The relationship between website designers and clients is at the center of effective website design. It's only through working together that the final product meets all of the goals the two parties have set. However, maintaining a healthy relationship that supports projects rather than impedes them isn't always easy.
Though clients may come from different backgrounds, we've paid close attention to the most common factors that can stress the designer/client relationship. We've found the solution to many of these problems lies in changing how we work with our clients and how we set expectations from the beginning.
Whether you work in website development or hire a web design agency, the below steps can significantly improve your working relationship with your partner. Both sides carry equal weight in designing and building a website. Let’s take a look at how designers and clients can work together best for a successful partnership.
Explore the Client's Criteria Together
Clients often come to the first meeting with an idea of what they want or need from a website, and in their head it makes perfect sense. However, they sometimes struggle to articulate it or assume that what they are saying to a website design company will naturally make sense. Assumptions like these can lead to disappointment and frustration as the design process goes on.
Similarly, designers may take what a client says and work with that alone, even if it doesn't make much sense or is sparse because the designer doesn’t want to overwhelm the client with questions. Both sides need to explore the client's ideas together, which often means digging deeper. Rather than focusing on aesthetics and design elements, the designer should guide the client to explain what goal they want to achieve with their website. What is its purpose? Who is it aimed at? What would the client consider a successful design? A conversation focusing on these core questions will hopefully see a dialogue develop and encourage more questions to flesh out the initial website idea.
Keep Prototypes Simple
When it comes time to develop prototypes, be it mockups or wireframes, website developers sometimes make the mistake of getting very elaborate. A detailed prototype may look impressive, but it risks setting client expectations too high. If time or resource constraints don’t permit, they may wonder why the final product doesn't look the same as the prototype you showed them.
Designers have the responsibility to explain just what the purpose of the prototype is. However, they should be keeping their mockups simple for the sake of their client's understanding. Instead of creating a complete rough draft of the eventual final design, use prototypes to show where visual elements will appear, how fonts and colors will look, and where text will appear. Features that go beyond this, like specific images or CSS styles, aren't vital at this stage. A minimalist design also allows clients to give more focused feedback to develop the final product further.
Compare "Inspirational" Websites
Before getting to the prototyping stage, both the designer and the client can clarify their ideas with visual references. A web development agency usually offers up a portfolio to show past designs and their elements. While this may be helpful for the web development company, it restricts the client to the shown references. What can they do if they don't like any of the presented options?
While they shouldn't be shy about showing their work, designers should ask their clients what websites they like, emphasizing the visual elements they think would fit their ideas. Even if they can't express it in technical terms, clients can show you these pages and describe why they like what they want. These discussions can take the guesswork out of prototyping and help build realistic expectations for the finished product.
Always Be Communicating
Traditionally, once everyone agrees to a prototype, the website development agency sets out to build the site while the client waits to see the final product. Hopefully, it meets expectations, but if it doesn't, it's sometimes back to the drawing board. Usually, this happens because the client thinks that's how the process works. They don't want to bother the designer and potentially slow the project down.
In reality, communication between designer and client should never stop. Open communication should be encouraged from the first meeting until the final design goes live because it's the best way to address concerns as fast as possible. If a client wants a change, or if the designer has a suggestion, it will save time if they can feel free to talk at any time. Keeping the dialogue open and maintaining these lines of communication not only builds trust, but it allows the designer to create the best possible version of the client’s desired website.
It’s Time to Make Your Website Work for You
All too often, clients feel like they aren't involved with the process of developing their websites. But in truth, client-designer collaboration is at the heart of web page design.
At KangoMedia, We design websites and digital marketing campaigns that convert website visitors into leads and paying customers so that you get a positive return on investment.
Clients that work with us often see dramatic results in the form of an increase in website leads, requests for quotes, service calls, and sales. Businesses choose to work with KangoMedia because of our focus on growing their business. We are more than a service provider, we are your partner in growth.
Give us a shout, and let’s talk about your business.