Imagine this -- You’re in the final stretch of launching your client’s website (this could be any type of design project really, but we’ll use a website in our example). You’ve finalized the design, coded everything, and squashed all the bugs only to hear back from the client, “It looks great, but it needs some tweaking…” This “tweaking” ends up consisting of basically redesigning the entire website over a period of time that ends up taking twice as long as expected. The sad thing is, this happens all too often in our industry. At Bluleadz, we have learned of 3 basic ways to prevent these types of situations as well as lowering the overall number of client design revisions in general over the years.
1. Include the Client as Soon as Possible.
The absolute best way to reduce the number of revisions on any design project is to include the client at the very beginning of the process. This may sound counter-intuitive, but the sooner you can get a feel for the client’s wants and needs, the sooner you will get a finished product out the door. At Bluleadz, we include the client even in the very first design phase: wireframing. This comes with some hurdles, but as long as you communicate to the client what a wireframe is and the purpose of the wireframe, the client will be able to get a visual and start providing feedback from the get-go.
Getting more feedback in the beginning phase will prevent more revisions in the next phase. The bottom line – The sooner you get feedback, the less work you’ll have to do on the finished product. It is MUCH easier to make big changes in the early phases compared to the ending phases.
2. Get feedback from the Entire Company
If you are working with a larger company, “the client” could mean a multitude of people. You could be working with a single person as your point of contact, for instance a marketing manager, but that single person is not the only opinion you should consider. In these types of situations, you’ll want to make sure the “marketing manager” shows the wireframes and designs to all of the various higher ups in the company to get feedback and approval from the very beginning.
It doesn’t really matter if the “marketing manager” likes the wireframe, design, and final product when the other key decision makers in the company see the final product and disapprove. You’ll have to start back at the beginning, wasting valuable time and resources. This is why it’s extremely important to be sure all the various people in the company (especially the higher ups) have reviewed each phase of the project and given their feedback and approval early on in the process.
3. Communicate and Explain the Reasoning behind Design Choices
At some point, inevitably, you’ll get to a place where the client wants to change something in the design that you, the professional, completely disagree with -- e.g. “make the logo bigger”, “make it pop”, or “use [insert font name here] font instead”. This is one of the main reasons why designers don’t like to include clients early on in the design process. Disagreements and confrontations will happen, but this is an opportunity to justify the design choice and provide evidence why it is better than the alternatives.
Many designers (and most people in general) try to avoid confrontation altogether and will cave to their client’s wants, even if they know that it’s a not good design choice. You, being the professional, should be able to provide a convincing argument on why your design choice makes the most sense and provides the best user experience over the alternatives. More often than not, the client will agree with you and you won’t have to make something that you are not proud of. If you have trouble with doing this, just remind yourself: if they knew everything you knew, they wouldn’t have hired you. That being said, you shouldn’t immediately discredit all feedback from the client because your design is “perfect”. After all, they know their customer base better and may bring up valid points for you to consider in the design.
That’s it. By including the client as early as possible (making sure “the client” includes all possible decision makers in the company) and communicating the reasoning behind your design you will lessen the amount of work and yield a better final product that is launched on time.