Working with an employee or contractor should be a smooth, painless process, but often it is anything but smooth or painless. When you take the time to develop a healthy and reliable working relationship with your website designer, you’ll see better results in less time, with fewer missteps and mistakes. To minimize the risk of bad experiences due to miscommunication and other common difficulties, we recommend following these three tips:
1. Build and share a concrete strategy
A concrete business strategy signed off by every key decision maker should be in place before you begin designing and developing your website. Only by understanding what you’re trying to do with your design can your web designer meet your expectations – if you start with vague goals, you’ll get unsatisfactory results.
Strategic considerations for your website include:
- Knowing your target audience
- Knowing your image strategy
- Knowing your content objectives
- Clarifying the driving artistic concept
- Ensuring compliance with rules, regulations, etc.
2. Emphasize transparent communication
You want to maintain an honest, transparent relationship with your design team. As long as everyone involved understands the scope of the project, the short-term and long-term goals, and any modifications to those expectations, you’ll see far better results from your design team. You should communicate with your design team throughout the process. Even before you’re ready to commit to building your site, begin discussions of potential goals and design choices.
As the client, it helps when you organize your team’s feedback, communicating large and small concerns at the same time, instead of in pieces. Your design team, in turn, shouldn’t hesitate to request clarifications or establish concrete expectations for feedback. Make sure both sides get regular updates, touching base by phone weekly. Additionally, we recommend a single point of contact. When you have a single point of contact on both sides (client and consultant), it prevents the occurrence of conflicting requests from occurring.
3. Trust your experts
Leave web design to web designers, as much as possible. As the client, your ideal relationship should be one in which you establish your target audience and strategic goals, and leave the execution of art direction and general site design to people who know it best. If you disagree with aspects of that execution, communicate them clearly, but make sure you understand a design choice before you dismiss it.
The final decision on the site shouldn’t be an open forum, either. Let key decision makers and the design team hash out the final result – don’t solicit the opinions of every single person in the office. It slows the process, frustrates your designer, and frequently leads to bland or aimless final products.
Each of these tips plays into the others. To be able to trust your designer requires transparency and the surety that they’re working towards the overarching goals of the company. As long as everyone understands the project in full and responds according to expectations, you’ll see satisfactory results and avoid the bad web design experiences that plague so many businesses.