I know web designers who design websites that their clients “love” and even websites that “work” for their client’s customers.
But there’s a problem. Too often I hear what a grueling experience it was, for both from the designer and the client! Usually it’s not because of the end product – but the total customer journey. Certain things, like customer experience, should be involved in web design education.
Now that’s the whole package the best web designers deliver.
So I will share four key basics I ask myself when designing a web presence so I can provide a memorable customer experience for my clients (which translates into a better experience for their website visitors, because a positive experience can significantly affect the outcome).
1. Is my web design client on the same page with me right from the get go?
I hear designers tell me: “These clients have no clue what they want or need, and there is no reality between what the clients want and what their budget is!”
As a designer, you should find out what the intended results are for the website as soon as you can and secure a budget. One way to understand this is to have your client describe how he wants his customer to feel, act, and engage when he visits the site.
Example: A client may say “I want my web visitor to feel welcome, that he has arrived at the right place, quickly discover information and a solution my product offers, leave a positive comment, or buy my product.”
When you define the real journey for the website visitor you can greatly assist in defining the budget for your client. This may enable the designer to meet the client’s budget criteria, or encourage the client to stretch their budget dollars so they can focus on having the best possible web experience for their customers.
2. Does my client really understand their customers’ needs and wants?
(Caution: this may be the backstory when they say “I don’t have a budget for research…..”)
Take heart, you can still turn this into a positive experience, which is an important part of the getting on ‘the same page’ with your client.
The Q & A related to understanding the customer, or ‘profiling’ them with your client can be elaborated in my post 5 KEY Questions to Profile Your Customer, which I have used successfully for many years.
Example: In profiling the customers for a real estate agent, we discovered they were not just selling expensive homes. They were really offering access to a luxury lifestyle and the entire website customer experience was redesigned to reflect that. Pretty quickly, high-end home sales zoomed up!
You can’t automate the design process – click the link to read a really fab story about how a bikini designer flew out to meet with her web designer so they could truly agree and understand what the website should convey. It is a personalized process.
3. Is my design team transparent?
That is, does the client understand who the players are (if there are specialists such as SEO copywriters in addition to the designer) in the development and implementation process?
Not understanding “who does what” right from the start may lead to bad feelings, especially when a team member not originally disclosed delays the project or bumps the budget into the red-zone.
- ”My programmer took off for vacation because he was not in on our initial sensitive timeline discussions….”
- “But I thought you did both the graphic design and the coding…..”
- “What do you mean, you don’t know SEO?”
Always include a clearly stated list of project team contributors when creating the initial scope of work and site architecture. If anything changes – and it will – be sure to advise the client of the change.
4. How many of my web design projects have budget disagreements at their conclusion?
This is the issue I hear about the most.
Example: ” But if I’m clear about the real costs, I might lose my client before we even get started! ” That’s a recipe for problems and unhappiness on both sides as the project reaches a conclusion.
The bottom line: Make sure the client understands the costs up front. Allow no assumptions about cost (on either side) in the initial budgeting phase, and make changes in budgets clear immediately when they occur.
Rookie or seasoned designers – it’s a good move to revisit the basics and evaluate your customer experience delivery. The best web designers don’t have to wonder:
- Will they come back? Do we resolve issues smoothly and turn them into a positive experiences?
- Will they recommend our web design services? Even if the end product was OK or even very good, but the web design customer journey with our services was subpar? (Most often the answer is a clear “NO.”)
But if you can predict where things might go off the tracks, prepare for them and design an ideal customer experience, then you really can create a memorable experience for your clients and yourself. This will spur word of mouth referrals and recurring customers.