The Importance of Communication: Making or Breaking the Designer/Client Relationship

the_importance_of_communicationA designer creates a few concepts and one is chosen. The designer completes the work, and as far as he’s concerned, the job is done and he sends an invoice. He’s asked the client time and time again, before the invoice was even sent, if there was anything else needed. Nothing. Weeks go by and the invoice still hasn’t been paid. Finally, the client comes back and says “The site isn’t finished! Can we meet sometime?” But then the designer replies, and nothing happens for another few weeks.

In an exact opposite case…

A designer works on a website. However, the designer does not make any attempts to communicate with the client on the progress of the website. A week or two goes by and the client e-mails the designer. “Hey, I haven’t heard back in a week or two. How is the progress?”. The designer replies” It’s not quite done yet, but it’ll be ready Friday”. “Well could I at least look at the progress?” The designer doesn’t reply until Friday, when he’s ready. Now Friday comes around. The client responds “This isn’t exactly what I had in mind.”

The client and designer must have good communication. A client needs to be up front about what they’re looking for. The client, if investing money in a website, should also take an interest in the site. This is ultimately his/her baby, after all. At the same time, the designer and/or developer has the responsibility of communicating. A designer or developer should have an understanding of what the client is looking for, and be in regular communication.

I set things up in a way, where at least on my part, there’s regular communication. In the design process, there is some initial communication. During the creative process, there might not be much but we’re coming up with concepts. Then I present the concepts to the client, and the client gives input, and I make the necessary changes until we finally have a finalized concept. Then in the development process, I give regular updates in the afternoon Monday through Friday.

Designers, developers, content writers, copywriters, etc are not the only part of the collaborative team. The client is an absolutely essential part of this team. When communication breaks down on either end, it can potentially take the relationship between the client and the designer/developer in the wrong direction.

When you make the down payment with New ExiStance Media, you are now part of a small team or partnership. So as a client, take interest in your project. Give input on a regular basis. We’ll do the same on our end. Good communication is a key ingredient to the successful completion of a project, and a continuing relationship between the designer, developer, and client.

What must the client communicate, exactly?
It’s possible the client may not truly know what to communicate. So, to help you out, here’s some ideas; some questions to think about the answers to.

What is the goal of your organization’s website? What do you want it to be able to do?

Who is your target audience? What type of demographic do you want to attract to your organization?

What kind of feel do you want on your website?

If you have any deadlines, let us know!

Also, we’re going to do some research on your business, and your particular industry, when you contact us. We will make a proposal with our analysis on what we feel will be best for your business and what we’d like to do for you. Expect us to be prepared on our end and ready to go ahead and get started.

And even if you don’t have any particular deadlines, we will be setting some.  I personally work better with deadlines. I want to get the website done by a certain time, and it helps me to stay organized. I will communicate deadlines to you, the client, as well. So if you have any content to send in, getting it in on time will help us get the website done on time. You may not  be in a hurry, but we’ve got other clients who are, and we’ve got bills to pay so we can continue to do the work that we do. So let’s communicate about and meet the deadlines.

In summary

Great communication can make the process of designing and developing a website much easier for the designer, developer, and the client. Communication can make or break the relationship. Make communication a priority, and you’ll have a successful project.