I get approached by clients looking for websites many times a day. Many have a good idea of what they want, but most are looking to me for some ground-up ideas and design inspiration. This is all well and good, but when a client approaches me with no idea at all of what they want, then I begin to get nervous.
Statements like: “I need a website. How much does it cost and how long will it take?” are enough to get me scared, very scared.
Don’t get me wrong, I love helping people figure out what will work for their particular business with regards to web design, but there are a few simple things clients can do to make the process exponentially quicker and easier.
1) Write as much copy for your website as possible.
Whether you are a master wordsmith or not, giving me something to go on regarding the text you would like on your website can save a ton of time. Even if it is rough, we can work together to refine it to make it awesome! As long as I have something to go on in the beginning we can build on it from there.
2) Be honest in the beginning regarding initial layouts/mock-ups.
All too often I present rough design ideas to clients to much praise and fanfare, only to be told much further down the design road that they actually want a layout like such and such a site. Honestly, most on-the-fly changes can be accommodated without much delay and hassle, but changing the entire design brief two thirds of the way through the process is a strict no no!
3) Deadlines apply to clients also!
During the design process, I will need quite a bit of information from you about your business. This could be as simple as your operating hours, price lists and images. I could also be asking for approval on design elements, domain name registration, hosting issues, email address setup and other more pressing issues that have the potential to hold up design. There are clients out there who take 2 or more weeks to reply to an email, only to ask why the project is running behind schedule. Client participation is an extremely important part of the process.
4) Meetings that should have been emails/phone calls.
I love meeting with clients face to face. Mostly. For a first time client, who has likely stumbled across my site while looking around the net for a designer, the initial face to face meeting is important as it shows that I am taking their business seriously, and I am not about to disappear into the night with their deposit! What gets a bit much is clients who insist on a face to face meeting to hand over images that could have been emailed, or to tell me they’d prefer their logo 5% bigger in the header. All of these situations could have been remedied with a simple email. And everybody would have benefited.
Basically, what I am trying to get at is hiring a professional web designer means entering into a partnership. Clients often have a good image in their minds of what they want the final design to look like and a good designer is there to guide them and bring the idea into reality. When all is said and done, a good collaboration between designer and client leads to a much better end product, a smooth design process ,and should leave both designer and client happy with the results.