10 Crucial Questions A Web Designer Should Be Asking New Clients
One of the most critical stages of a web design project is the first meeting with the client. That project launch meeting is the stage at which a web designer will begin to get a clear picture of the client’s requirements. However, if the right questions are not asked up-front, a design project can quickly unravel.
Extracting the relevant information from clients can sometimes be challenging. The customer knows what they want. But, if they are not prompted for the pertinent information, the web designer can go off at a tangent and waste a lot of time.
The basic questions, like the budget and timescale, will have been covered in the sales process. Still, it would be best to confirm these points at the outset to ensure no misunderstandings. Then, it’s time to drill down into the client’s requirements to gain a more detailed understanding of the proposed site. So here are ten crucial questions for web designers to ask new clients to get a project off to a good start.
Table of Contents
- What Are Your Goals for This Project?
- Describe How Your Business Operates
- Who Is Your Target Audience?
- Who Are Your Competitors?
- What makes You Better Than Your Competitors?
- What Features Do You Need?
- Do You Have a Style Guide?
- Do You Have An Existing Website?
- Has the Content Been Prepared?
- What is the Scope of the Project?
What Are Your Goals for This Project?
Some clients know they need a website but have not thought about any specific goals for their online presence. In this case, a good web designer will ask further questions to ascertain what the client needs from their new site. To produce the best possible solutions for a client, a web designer needs to understand what a client will use to measure success. In some cases, success will be defined as an increase in sales or leads. In other cases, success might be measured by visitor numbers or mailing list subscriptions. Either way, what constitutes a successful outcome needs to be clarified at the launch of every new web design project.
Describe How Your Business Operates
A web designer will undoubtedly already know what a new client does. But there is more to understanding a business than merely knowing that the client sells cars. For example, a motor vehicle sales business might be a dealership. In That case, the car manufacturer will likely have branding requirements that must be met. In addition, a car dealership may need functionality for the online booking of demonstrations or servicing and repairs. However, the car dealership owner will probably take these aspects of their business as a given. So, the web designer cannot take anything for granted.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
A website must be designed to appeal to the target audience. So, it is crucial to have a picture in mind of a typical visitor when creating a website. Competition is stiff in almost all industry sectors. So, a website must resonate with its target audience and provide an experience they will appreciate. In addition to the basic demographics, it is best to understand the lifestyle choices of the audience and their purchasing habits as well. And, understanding what type of content and media the audience prefers will help design a site with which the target audience will feel comfortable using.
Who Are Your Competitors?
Researching competitors is another way to gather information for the design of a new website. For example, a web designer can gain insights into an industry sector by looking at how competitor websites are designed, their functionality, and their content. Of course, the objective is not to copy competing sites. But, it will provide insights into what works and what does not. It is also a good idea for the client to explain to the designer what they like and dislike about competitor’s sites. Doing so will provide further insight into the preferences of the client.
What makes You Better Than Your Competitors?
Understanding the client’s unique selling proposition (USP) will help a web designer develop a site that stands out from the competition. For example, the USP could be something as simple as free shipping. Or, the client’s product may be unique or offer unique features and benefits. Understanding what makes the client’s business stand out from the competition will help a designer create a site that does the same.
What Features Do You Need?
It is best to confirm at the outset the features that are to be included on the website. The need for some features will be immediately apparent. But the client may have other ideas, too. And the designer will have input into the functionality of the site as well. The crucial thing is to get a list of features agreed upon before the site development commences. Late additions to the core features can cause lengthy delays.
Do You Have a Style Guide?
Large organizations will likely have a style guide that will need to be followed in designing a website. While smaller organizations may not have a formal document, they will likely have branding conventions that will need to be followed. In either case, it is advisable to confirm branding requirements before any design work begins. The web designer may have some excellent branding ideas. However, the client will likely want to maintain brand consistency with other platforms and media.
Do You Have An Existing Website?
If the client has an existing website, it’s a good idea for the web designer to ask what they like and dislike about the current site. And, it would be helpful to spend some time reviewing the site in some detail. Going through an existing site will reveal more about the client’s likes and dislikes. And a review may also highlight any mistakes that were made in the design of the original site. If the client has been using Google Analytics, a review of that data will also provide valuable visitor behavior data.
Has the Content Been Prepared?
It is often the preparation of the content that delays the launch of a website. So, the web designer must know that the content has been written or when it will be available. Indeed, having sight of the content in advance of the site’s development can be extremely helpful. A content-first approach to web design allows the web designer to create a site that optimizes the content and generally produces a better end product.
What is the Scope of the Project?
Finally, both parties must understand the scope of the project. The project scope will have been discussed during the sales stage. However, it is helpful to confirm the details of the project, the price, and the deliverables at the project’s outset. And, the designer will need to know who will be managing the project on the client’s behalf.
The relationship between client and web designer can break down quickly if the right questions are not asked at the beginning of a project. And, if the designer does not understand the client’s requirements, the finished website will likely fall short of expectations. So, it is best to ask the above questions and more if required at the project launch meeting.