In order to create a fantastic website, communication between web designer(s) and client(s) is absolutely crucial. If ideas are not described accurately by the client and limitations and tech specs are not fully explained by the designer/developer correctly, it is possible that the end result could be completely different than what the client initially asked for. Here are some tips to help designer/developers and clients communicate effectively to create a product that everyone is happy with.
It is very common for the developer and the client to have completely different point of views. The client claims they know exactly what they want, but at the same time, the developer has experience in the field and might argue that the client’s plan will not work out or not be effective.
For the client…
Research, Research, Research
First off, do some extensive research and chose a good quality web design company. I realize you might be on somewhat of a tight budget, but there are good qualities, professional and affordable web design companies out there. You just need to take the time to research, read testimonials, etc. It wouldn’t hurt to ask for a reference either.
Be Open Minded
You might feel like you have everything figured out and you just need a developer to put it all together. That is ok, but be open minded to new suggestions and feedback from your developer. Remember, this is what they do and this is what you paid for. They might have had similar projects that may or may not have been successful, either way, it gave the developer experience which could help with your project.
The More Detailed, The Better.
The more in detail you can be about your project, the more your developer can meet your needs. Here are a couple tips
- Provide sample websites. This will give them a visual guide to what you are looking for. Be sure to explain what you do and what you do NOT like about each site. You should also explain that you do not want to copy the site, it is just to be used as a reference.
- Create a sitemap and/or website diagram. There are many programs out there that will allow you to create an in depth sitemap and/or diagram of your websites structure. This will show the developer which pages/menus/sections that are needed. Some examples of helpful software are…Powermapper.com, Edrawsoft.com and Gliffy.com. If you don’t have the time or skill to create something like this, at the very least, create a word or excel document with the menus and pages you need.
- 3. Follow the process. Good design/development companies follow a work guide or process for each new project. The steps can vary but they usually look something like this…
- Gather info and materials from the client
- Create a plan
- Design phase – create a graphic mockup or multiple mockups
- Development and programming phase – creating a working version of the design in the last phase
- SEO, etc…
With this in mind, provide your feedback through the project. If you want something changed in the design or layout, tell the developer to change it while in the DESIGN PHASE. It’s 5x harder to fix when it has already been programmed. Web developers do not like surprises. If you want certain functionality, tell them before it is programmed. Your developer should be giving updates every few days at the least.
For the developer – designer.
Listen To Your Client!
I am a developer but I have also been a client and I have had developers that just do not listen to what I wanted even if I explained it in detail. It would actually feel like he was not even reading my emails. I know that you are the professional but at the same time, you need to take the clients feedback and instructions very seriously and if you do not agree with something, TELL THEM before you change or ignore it.
Keep In Contact
At the very least, give updates to the client every few days via email or phone. I realize that some developers are not crazy over phone calls. Believe me, I am one of them. If my clients called every time they had feedback or questions, I would never get any work done. But, at the same time, if it is something that either requires immediate attention or it can’t be explained via email, then you need to have a phone conference.
Explain your process
Professional web design companies and individuals usually have a work process. Keep the client in the loop. Let them know when you finish one phase and start another. Do not wait until the project is 100% complete to show them your work. This will most likely give you more work if you need to make changes. I would suggest giving them a dev link after you get the base layout programmed and get some menus/pages complete.
About The Author:
Brad Traversy has over 10 years of web design and development experience and is the owner of Tech Guy Web Solutions which is a small web design/development company in Massachusetts. He also specializes in technology writing. Most of his work can be found at http://www.techguywebsolutions.com/blog.