How to convey your ideas and not confuse your web designer
11th February 2011

You've finalized the deliverables and fixed the costs. Now its time to get cracking.

You will want your web designer to translate your vision into a website. You start out with a verbal brief, conveying your ideas and vision. The designer comes back after a few days but the designs are just not upto the mark!! You go back and forth with revision after revision but its just not happenning. Sounds familiar? Happens more often then you think.

Here are some excellent ideas to convey your thoughts and ideas to the designer to get exactly the kind of website you want.

1. Don't start designing without fixing a sitemap

Without a sitemap you will not know the size and scope of the website and neither will your designer. The menu of links is the main component of any website and if thats not nailed down then you're in world of trouble. Not only will the menu change but it will affect the entire site as well.

2. Put your thoughts down on paper. Write a clear brief.

Avoid verbal miscommunications. Sometimes what you say is not clear to the designer but he nods along or simply forgets. Having it on paper makes it real and also can be used to hold the designer accountable for omissions and mistakes. Write it in an informal friendly languge but make sure you cover all the important points and your thoughts.

3. Ask your web designer for a web design questionaire

A design questionaire is a standard templatized set of questions designed to find out your design preferences. It may include questions about your preferred colours, layout style and other elemental questions. It should also contain questions about your target audience i.e. who is the website intended for and what style you would like to design it, friendly, funky or official.
Bare in mind the questionaire is a guide and need not be the final word on the design. Leave the designer some room to innovate and try a few things.

4. Browse the net and compile a list of sites you've liked. Send them to your designer.

The web designer needs to know your tastes and the best way to know them is to send him links to websites you liked! They need not be of the same subject or in the same industry as your business. Send him links from all possible areas and subjects. Just make sure the link is something you like and that the designer can take some cues from it. Never send a link to the designer asking him to blatantly copy it!! That plagarism and also demotivates your designer.

5. Have realistic expectations. Expect work at the level and capability of your web designer.

Your web designer may not be a Michelangelo or a Picasso. To expect a master piece would be unrealistic. Don't compromise on quality but draw the line between reasonable expectations and unrealistics pipe dreams. This is especially true if you have hired the designer for his/her cost effectiveness, it would not make sense to expect the moon from such a resource.

6. Keep in regular touch. Don't let the final design be a surprise.

Nothing worse than a designer coming back after a couple of weeks, unveiling the designs and you hating them!!

Most web designers have many clients and work on multiple projects at the same time. Its very easy for your work to get lost in the shuffle and not get the attention it deserves. Keep in touch with the designer. Ask for regular progress reports and also view interim work without making a fuss. Give feedback on a work in progress but allow the designer to complete the work.

7. Provide the designer with all material you might have already have designed

If you have corporate brochures, flyers or any other designed material, share it with the designer. The designer can then try and match the tone of these materials and will also get a fair idea of your tastes.

8. Know when to walk away. Sometimes its better to cut your losses and walk rather than break your head.

Sometimes a web designer will simply not get what the client wants or will not have the capability to deliver the clients vision. Pushing hard may just make things worse and make the whole thing turn ugly. When you recognize the fact that the web desginer cannot deliver it makes sense to walk away. Discuss the same with the designer, negotiate a settlement, thank him/her for the effort and let go. There is always some learning in such encounters and you can select the next designer a bit more wisely.

Thankfully we've never been at place where a client had too much trouble with us but many times even with our experience we encounter a mismatch in expectations and delivery.


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About Me

He has been in the web development business for the almost two decades.He is a keen student of marketing and business development and writes regularly on web strategy and other related topics which is read and followed by many every month.

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