Web Design From Client Perspective – Dos and Don’ts

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Sep 2014
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Author : Pete Peranzo

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Clients are important stakeholders in the web design process. The client is not just an individual or business who is paying for the website’s design; the success or failure of a website matters more to the client than anybody else.

As a client, the most important job you have on hand is zeroing on the right web designer/firm /agency to work with. But, your job doesn’t end there. It will be fair to say, it actually begins in earnest from this point onwards. You must be well aware whether the website’s design is headed in the right direction otherwise you will end up with a site that isn’t up to your expectations and, in a worst case scenario, also that of its intended users.

This is why it is your job to keep a few do’s and don’ts in mind to make sure you get the website you want and which delivers the returns you are looking for.

The Dos That Help You Get to the Other Side Safely

• Trust the Designer

If you’ve handpicked a designer for your project, the least you could do is trust him. Do not second guess your decision. A solid working relationship between a designer and the client is based on trust. You will do well to remember that designers are both creatively and technically astute, which means it makes a great deal of sense to listen to their suggestions if they make solid points to back them up.

It’s pretty simple really. You might have a great idea for your site, but they might have a better concept that is a much more impressive online representation of your brand and all that it stands for. If you think their idea makes sense, go for it.

• Trust Your Instincts

After all the effort you put in to evaluate competitor websites, analyzing their strengths and weakness, trying to understand your users and their expectations from your site, you will still have doubts whether the web design concept you’ve chosen to go with, is good enough or not.

But this is not the only time when you will be asked to make a choice; there will be other times when you’ll need to do your share of picking and choosing. So, how do you ensure you will be able to make the right choice or not?

Apart from making use of the relevant information at your disposal to make a decision, what should also help you is your gut instinct. If you feel something is right, just go with it. Many a times, you won’t have a real reason to justify why you like a particular website mockup and think it will work with your users as well. If you ‘think’ it will work, it probably will and it’s your gut instinct telling you it will do so.

And don’t worry. It’s not just you who will be choosing to trust your instincts and intuition over data and analytics; a large percentage of business leaders across the globe choose to do the same.

Budget in Mind – Always

Every client has a budget earmarked for a web design project, but there is always a chance that the project cost will go over the designated budget. There are various reasons why projects go over budget and the only way you can make sure your project doesn’t, is by making it very clear to the designer that you don’t have the liberty of paying one cent over the designated upper limit of the budget. Make it very clear to them that escalating project costs is simply not an option.

While you can tell designers what you expect from them, you will also need to keep your own tendency to make costly designing choices, in check. Think of web design as a product and like all products, even this one is available in a variety of price range. Also, there is absolutely no limit to the designing costs you can incur, and your project cost is dependent on your choices. For e.g. if you decide to use an open source CMS platform for your website, it will turn out to be cheaper as compared to an expensive proprietary platform.

So, do ensure that you stick to a ‘etched in stone’ budget. Clarity in how much you are willing to spend on a project ensures you are delivered a project within budget and as per your expectations. This guarantees it will deliver high ROI.

The Don’ts That Stop You from Drowning

• Don’t Allow your Personal Choice to Come In the Way of Informed Decision Making

During the process of web design, there are plenty of times you will find your personal preferences dictating your decision making. For e.g. you might be absolutely in love with video headers on websites and want something similar for your site. At the onset this might sound like a good idea, but what if your designer tells you using a video header will be expensive and will kill website speed. If you still persist in going ahead with the use of video headers, you might be compromising on site performance. That’s a bad idea.

Earlier we have talked about going with your gut instincts, but succumbing to personal preferences is not the same as allowing your instinct to make a decision for you. The former can lead to a designing disaster.

• Don’t Say Yes to Every Suggestion the Designers Throws at You

This is again a tip that that you might think conflicts with what we said earlier about trusting your designer. But if you think about it very carefully, putting your trust in designers and saying yes to every suggestion they make, are two very different things.

The designing industry has three kinds of designers:

  1. The reputed designers who meet industry benchmarks of talent, trust and professionalism.
  2. The fly by night operators who’re out to make a quick buck.
  3. “Good Designers” who want to squeeze the last (profitable) drop out of their clients.

While you must stay away from #2 and you can spot such designers from a mile away, it is #3 that is the real problem. If you pick such designers for your project, be very careful about the suggestions they propose. Every new idea they recommend should be vetted from the ‘cost’ angle. If you think a suggestion/idea/proposal/change is increasing project cost, stay away from it.

• Don’t Have Undue Expectations from your Website

We have saved the most important for the last. We whole heartedly agree that your site needs to be immensely profitable and anything less will be disappointing. The problem arises when you have expectations from your website that are not well grounded. To put it simply you are asking your website to throw 100 punches at the opponent when it has a capacity of throwing just 20. In such cases even if the website’s performance surpasses its inherent limitations, you still might not be satisfied with it.

So you have a choice. Either ensure that expectations from your site are grounded in reality or keep being dissatisfied with it? What’s it going to be?

Conclusion

So, here they are – the do’s and don’ts that will make sure you, as the client, can get your hands on a website that will deliver high ROI and help meet the strategic growth objectives of your business. The key here is to think before you leap, and not leap before you think. If you get this part right, you won’t face any problems whatsoever.

 

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