The Web Designer Portfolio
A website design agency will invariably display a portfolio, and this is genuinely a good place to start. Always take the time to look over the portfolio, visit the sites, and look at the design. Bear in mind that the host a website uses as well as traffic levels and other factors will invariably play a part in the speed the site loads but consider how accessible each of the sites are. If every site, or a majority of the sites you visit in a website design portfolio are slow to load then proceed with caution.
Another aspect of accessibility is the consideration of browser type. Between 75% and 80% of regular Internet users access websites using Internet Explorer. This is a high percentage but only ensuring that a page loads properly in Internet Explorer means you could potentially be losing as many as 1 in 4 of your visitors. Again, with the proper website design agency this needn't be an issue.
Ensuring Accessibility For Dialup Users
Accessibility can be a difficult factor to judge. If you use a high speed broadband connection then you should bear in mind that while estimates do differ from one report to another it is generally accepted that nearly half of all home Internet access is performed using a dialup connection. Dialup connections are slower and pages will inevitably take longer to load. Good programmers and designers can use techniques that ensure the most relevant features on a page load quicker than the rest. This keeps your visitors' attention while the remainder of the page loads.