What Every Web Design Client Should Know

webdesignLooking for a web designer (or web design company) can be something of a minefield – there is potential for lots of technical jargon, graphic designer waffle and mysterious sounding acronyms.

So how can a web design client prepare themselves (and their future web designer) for a smooth process with a final outcome that pleases everyone?

Well I’m glad you asked…

A Clear Vision

It’s essential to have a clear vision for your new web design project.

Vision doesn’t mean you need to know exactly how your new site should look – rather it means you know what your new website will do. What your website does is the reason for having a website in the first place – the target(s) which you are aiming for. That might mean increased brand awareness – a fresh new look – or an increase in sales.

A clear vision (or brief) will include easy to understand (and easy to express) descriptions of your site’s purpose and function, what you expect visitors to use it for, along with some specific goals and ‘deliverables’. A good designer will consider each of these factors when putting together your new site design.

Clear Goals

Goals refers to trackable ‘events’ that visitors carry out on (or via) your site. What kind of goals will you be tracking on your new site?

If it is an ecommerce site, this will probably mean completing a sale. Other site goals could include increasing views, reducing bounce rate, or specific actions such as increasing newsletter sign ups or contact form submissions. All these are easily trackable via website analytics, and can be compared with past performance, to get an idea of how well your new site is performing.

Have a list of goals ready to present to your designer – you can discuss these together and agree what are the highest priorities for your site.

Give Your Designer Something To Work With

Whether it is examples of sites you like (or ones you particularly dislike) – designers appreciate some direction. Prepare a list of URLs and make a few notes about what you like or dislike about each.

If you have stringent requirements such as specific colours or fonts that must be used, make this clear.

Designers may say they like to have free reign, but their job is made much easier when clear boundaries and deliverables are set from the start.

Understanding Platforms

Web design clients don’t need to be experts in php or mysql – but a basic grasp of website ‘platforms’ will make your life easier, and make communication with your designer that bit smoother.

Platforms like WordPress are the most popular for moderately sized (and even some rather large) websites – but there are other CMS’s (Content Management Systems) like joomla and drupal out there.

If you’re looking for an ecommerce site, systems like Magento, OpenCart, Shopify or Woocommerce (built on top of WordPress) are some of the popular names you are likely to come across. Many designers will work exclusively on one platform, so if you think you require a specific platform you can narrow your search for a designer accordingly.

The platform your website is built on will impact how your website is updated, how orders will be processed and how easy it will be to add additional features. If you think your site will require future modifications as your business grows – be sure to mention this as part of your brief. You  need a site that works with you – one that is flexible enough to handle future expansion, without requiring you to start from scratch every time.

Also consider who is going to update and make changes – will this be something you want to handle yourself – or will you be paying your web designer every time you want to make a change?

To Summarise – Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

Overall, preparation is key – so take some time to prepare a clear and understandable brief – your web designer will thank you for it.

It will make your life easier, and allow your project to be completed on time and on budget. Simply knowing the basics – eg. who will use your site, what they will use it for and how your site will be maintained – means you will be well prepared to begin what should be a painless and rewarding web design experience.

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