Are you building a website for your client, or using it as showpiece for your many talents
Your job is to create a website that fits the client’s brief, attracts new customers for your client, and makes you proud to have designed it, whilst also keeping ease-of-use, accessibility, and style in mind. So how do you balance it all out?
Look, Listen, and Learn
It’s important to work closely with your client to get their website exactly as they envision it. Listen to their ideas, ask what they want their website to do for them, learn about their products/services and their prospective customers. Include them in the design process, and when the final design has been approved by management, why not ask them to get their staff to take a look—it can never hurt to get a fresh perspective to pick up anything that may have been overlooked (and cheaper to fix it at this stage than once the site is built).
So you’ve listened to what the client wants and the ball’s now firmly in your court.
Comprehend, Communicate, and Collaborate
It’s equally as important to feel confident enough in your skills and experience as a web designer to steer clients away from big web no-no’s and to offer viable alternative solutions.
You’ve listened to and understood your client’s business and their requirements, it’s now time for you to offer them the benefit of your expertise. If it does become necessary to say no to one of their more fantastic ideas, then give them your reasons for doing so in plain English; don’t confuse them with technobabble. Don’t just say, ‘No, that’s impossible’ and dismiss their ideas, offer a workable compromise instead. They’ll appreciate it.
“After design meetings, telephone calls and emails with ever more demanding requests from us, they have produced a new site that has an excellent look and clear navigation which reflects our exacting standards.” — Mungo Ker, JCB Security Ltd.
JCB Security Ltd, a security services company providing close protection and event security personnel, recently established a maritime division offering anti-piracy solutions to commercial vessels and private superyacht owners. We had previously converted a table-based site into valid XHTML and CSS, and after talks with other design firms, JCB Security commissioned us to do a complete redesign of their website to incorporate their new maritime division. I’m very glad they did, as it was a great project to work on. Thanks guys! 🙂
I do a lot of surfing as ‘research’ into what other web designers are doing, and I’m for ever bowled over by some of the sites out there on the WWW. We all like to think we’re the best at what we do and that, yes, we can do it all, but sometimes it can be more beneficial to your client—and after all, it’s their website—if you collaborate with an ‘expert’ rather than try to patch it yourself.
With the JCB Security website, I had the design approved and the XHTML and CSS done, but—surprise, surprise, Internet Explorer 6 was causing big headaches. Rather than spend five hours scratching my head and peering at the screen bellowing out expletives at Microsoft, I outsourced that part of the job to someone I view as a ‘CSS pioneer’, Stu Nicholls of CSS Play. Thank you, Stu. 🙂
The process of listening to, and communicating often with, our client and collaborating with another freelance website designer resulted in a website I’m proud to put the Freelancealot.co.uk stamp on—figuratively speaking, of course—and our client is extremely happy with their online presence, which is the main aim of our jobs as freelance web designers.
[WARNING – Blatant Horn-blowing Ahead: Please visit our web services page to see what website design and development services we have to offer at Freelancealot.co.uk]