Client & Designer - working together

A web designer sometimes wears many hats, but their main role is to develop the visual representation of content provided to them on a website, application, or other web based medium. Client input is a crucial component to any web project and you, as the business owner/manager, knows your customers best and often can pinpoint what might attract them to needing your services. So what the client provides significantly shapes the design and impact of your website on your site's visitors - close and open communication between both client and designer is essential to success!

Client’s Responsibilities

You know your business best – whether you’re starting new or you’ve been around for many years, nobody understands your business better than you.
  • You know the demographic (types of people) you are trying to attract.
  • You know your products & services – why is what you offer better than your competitor/s? Is it niche?
  • You know your strengths & weaknesses – what do you do better than your competitor/s?
  • You know what you wish to achieve by having a website – do you want more sales, greater exposure,…?
So what does this mean for you, the client? From the initial meeting or contact between client and designer many of the roles and responsibilities of each party will be discussed and it is quite common for a design agency to provide a form to the client listing questions that need to be answered to understand the web design concept and additional information and material that needs to be provided by the client. Don’t underestimate the amount of time that you will need to put into the project, especially when it comes to preparing content. The designer (or their copywriter) will be able to manipulate the written content you provide to maximise its value within the website, but the fundamental information MUST come from the client – do not expect your designer to instinctively know what you wish to have told to your customers. We hear that a picture is worth a thousand words and a website appears dull without visual content. A designer can make suggestions of images to fit the written content, but the client often has the best personalised vision for what is needed and hence most of the images should be sourced by the client…but don’t worry too much, as a reputable design agency will have access to a collection of stock images that can fit comfortably with the written content, if needed. Trust the expertise of your designer – you hired them as you liked their work, so try not to get too wrapped up in subjective design discussions; allow them to design. They are offering their ideas and concepts to reach your intended audience – a task that’s not as easy as one might think. Be willing to compromise with your designer and take their advice. Most design agencies will strive to provide the necessary information and their reasoning in language that you understand so that you can make an informed business decision. Always consider the main objective of your website and whether “those” additional features will generate a return on your investment. Give timely feedback and delivery – When a designer gives you a timeline of how long the project should take, they are assuming that you will provide feedback, when requested, within a reasonable amount of time; when a designer requests additional material or content, they are assuming that you will comply within a reasonable amount of time. To keep the design process running smoothly, provide clear, organised feedback or requested material or content to your designer in a timely manner. It is NOT the responsibility of the designer to continually remind you to fulfil your obligations – they are busy too! Most importantly, the client needs to appreciate that the success of the web design project depends just as much on the client as it does on the web designer. Communication is a two-way street and the success of your website is a 50/50 responsibility.

Designer’s Responsibilities

Design is only 50% about the actual act of designing. The other 50% is about asking the right questions and getting the right information from the client. If your designer isn’t asking the right questions to better understand your business, how will they design the site to attract the right customers? What are some of the questions that your designer should ask? :
  1. Who is your target market? What are the demographics of that target market?
  2. What are your website goals in order of importance?
  3. Who are your competitors?
  4. What makes you different from your competitors?
  5. What would your visitors gain from visiting your website?
  6. If you already have a website, what things are you having problems with?
  7. What types of emotions should your visitors feel when coming to your website?
  8. Are you expecting to regularly update elements on a regular basis? Is a content management system (CMS) the best option for you, or would a static website be more suited to your purpose
  9. What is your budget for the project?
  10. What is your desired time-frame for the project?
It is the design agency’s responsibility to educate and inform the client in non-technical language that they understand what works best online. Should the client fail to comprehend the logic of the approach, it is not the fault of the client, but rather a failing of the designer to communicate the information effectively. Gathering the information from the client and using it effectively are two entirely different things. Sure, your designer may have asked the right questions and things seem to be going fine, but are they putting the information you provided them to good use? This is where experience, research and education come into play. Understanding how to take the data you’ve given them is what they should be best at. Effective web design goes far beyond creating visually appealing websites. It’s about optimising the user experience (UX) and interface (UI) to enhance user satisfaction. A well-designed website provides seamless navigation, faster loading times, and a pleasing layout. Different industries have their own sets of conventions and expectations too, so a healthcare website would need to convey trust and professionalism; a fashion site must be stylish and visually engaging. Is the site a good fit for your expected audience? Finally, testing the design with real users and collecting feedback is vital to creating a design that truly resonates and meets their needs. Design isn’t a one-time endeavour; it’s an ongoing improvement process.


Be Fair & Smart – Not Combative.

There are going to be times when you disagree with your designer. Not always, but it’s likely you may have a suggestion or two that isn’t exactly what your designer had in mind. The role of your designer is to listen and to decide if the feedback is right for your customer or whether it’s just a personal preference. If they disagree with what you suggest, they need to respond with a logical and considered explanation for why they have done what they have done. Remember…you are likely to NOT be your own customer. You may hate pink…but your customer may wish to deck her new baby girl in pink from head to toe. A lot of pink may just be the answer your customers will resonate with! Designers shouldn’t be combative. Creativity takes a lot of hard work and if they love what they do, they will be very proud of the end result for you. It can be hard as a designer to take negative feedback as it is their soul, blood, sweat and tears on display for all to see, but it’s part of the job and liaison with a client should be done in a professional, calm manner.

Web design expertise you can trust

Establishing the look and feel of a website can be tough. There is a lot of work involved in creating a quality web design. If you’re a small business owner that needs help optimising your website in order to accelerate your growth, Naked Egg Web Design is here to help. We specialise in web development, hosting, and website care & support plans that give your business the nourishment it needs to grow. Contact us today and let’s bring your vision to life.