The web design process doesn’t have to be long and complicated. It doesn’t have to be frustrating or miss your expectations. The best way to make sure you get what you want from your website design is to communicate effectively with your web design agency.
Here are some tips on getting the most out of your web design agency, using clear language and a careful process.
There will be a discovery phase on your website design project. This is the agency’s chance to get to know you, your industry, your ideal buyer persona and really squeeze every single detail out of your business.
Your web design agency will ask you to provide a list of reference materials, including:
- Websites you like
- Competitors' websites
- Presentations or other sales materials
- Marketing content
- Information on buyer personas
These are only a few, but there are clearly a lot of materials a web design agency needs to execute your vision. We compare all the materials we receive and hope they stack up to something usable. Something we can glean information from.
Make sure the information you send to your web design agency is clean, organized and not duplicative. It also needs to be updated with new product names and descriptions, if you have them.
Definitely also prepare in advance internally. It will get the project off the ground a lot faster.
Yes, there is some front-loading to do on a website design project. But if you come to the table with 2 slideshows instead of 15, things will be a lot clearer and easier to wade through.
Use Your Words
Clients use a lot of vague terminology, with phrases like, “I want it to pop!” Even I made a similar mistake and I WORK at a web design agency. I recently told one of our art directors I didn’t think a design was sexy enough. He looked at me and said, “What does that mean?”
I knew it was ridiculous and actually laughed as I was saying it, but I honestly couldn’t answer him. I said I would have to think about what I was really saying. In the end, I decided I needed the piece to tell more of a visual story. It needed to flow in a way that made sense just by looking at it.
Spend some time with design you like and design you hate. Compare the differences, try to describe them in more than a handful of words and know exactly what you are trying to say.
Don’t Miss Meetings
Good web design agencies schedule regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings at kickoff. These meetings are for YOU. The agency will show their progress, ask questions that are holding them back and address concerns early on, while it isn’t expensive. Missing regular check-ins tells the agency you aren’t that invested.
Have a Clear and Defined Approval Process
Nothing holds your project up faster than the approval process. In the early stages of your web design project, the agency will ask who will be on the team of people approving designs. Choose a person or team and stick to it. Many times, there is “one last person who needs to see the project,” and that person is senior enough to nix the entire thing.
Set Clear Expectations
Recognize when you’re asking the agency to do something that is out of scope. You’ll often get further if you acknowledge it and call yourself out versus trying to pretend it’s in scope. You may even get a service for free because you were kind and considerate.