One of the main difficulties in communication between the client and the designer is how to successfully convey your vision. It can be quite difficult for a client to put into words his ideas and thoughts. And even if you masterfully describe the project, this does not guarantee that the designer will have the same picture in his head. Communication in the development of design stays in the first place, since it is impossible to solve a problem that is incorrectly or implicitly posed or interpreted.
Let’s figure it out – can you say to the designer “do it beautifully” and “add something special”, and can you shift all responsibility to the designer?
Often, clients are not experts in the IT field and may order such services for the first time, so it is very important to stipulate the nuances of work at the very beginning of cooperation, and at the same time make sure that there are no more questions and misunderstandings.
To build good and fruitful relationships between you and the designer, you need to start with general questions regarding cooperation, ask the designer (or manager on behalf of the designer) to tell:
- The purpose of his work.
For example, if you came with the desire to create a site, then in this case he can tell briefly what tasks can be performed using sites, what requirements for their creation needs to be expressed.
- How to build a workflow and why in that order.
As one of the options, the manager can offer you to divide the design into stages and agree that work on the next stage is carried out only after the approval of the previous stage and that what was agreed cannot be changed. This is one of the most important points that you should remember to avoid misunderstandings in the future.
- Why the agreed technical task in the process of work cannot be changed.
You should also understand that if you want to change what has already been approved or even more so done, then an additional fee will be charged for changes.
- How to take tasks and evaluate them:
Do not evaluate the design from the position of “beautiful or not”, instead of evaluating from the position of the tasks. Ask the designer to explain the tasks that his design solves, for example, he can explain why you did what you did, and why this arrangement of elements works, and the other doesn’t. It will also allow you to build more trusting relationships.
Also, do not forget to tell the manager or designer about the key specifics of your company and how it is better than others and alike. The designer needs to find out how he can help solve your business problem (or personal), and not just listen to your requirements and do as you ask.
Why is it important to decide on design preferences?
Often, it’s quite difficult for clients to decide on their preferences, and often designers hear from clients the words “the font should be motivating” and “it needs to look expensive and stylish”, without getting any specifics. Such client requests may lead to a large number of edits in the future.
Therefore, in order to avoid such situations, it is necessary to get prepared in advance for communication with the manager (or designer directly) and try to independently study the different options for designing sites and the location of elements on the site, pay attention to colors and fonts, and also prepare pictures or photographs.
One of the options to determine your preferences and significantly help the designer is to choose:
- Three (five, etc. ..) websites that you like. They don’t have to be from your industry. Why do you like them? What is attractive? Colour? Style?
- Three (five, etc.) websites you don’t like. What exactly do you dislike? What’s the matter? Why don’t you want this on your site?
If you find answers to all those questions, you will be able to formulate, or at least demonstrate your tastes, and greatly help the designer narrow down the list of what you might like. It is also recommended to document this and it is the document that will be the basis for the development of design.
What to do if you and the designer have different tastes?
You should not expect that the designer will fully meet your ideas and standards of taste and vice versa, but do not forget that you turn to the designer as an expert. You should be prepared for the fact that if you want to add light green letters on a red background and add moving content, the designer may not agree with this, since it will most likely be hard to read that text and the overall concept will look bad.
If you still insist on your idea, and the designer says that this will not work, then you can ask the designer to comment on the decisions made, why and why.
For example, imagine the situation: The client says that the link is poorly visible and asks to make it red.
The duty of the designer to understand, formulate and coordinate the problem that the option proposed by the client solves and help the client to see the shortcomings of his solution (if any) and express his opinion about the client’s option:
“The bright red here may attract too much attention and be annoying.”
So that this does not turn into a dispute, the designer should offer his own solution to the problem “To increase visibility, I suggest not repainting the link, but design it as a button.”
That is why communication with the designer is so important. Do not be afraid to say if you want to offer something or if you don’t understand something, the designer will certainly explain to you why and not in another way and will help you find the best solution to the realization of your idea.
Also, another reason to trust the opinion of the designer is that he works with the development of layouts constantly and knows how to make a really selling and relevant design. Sometimes, some design decisions may be incomprehensible to clients because of rapidly changing trends, as they are used to seeing a certain design in their favorite applications and sites.
Get ready to experiment 🙂
Also, do not forget that if you and the designer have not been able to come to a common vision of design for a long time, perhaps this is a problem that the designer does not know what specifics of your work are. Perhaps some details that are very important to you, the designer may consider insignificant. Therefore, it is very important to pronounce all the mandatory requirements.
What if you can’t reach a final decision?
Many designers are painfully familiar with the situation when a client orders a design, discusses wishes, details, a concept, and the team gets to work. And it seems that the project has begun so well, it turns into edits that have no end. To avoid this situation, the manager should immediately talk to you about the revision stage, while both parties must understand the fact that edits are part of the design development process and they cannot (and should not) be excluded.
Let’s look at the categories of edits that most often come from the client’s side:
– minor edits:
The problem with such changes is that despite the fact that at first glance it seems very quick and easy to fix, after a large number of them accumulate, instead of working on a project, the work of the designer turns into a never-ending introduction of minor adjustments.
– request to make several options:
When the client is not sure that the option proposed by the designer is ideal and to make sure his choice is correct, he asks the designer to show other ideas so that there is something to compare with. The problem is that the new option contributes to new thoughts, rather than the harmonization of a previously proposed solution.
– not knowing what is possible and what cannot be corrected and at what stage:
Such edits occur if it was not initially agreed that changing requirements when part of the design, or even more development, has already been done, and therefore the client may ask to change the details and colors just because of ignorance of how many edits can be made.
It is very important to understand at the start-up stage the project, which implies a stage of improvements. It is necessary to stipulate the number of permissible edits before each stage of work.
Here’s how you can roughly establish the order of improvements: after you are presented with a design option, you have a certain amount of time for feedback. You collect all the changes and comments in one place and then, combining all the comments, ideas and requests, the designer creates and presents a new version of the design. This completes the finalization phase.
It is also worth noting that you should not give edits immediately after they showed you the design. Very often, people express their first comments on emotions that change after thinking about a project and revising it over time. That is why it is important to understand that giving edits one after the other on emotions after seeing the design is not the best option. It is necessary to request a certain amount of time (this can take a couple of hours or a couple of days) in order to formulate all your thoughts in a single answer, and then consider and confirm the changes with the designer.
The number of stages of improvements should be clearly formulated in the estimated budget that you stipulate at the initial stage, since the more transparency and information content between you and the company, the better. In the end, such discretion at the very beginning of the work will help to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts throughout the remainder of the cooperation.
How to find a common language with the designer and form your feedback properly?
If you did not like the presented design, most likely the designer will not succeed in convincing you to love his design. Communication is the key to the success of the project, therefore it is very important to adhere to tips on how to correctly and clearly formulate feedback in order to eventually come to the ideal option:
- Explain to the designer in an accessible language what you want to achieve before he even gets to work. And it’s better to correctly compose the terms of reference, show examples that you should focus on.
- If you yourself are not a professional in this field, the designer knows best how to do it right. Therefore, exclude from your communication with the designer any phrases of moralizing and direct instructions for work. Tell us what you want to get as a result. Here we can give an example of the popular expression: “When you go to the dentist, you do not tell the doctor how to treat you.”
- If you know exactly what you want to change in design, then how to achieve your goal, but not kill the desire to create in the designer? Very simply, as an option, if there is a specific wish, express it in the form of a question. For instance:
Wrong: “Make the background white.”
That’s right: “Can we make the background white, what do you think?”
The task, submitted in the form of a question, involves reflection and discussion, so ask questions if it seems like a bad idea to the designer – listen to his point of view, as he is more competent.
- Talk about things you don’t like as early as possible and avoid the situation:
Everything is fine, we like it -> Everything is fine, we like it -> Oh, we showed the design to our consultant, he doesn’t like it at all, we have to redo everything.
You always have the right to fundamentally change the concept or make drastic changes even at the final stage (which of course is extremely undesirable), but in this situation you should understand that everything that goes beyond the scope of the technical task is paid separately. Therefore, figuratively speaking, if in the technical task and in the first stages of work you asked for a peach, and in the final decided that you need an orange, then you will have to pay for both the peach and the orange.
Hence the conclusion: Look at the drafts and comment on the options for work on time. If you don’t like something, you are embarrassed by something, the requirements have changed – speak immediately and directly. So you save the time of the designer and your money.
- Show the designer your desires clearly, do not be too lazy to find examples of the work you like. It’s much easier to explain what style a logo or an icon should be when you can just point your finger at the picture. Better to see once than hear 100 times.
- Talking about what you don’t like is possible and necessary. It’s best to explain what exactly does not suit you and why. For example, you can say: “Does not comply with TK”, “I do not like it because …”, “The idea is not disclosed”. Any criticism must be constructive.
- And do not forget to praise the designer.
The relationship between the client and the designer can be ambiguous, but in any case, the designer always needs to remain professional, be guided by his knowledge and experience, and not ignore the client’s ideas. And the client, in turn, be patient and try to express their demands and desires as clearly as possible.
This will help to implement projects as efficiently as possible and enjoy your work, and this is exactly what everyone strives for!