Working with a web designer can be a difficult process especially if you have never worked on a creative project with another individual in the past. As professional CT web designers, we’ve completed hundreds of projects for local businesses. In moments of introspection, we’ve considered our working relationship with our clients at ImageWorks, LLC.
We’ve been trying to identify why some projects run smoother than others and ultimately create more successful websites. There is a real art and science involved in getting the best results from your web designer and we thought that it would be valuable to share some tips and tricks that may help should you decide to undertake a web design project for your business.
Continue reading to discover how to get the most from your web designer.
Avoid Rushing the Process
Unfortunately, web projects are becoming increasingly constrained by limited budgets or tight deadlines, leading to a diminished quality of work Producing something truly exceptional takes time, planning, teamwork and coordination. A web designer will need time to ponder his or her options and consider the merits of different approaches. The longer you give your web designer time to think, the better the work will be.
Of course, this is not to say that you should give your web designer all the free time in the world to work on what amounts to a company website. You want the designer to have enough time to discuss changes with you so that he or she can create a strong foundational code that will stand the test of time as you make changes on your site in the future.
Don’t Be Overwhelmed By Outside Voices
Deciding on the final set-in-stone design for your website can be especially daunting if this is your first time. You will naturally feel completed to reassure your self by showing the design to your closest friends, colleagues and perhaps even family members.
While it’s not bad to solicit a quick opinion, it can backfire and muddle the process. A person’s perception of good and bad design is subjective by nature and you will likely receive radically different opinions from different people. So even though your Aunt Jane might love the designers incorporation of your brand colors, Dave from the office might find the font choices to be undesirable. Instead of reassuring you, parading the designer’s mock up around will almost certainly instill more doubt. If you’ve ever heard of the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen,’ this is a great example.
Of course, you will have to show your design to some people (especially if you need to get approval from the higher-ups). This is fine, however, it’s important to avoid just sending the design and asking what they think. Make sure that they understand the background and goals of the project and the decision-making process that was used to produce the proposed design. Without this background information, they will be relying on personal opinion, which is, of course, subjective.
Steer Clear of Uttering "Make It Pop" and Other Vague Requests
Please, for the sake of all things good, do not use the phrase “make it pop” around a designer, as it’s one of the most feared and downright horrible phrases in the english language. No, we won’t hate you for using it, but yes, you will receive the deepest eye roll you can imagine. Clients often use the phrase “make it pop” when a logo or website design is close, but not quite eliciting the level of “punch” they are looking for.
Essentially, this phrase is uttered when a client is looking for more impact from the design. Sure, designers have a general idea of what “making it pop” means, but they may not always be so certain about the most effective and efficient routes to make it happen. Try to avoid using phrases that are vague, like “make it pop,” as it is less helpful than you might think. Ultimately, our designers want to help make each project a delight, so it will be more helpful to offer useful criticism rather than begging to “make it pop.”
Come Armed With Examples of Sites You LikeJust as a homeowner would show an interior designer images of the type of home they like, it’s wise for you to show the web designer the types of websites you prefer. Typically, we suggest targeting three sites with a look and feel that you identify with. So, if one of your competitors has a website you’re trying to emulate, you can show us that.
By the same merit, if there is a website that isn’t in your field but has a nice appearance, there’s no harm in showing that either. Take some time to make a list of websites you tend to visit on a regular basis, as this will give you and the web designer an idea of the style you are going for.
Be Specific on Problematic Areas of the Site
For a successful web design project, it’s absolutely crucial to clearly define and stick to your respective roles. Simply, it’s the website owner’s role to identify problems and the web designer’s role to solve these problems through intuitive design.
Though this is the golden rule to strive to live by, in many cases it doesn’t work out like this. Instead, here’s a typical situation: a website owner notice a problem (e.g. the design’s color scheme is not appropriate for his intended audience) and tells the designer how things should be adapted (e.g. change from green to blue).
Yet, in this situation, you’ll notice that the web designer is unaware of what the underlying problem is. He or she only knows that the client now wants the site to be blue. This inevitably makes it difficult for the web designer to suggest alternative solutions that may have addressed the issue better.
In short, the website owner becomes the designer and the web designer becomes an agent of implementing the designer. Inevitably , this wastes the talent of the web designer and damages the relationship between the two parties, leading the web designer to become disinterested in the project.
By no means is this a comprehensive list; rather, we’ve simply aimed to discuss a few suggestions here that will help you to significantly increase the effectiveness of your website by improving the working relationship with your web designer. If you have any other suggestions or personal stories that could be included, post them in the comments below!