For the uninitiated, the idea of working with a web designer can be difficult to grasp. Questions like, “How can I make them understand what I want for my website?”, or “What if our ideas clash?” are bound to cross your mind. If you’re worried about navigating this kind of relationship, read on. We’re sharing with you five tips on how to work with a web designer to help boost your chances of having a successful partnership!
1. Set clear goals and expectations with a project brief.
Before you start searching for web designers, you need to create a project brief first. This will help you to clearly communicate your ideas, goals, and expectations to your web designer. It will also minimise costly delays and revisions at the latter stages of the project.
Your web designer needs to understand your needs and goals from the get-go, no matter how complex they are. A project brief will serve as a guide for both parties for the entire duration of the project:
Your project brief should include:
- The name of your company or organisation
- Your main business, product or service
- Your target audience
- Your goal(s) for this web design project
- Your budget and timeline
- Your expected deliverables from your web designer
If you already have a clear idea about how you want your new website to look like, you may also include in your project brief:
- Your desired number of web pages
- Site features or preferred design elements (e.g., logo, colour palette, typeface, forms, and content)
- Images of existing web designs that you like
- Any e-commerce functionality, if necessary
- Any add-ons or plugins, if necessary
When meeting up with potential web designers, give them a copy of your project brief and refer to this document throughout your meeting.
Tip: Including pegs or sample images of web designs that you like will go a long way in helping your designer visualise your desired outcome. Share with your web designer what it is about these particular designs that caught your eye.
2. Specify the scope of work of your web designer.
In project management, there is what we call a “scope creep”. It refers to the out-of-scope requests or constant changes to the project that come in after the project has officially started. If your designer lacks the resources needed to prioritise your requests or refuses to take on additional work, it can cause project delays, result in extra expenses and compromise the quality of your business relationship.
This is why specifying your expected deliverables in your project brief is critical (see point number 1). When you’re discussing your project brief with potential web designers, they will be able to immediately assess if they have the capabilities and resources to meet your requirements, or not.
Once a web designer agrees and commits to your project, we recommend preparing a contract that includes the specific goals of the project, scope of work, timeline and expected outcomes. This will protect both parties from any misunderstanding arising from misaligned expectations. You may also include in your contract the type of project (e.g., long-term or one-time), payment terms (e.g., hourly or fixed rate), appointed individuals, owner of the design, confidentiality, and termination agreement.
Tip: Be as detailed as you can when you are listing down the deliverables of your web designer. Include the number of revisions they have committed to deliver and at what point will you be charged for additional work.
3. Establish a short and seamless decision-making process.
There is a popular expression in the web design industry that says it is impossible to make a good design by committee. Why? It’s because having too many decision-makers can lead to disagreements, compromises, and constant adjustments to the design standards, which ultimately results in subpar work.
If there is no solid trust between the client and web designer, micromanagement over the design process becomes the prevailing procedure. But this can do more harm than good, and make the project unnecessarily difficult for both parties.
You can prevent this from happening by appointing a project manager to your web design project. Having only one project manager instead of a committee can speed up the decision-making process, increase the productivity of your web designer and boost the chances that your timeline will be followed.
Tip: Introduce your project manager to your web designer, ideally during your first meeting. This can pave the way for a smooth start to your project.
4. Focus on measurable goals and objectives.
Many web designers focus on the visual appeal of a website, and rightly so, considering that 48% of users cited design as a major factor when judging the credibility of a business. However, many also forget to focus on what matters most – implementing business metrics that drive results.
Aesthetics can only do so much for your website and business. What makes a website beautiful is subjective, but the figures of how much traffic your website has or how many sales your website generates are absolute.
Communicate to your web designer all the metrics that are important to you and your business. This will help them craft design studies that will not only look visually appealing but also drive higher engagement and conversions. Provide them with clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to guide them in their research, design planning, and UX/UI development for your website.
Tip: Give your web designer a copy of these metrics that matter the most to you during your initial meeting.
5. Provide timely feedback and inputs.
Any feedback that comes in too late in the design process and in a disorganised manner will ruin your project timeline. It can also reduce the quality of your web design, especially if your designer has to rush making your desired revisions in order to meet your deadline. Delayed feedback can result in the postponement of your website launch, and ultimately, make you and your web designer feel frustrated.
To avoid these from happening, make sure your project manager has the resources (i.e., time, skills, and technology) to organise, filter and communicate critical feedback to your web designer throughout the project.
Tip: Strive to give feedback to your web designer within 24 to 48 hours upon receipt of the design studies.