Custom Web Design: Appropriate Client Input & Feedback

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inspiration - http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/05/06/how-to-get-sign-off-for-your-designs/ + http://boagworld.com/business-strategy/10-tips-for-ensuring-a-better-site-design/

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A custom website project can be a great experience from beginning to end if managed correctly. There are some design principles/guidelines in place here at REW, and when followed, will keep your project in order and on track.

With any custom project, the main objective is to create a website that is not only functional, but unique, professional, and attractive to your end users.

You Give Us the Pieces, We Put the Puzzle Together

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Call to action definition:
A visually dominant element (usually a graphic and/or text link) that strongly suggests an immediate course of action.

Common examples of this on the web are:

» buy now buttons, or try it for free graphics
» learn more or click here text links.

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Visual Hierarchy definition: (or Informational Hierarchy): The sequence in which users will view certain elements (features, functionality etc), in order by most important to least important.

A Visual hierarchy is often created by carefully arranging information and graphics in a particular manner via use of size, position, color, contrast, and motion.

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As the client, it’s your job to provide your web designer with the important information about your industry, location, and demographic. It’s the designer’s job to take this information into consideration and use it to create both a visual hierarchy, and a primary call to action. A visual hierarchy is used to funnel (often clueless) website users down one or more predetermined paths.

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Without a clear visual hierarchy you risk leaving your visitors to their own devices – they might leave your website, or they might visit pages that may be useless to them, completely missing the content that they need. You may be asked to rank the items/features/elements on your webpage by order of importance.

Typically it’s not the client’s job to make design decisions. A lot of our custom clients get caught up in what is most appealing to them - to their aesthetic sensibilities. While these are important, there is often a trap; clients often go through so many revisions (and keep suggesting new things to include) resulting in a long delay on the launch and/or a larger final bill. Our best custom sites were developed without too much input from the client, and even though they might have some dissatisfaction with certain elements, they accept that the end product only needs to please the public eye.

Questions we might ask you…

  • What are some existing websites that you like and why do you like them?
  • Do you like the functionality? The colors? The font choices?
  • Who are your competitors and do they have websites? If so what are their URLs?
  • How old are your customers? Are they technically saavy?
  • Do you require any special features? What is the primary call to action?
  • Do you have any photos/imagery that you want to use?

Play to Your Audience

Think about what your end user will appreciate. Provide your designer with content and imagery that will appeal to your demographic. FLUSH OUT MORE.

Appropriate Feedback

Client feedback is essential, often clients will be asked to sign off on certain phases of a project before the design can proceed to the next stage of development.

Here’s a common scenario… You received your first design mockup and a million things come to mind. Remember, functionality first, aesthetics second. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Did your designer overlook any important features or functionality?
  • Did you forget to tell us about some important features or functionality?
  • Is there anything you don’t like? If so, is it personal to you or would your end users have an issue with it as well?