In recent years web designers are now referred to as 'UI Designers'...I like this distinction, as for me 'User Interface' has always been the focus. Above all I aim for clarity and utility in an engaging, on-brand experience. It also carries through that any good UI designer must have a foot in both camps of design and development, which as an experienced front-end designer with firm graphic design foundations, is exactly where I sit.
My projects have ranged from simple brochureware to fully transactional apps and ecommerce enabled systems. Sometimes I work closely with other technical specialists to create larger scale solutions. One of these is Simon Whiteside, technical associate.
Although this page is about bespoke website development, in a constantly evolving industry the focus in recent years has shifted to supporting SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions. I can provide services around:
Every project is individual and I would always council a thorough discovery phase before making any decisions on build strategy.
The beauty of bespoke development is you have a site and content management system perfectly tailored to your requirements, SaaS and opensource solutions can over-spec your site and you can find yourself wading through UI that you will only use 10% of.
A bespoke development will set your site layout and aesthetics in stone to a certain extent...this can be a good thing if you want to lock down the brand, or a bad thing if you want to iterate and make layout changes easily. Generally you will have to go back to the developer for the latter.
Bespoke development will require a larger upfront cost but this should be the bulk of costs (bar hosting) until you need to tweak or re-develop.
SaaS solutions require less upfront investment as you're paying an annual subscription. Certainly if you're following the growth driven design approach, you'll need a platform where you can be up and running quickly and able to continually iterate and test. You'll have more control over changing the appearance of the site although you should still use an experienced digital designer to do so.
On the downside I've found SaaS solutions can bloat the codebase, potentially effecting site performance.
One last thought is to watch out for services that are neglected or approaching end of life such as Adobe Catalyst. Platforms like Hubspot are in growth phase and continually being improved upon with regular updates.