure that the work is done as per your requirement and would provide good quality service. However, you need to know that dealing with an offshore designer is different from having a local designer do the project and it is best that you are prepared to face this difference.

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