COMMUNICATION is a key factor in the success of a web designer or developer. Communication in web design doesn’t just entail verbal communication, in fact, visual communication is extremely important too. A breakdown in communication can lead to unhappy clients, long hours spent redesigning something you thought was on track and websites with poor usability.
What are the three main areas of communication designers and developers need to focus on?
- Communicating your services to others
- Communicating with your clients
- Communicating with your website’s end users
Let’s focus on the first one: Communicating your services to others
If you’ve ever owned a business, you know clients do not come to you without knowing you exist, what you offer (products/services) and why you are the best option for them. In this field, you absolutely must have a web presence and develop a campaign to promote your website. Your website needs to communicate to potential clients all of the services you offer, demonstrate knowledge and experience in the technologies behind those services and key points and examples of why your business is the best option compared to your competitors.
Next, you need to focus on: Communicating with your clients
After a client has hired you to create a website for them, you need to sit down with the client and communicate effectively to make sure you understand exactly what the client is looking for. You need to ask the right questions and lay the framework for what can be expected during the design process. Communicating with the client about what is expected from them (i.e. custom artwork, blog post content, logos, etc.) and the timeframe within which they need to submit those items is crucial to the success of the project. You also need to communicate up front any deposits that need to be made, contracts signed and a projected completion date. Make sure to explain to the client that any delays with content submission on their part will result in an extension of the project deadline. Throughout the project you need to communicate with your client about where you are in the process and let them know if you have run into any problems that may affect the deadline. Keeping your client informed and making them feel like they are part of the process will lead to a more positive experience for them.
Lastly (but just as important) you need to focus on: Communicating with your website’s end users
Our business is to create websites for clients that will be attract users, not scare them away. Just as you’ve invested a lot of time, effort and money into getting an individual or company to hire you, your client has invested those same things into attracting clients, members, users, etc. of their own. Creating a site that will engage their users and make them want to return to the site should be a high priority. After talking to the client and understanding the purpose of the project, the target audience and the functionality needed, you need to focus on how to incorporate all of those things into a website that is easy to navigate, visually appealling and organizes content in a way that is easy to understand. Even small things, such as adding alt tags to images and creating navigation that doesn’t require scrolling will go a long way to ensure your site it accessible across multiple devices and to users of varying abilities. Always ask yourself, does this site communicate to me in 5 seconds or less What It Is For – What I Can Do Here – Where I Should Go Next. As designers and developers this becomes increasingly challenging the more experienced we are. Having outside users test your design and functionality is a great way to make sure you are communicating everything you need to on the website. As George Bernard Shaw once wrote: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Focusing on these three areas of Communication and using outside sources if necessary to make sure you’re on track, will lead to a better overall experience for both you and your client!
- Web design: Understanding purpose (marketing.yell.com)