As a web designer, you are responsible for many things. Your client relies on you to make sure their website is user-friendly, accessible, eye-catching and even good enough on the back-end to catch the attention of search engines.
However, what many business leaders and clients don’t realize is that they also have a role to play in ensuring they get the right results from their site; there is more to the client and contractor relationship than an exchange of funds.
Today we are going to examine some of the most common mistakes clients make when they start working with a web designer for the first time. After all, when a customer makes a mistake, it’s up to you to show them how to get back on track.
Customer error 1: providing minimal information
Creativity, for the most part, is the responsibility of the designer in any web construction project. You know best what you can do for a customer.
When discussing an upcoming project with a business owner, you can walk them through concepts such as dark mode design or strategies for digital accessibility. However, it still depends on your customer letting you know if they need something specific.
An insufficient brief in a web design project usually means that you lose time on a project because you have to go back and forth several times, making updates and edits. Getting a report right from day one can reduce misunderstandings and errors.
To get your client started, ask them to share some details such as:
- Who is the target audience? Do you have a buyer persona that you can share?
- What specific features does the website need? Landing pages, forms, widgets, etc.?
- Competitors’ websites that you like: What do you appreciate about these designs?
- Colors and brand assets: What kind of shades and colors should I use?
- Technical feature requirements: Does the site need to have its own application, integrate with APIs or have a payment solution, for example?
Client error 2: underestimating the workload
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes clients make when seeking the help of a designer is that they have no idea how much work it will take to create the kind of website they want. If they have not provided an excellent summary in the first place, they may not have had the opportunity to see all of the work they are asking for in writing.
Guiding your client through the brief process can help here.
On the other hand, if your client has already provided a brief, along with an unrealistic deadline for completion, you may need to have a conversation with them about what they need to do. Walking your client through some of the processes involved in creating your website might give them an idea of how long it will realistically take to bring their ideas to life.
In addition, making sure your clients fully understand the amount of work you are doing could also mean they can better understand why you are charging a certain price for your services. This clearly leads us to the following error…
Customer mistake 3: not having the right budget
Pricing your design services can be a complicated process for web designers. You need to make sure you are charging enough to cover the cost of things like essential software and hardware for your business. At the same time, with so many other designers, you must also ensure that your costs are competitive.
After you have done the hard work of figuring out what your pricing structure should be, you must also be able to justify that expense to your customer. It is common for many clients to start their work with a web designer expecting to get a complete website, blog and application for less than a couple of hundred euros.
Make sure your customer is aware of your price immediately to avoid confusion. If possible, have a pricing page on your website that highlights the cost of different packages and precisely what your customers will get.
If your clients can see the value of your services and even compare them to an hourly workload or skill set, they may be better equipped to set the right budget.
Customer Mistake 4: making too many technology decisions
You will find that you work with many different types of clients during your time as a web designer. Sometimes people will come to you without really knowing what they want or need. This means that you may need to spend some time talking to them about their expectations and discussing what is possible.
On the other hand, there is always the possibility that you may work with a client who thinks they should make all the decisions for themselves. While it’s true that your client should have some control over things like the style of their website and the features it has, it’s up to you to make technical decisions like what kind of tools you’re going to use.
If your client tries to dictate everything you do and how you’re going to do it, it could make it difficult to deliver your best work. Explain your processes to your customer in advance and find out why they want you to use a specific technology.
For example, if your customer wants to use a specific type of website builder because they’ve heard it’s “the best,” you can explain what you like best about the product you’re already using.
Customer Mistake 5: Being too attached to an idea
This is a problem that occurs in many creative industries. A customer goes out and finds something they like on another website. It can be an attractive landing page or a specific payment process. They are so excited about what they see there that they refuse to budge on that idea when working with their designer, even if the concept isn’t right.
For example, your client may come to you looking for a website that is full of animations and dynamic videos. However, if they only have a limited amount of bandwidth from their hosting provider, this could mean that they end up with a slow site that annoys their customers.
The best thing to do when this happens is to present the problem to your customer in a way that they can understand. For example, if you are concerned about something slowing down your website, talk to them about how speed is essential to a good customer experience. You could even share some page speed statistics like: if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, more than half of all visitors will abandon it.
Seeing the statistics for themselves could mean that your customers are more likely to change their minds.
Client mistake 6: working with the wrong designer
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes any client can make is working with the wrong website designer. There are many professionals, each with their unique skills to offer in things like UX design, e-commerce page creation and much more. However, it is not always easy to know what is needed as a business owner going online for the first time.
The good news for web design clients is that there is a lot of information they can use to get informed quickly. The bad news for designers is that this means you’ll have to work to keep your skills on the cutting edge if you want to attract the widest selection of clients.
To ensure that you are more likely to be the right designer for your clients, keep up to date with the latest web design standards and consult trends in your industry. Webinars, articles and even TED talks can be a great way to refresh your knowledge and make your customer base much more attractive.
Strengthen your client/designer relationships
Succeeding as a web designer is not just about creating a solid portfolio full of great websites where you can showcase your skills. While you need to stay ahead of the curve with your design talents, you also need to make sure you can create positive relationships with every client who comes to you.
Like designers, customers can also make mistakes, but they don’t know what they want, try to take too much control, or simply don’t understand the scope of a product. Instead of letting these mistakes hold you back, prove your worth as a designer by helping your clients overcome these problems. The result will be more optimized project experiences, happier customers and better reviews for your company. At Acorn we are specialists in web design and development and our team will be happy to help you. Shall we talk?