SO you have managed to navigate the minefield of selecting a good web designer (see previous blog) and now you need to know how to work with them. In this article we will discuss how to make the most of your new business relationship and what to expect further down the road.
It’s imperative that you start the project on the right foot, after all, first impressions last a lifetime. The complex venture with your web designer can be a rewarding and enriching experience, providing you put in some effort and time. Making sure you are both on the same page throughout your project will ensure compatibility and productivity.
Here are some of the major pointers to help you make the very most of your working experience together:
1. Do your homework
Don’t simply click on the first web design company on google. Just because they are at the top of google, doesn’t mean that they are the best, oreven the right one for your project. Web design companies often pay to be at the top of google, some don’t even speak English as their first language and this can lead to an unmanageable breakdown in communication. You may also select a large design agency, charging astronomical amounts for designers, account handlers and other overheads. This is largely unnecessary as you will quickly find a smaller company with just as much experience and skills for less than a quarter of the price.
2. Don’t assume that creating a website is an “easy job”.
As a web designer I can tell you this raises a communication barrier from the outset. The process may seem simple in your eyes, but that may be down to the fact that your web designer has spared you the technicalities and endless troubleshooting in previous projects. Stating that “you would do it yourself but don’t have time” or “it wont take long” are both very demeaning and are also not going to bring the price down. If I told you I could do your job as well as you without years of training and experience, how would you feel about that?
You may have had some experience with online site builders and DIY options (see this blog to explain why this is more than likely, the worst idea you ever had), but the fact that you are now hiring a website designer shows you that things aren’t as simple as they seem. The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes on these builders is 90% of what you are paying a web designer to do, only they are doing it properly for you.
Leave it to your designer to explain the difficulty or how long the job will take, don’t rush them into providing a less than perfect service. It should be clear from their online portfolio examples that they are capable of competing your project to an adequate standard.
What may seem like a simple change to your website could equal hours of troubleshooting and support tickets for your web designer.
3. Keep Your End of the Bargain
You will be required to supply the web designer with content for your website. Bear in mind that if the designer doesn’t have what they need when they need it, your project will come to a halt. They will then move on to another project and yours will be shelved until you supply the information discussed in your original brief or meeting. To avoid any delays to your project’s completion date, it would be best practice to supply everything your designer needs up front. This would include and text, images, co tact information and design options. If your pictures need to be purchased, this would also be completed at an early stage.
If your web designer has provided an initial web design project questionnaire (ours is linked here) then this will help to start the project n the right foot. This should inform the web designer as to everything that you have envisioned for the project. The more information you provide, them more scope the designer will have to full fill your expectations.
At Dreamkatcha we offer a project discount if you can provide everything required for the project upfront.
4. Be patient with your web designer
From a clients point of view, you will want your project completed yesterday. You wont be the first and you wont be the last. But putting the pressure on your designer to finish the website sooner than they are used to could result in a substandard project…and you will be they cause. If you really need your project completed in a short amount of time then get it under the nose of your designer as soon as you can. This will give them the best chance of completing on time. If you can get everything ready as soon as you decide to initiate the project, then you will help the process exponentially. Quality work doen’t come overnight, it takes time to design, develop and test each section of your website.
5. Get involved from beginning to end.
Now let me be clear…I don’t mean help design your website, I mean stay close to the project and respond to emails as soon as you can. Also provide your comments as an when they are required.
A good practice is to discuss each stage of the process so that you are both on the same page throughout the project. This will speed up productivity and also help you keep any deadlines discussed, on time. If one of you isn’t regularly contacting the the other with feedback, the project can go off the rails and getting it back to where it should be will take extra time.
You will get out, what you put in when it comes to graphic and web design projects. After all it is a collaboration between you and the designer, you want to see something special at the end of the day.
6. Don’t Ask Family & Friends what they think of the designs if they have no reference
Throughout the project, your web designer should send you samples and examples if the work he is performing for you. From image selection to layouts, fonts and pretty much every design suggestion. It will be tempting to then show your friends, family and colleagues and get their opinions. After all, more views will always equal a better analysis right? Wrong! Unless the people you are showing the designs to is your specific target audience, or they have experience if fields such as marketing (or something relevant), then this can usually strain your client-web designer relationship. There is often no objective criteria to support the opinions you receive from friends and family and can end up confusing not only your designer, but you as well!
7. Don’t Overcomplicate things
Don’t become a web designer or graphic designer, thinking this will help the project. Remember you have employed a designer because you lack the skills or expertise to carry out the project yourself. Everybody want to see some of their suggestions in the final project, but make sure they are only suggestions. Your designer will decide if these suggestions are going to work or not, many factors may b at hand that yo don’t understand. Only your designer will understand the entire implications of your suggestions and this is just down to experience. Bear in mind that what you had in mind at the beginning of the project either may not work due to unknown contributing factors, or their is simply a better idea that your designer will know.
8. Don’t Micromanage Your Web Designer
To ensure a productive and enjoyable experience for both the web designer and the client, it is important that each of you stick to your respective roles.
As a new business owner or entrepreneur, it is your job to communicate your requirements clearly to your website designer. It’s the job of the web designer to come up with a complete solution that satisfies your initial brief. An example where clients regularly overstep the mark would be where they think the colour pallet is too bland for their particular brand. This is actually a good and constructive contribution, however when they start to offer specific design modifications without the assistance f a trained eye, this can leave the entire design floored. The problem with this level of interaction leaves your designer in the dark as to what the bigger picture is and may interfere with the overall picture envisioned by the designer. Asking for a solution draws on their skill set and experience, where they will probably be able to suggest a better solution.
9. Be decisive
When you receive a set of designs to look over, be strict and decide upfront what you like and don’t like. Being wishey-washey at this point can be costly and waste voluble time. What may seem like a simple cold change to you down the road could spell disaster for your web designer, taking hours or even days of unnecessary work. Don’t keep asking for multiple designs as this will lead to a stained working relationship. After the first couple of designs you should be able to give your designer clear instructions where to go next so that any modifications after this will be minimal. Bear in mind I am referring to logo designs of info graphics, not websites! You should only expect one website design based on your brief, extending this process has been prven to be confusing and unnecessary.
After you have decided on the right web designer, work hard to establish a good working relationship from the outset. Make sure you are clear and informative, provide all information in a timely manor and stey in touch at every stage of the project
You have picked this designer from a long list of others, o have faith that they can provide you with a first class service. You will have seen from their online portfolio that they are fully capable, so give them some space for creativity and don’t rush them. Buy responding to emails and phone calls as soon as possible and providing feedback and any necessary files will go a long way to a successful process and achieving your deadline.