When asked about working with clients to create websites, I always stress the importance of good communication between the client and the designer. Whether the website is complicated or simple it is still important to have a good flow of communication. That being said, every client communicates differently. Some communicate too much, some not enough, and others not at all. As a designer you have to be able to adapt to these different types of clients. One way I do this is to adhere to a process that I am comfortable and that has worked for me in the past.
Although adapting to your clients communication style will help with communication you can’t let it derail the process you use to create websites. I relate the issue this way. When you wake up in the morning you naturally follow the process of getting ready for your day. What if something happens that makes you change up that process. Let’s say your alarm doesn’t go off and you wake up in a rush. You then start doing your normal routine but you are doing things out of order and you forget to brush your teeth before you leave the house. This is an easy fix, but missing a detail when creating a website might not be. The process is very important and I can’t stress enough the importance of creating your own process.
No matter the client my process stays the same.
I have the client fill out a simple form with some questions about their new site. This form gives me a solid foundation to start working from. Also, it’s a great client filter. If someone can’t take 10-15 mins. thinking about their goals for the website it’s a signal to me that they may not be committed to working on a website.
Phone or in-person meeting. This will give you the chance to discuss the form they filled out and any other questions you might have. You will be able to dig a little deeper into the project. I know many people will always say that the in-person meeting is the best option. I politely disagree. While in-person meetings are great I don’t think you can accomplish more than you could over the phone. While on the phone you can keep the conversation more focused. In addition, you don’t have to try to spend time deciding where to meet up, how long will it take to get there, the costs of gas, etc. Then, on top of all that, the client may not decide to work with you.
A complete estimate with the details of the project. When I create an estimate for a client I try to be as detailed as possible without being overly technical.
Follow up with the client in the next day or so to see if they had any questions or comments regarding the estimate.
I always try to keep clients up to date with the process I’m following and what the next steps are. This will help the client feel more comfortable and helps them understand the timeline of the project.
I understand that everyone has a different process and this is a process that works for me. By sharing my process I am hoping that others can learn and adapt from my process. Thanks.