It is really difficult to start any project without having all the relevant information first – could you imagine trying to plan a wedding if you didn’t know who was getting married, where the couple was getting married or when the ceremony was booked for? The same goes for web design – it is important to know what’s needed, what the client wants, and who the target audience is before any work commences.
When speaking to clients about web design work, you should ask the following questions to ensure that you’re getting all the information that you need:
- Why do you want a website or a website redesign?
Some clients may have completely unrealistic goals (such as a website that will magically fix a failing business) whereas others will just be following the crowd (the ‘everyone else has one’ mentality). Once you know your client‘s motivation, you can better advise them as to what direction their web design should take.
- What is your business/organisation all about?
It’s important to know what a business actually does and what their philosophy is before starting work on a web design. As well as this, you should ask them what they want their customers or clients to think of them and what their long-term goals are – this can actually tell you a lot about an organisation.
- Who are your prospective customers?
Remember that a web design that is aimed at 30-something professionals will not be the same as one that targets teenage university students or retirees. You need to know who you’re trying to appeal to.
- What is your budget?
There are two reasons for asking this question – the first being that you know how much a client has set aside for web design work (some people have no idea how much design work actually costs) and the second being that you will find out whether the client is willing to talk honestly about the money situation.
- When does the website need to be finished?
Unfortunately, most clients aren’t very realistic when it comes to how long it actually takes to complete a website. Once you have been given an idea of when the client would like to launch, you can start preparing them to be delighted (or disappointed) with the reality of the timeline.
There are, of course, a number of other questions that you should be asking clients before commencing any web design work (such as, who will be responsible for updating the website and what do they not want on the site) – by using some common sense and discretion when it comes to your questions, however, you are sure to get the answers (and the information) that you need to start designing.