Website Review: Do's and Don'ts
Website design itself is a pleasurable process for designers who chose this field by heart, but it may become a nightmare for both designer and client when it comes to the review phase.. I have gathered some tips to ease and streamline this process. These tips will help designers to minimise hours of work and stress. And for those who build a website with a professional designer will find this information useful as well.
I have built 400+ websites so lets just say these tips come from lots of experience.
Let’s look into the backstage of website design
Our ultimate goal is to tailor an aesthetically pleasing and efficient website for our clients business. We always start with the visual strategy of a brand, we develop a style guide where we set and agree on the basic visuals: typography, icons, colours, imagery etc. Only once the style guide and strategy is approved by the client will we begin to work on building out the site.
Then the magic work starts.
If the client has a clear vision of the future website design and structure, it’s worth a discussion prior to start. Though it is not a necessity, as most of our projects are successfully completed purely based on our expertise and taste.
First step is the design of the landing/home page of the future website. We create it based on the approved style guide. Once it is ready we present it to our client over a screen shared session. We want to explain every design decision and the flow of the page and we can answer all questions as we go. The client can request some amendments but it is important to understand that the page we show is the result of days of trial and errors, experimentations with content architecture, fonts, colours, etc. The elements don’t fall on the page magically. Every single design decision has a reason behind it. We don’t make random adjustments just to suit our clients.
The home page is the most important page, it is the very page where all styles are set. We spend more time designing a landing page to make sure we and our client are happy with all the elements and layout.
Before moving forward with the designing all other pages we get approval of all the elements on the home page:
font sizing and colours for headings/subheadings and body text on all breakpoints
size of negative space/margins
CTA and additional buttons design
Please note that comments and revision requests from the client must be clearly stated. Comments like: "Make it more exciting", "Add some pizzas" or "I don't know what I don't like" are not helpful. We can only guess what those comments mean. If a project is managed by a team, we ask the team to work out a collective response with proposed changes. We don’t accept fragmented comments from different representatives that contradict each other. This will help streamline the communication process.
“How many rounds of website design reviews are included?”
It is one of the most frequent questions we receive. It is usually up to the designer as to how many reviews they will include in their contract. We value our time and know what we’re doing. Having said that, it usually takes one or two rounds of reviews to reach an agreement.
If you work with a web designer to build your Wix site we have gathered some tips for a better understanding of the process. Hope these tips will create clearer communication with your web designer.
Not all required changes are the same.
Some changes may seem like simple fixes, but sometimes take hours of work to implement. You need to know Wix platform well in order to understand the level of difficulty of any request.
Remember that all the changes require time.
Always triple check if its worth delaying the launch of your business.
Let’s not "play" with fonts or colours
Every designer would roll their eyes hearing this. Hours spent playing with everything you see on the page. Fonts and colours are chosen prior to website building. It is part of the brand style guide. We play with each element, compositions, sizes and colours before we are satisfied with the result and ready to show it. That's what you pay for, the best possible design.
And by the way, there is no BEST design
Design is subjective you simply need to make a choice.
Some changes may hurt
We may sacrifice some of the “want this” for good SEO, speed or usability.
Don’t create obstacles
You will need to update info on your website on a regular basis. This is an important dynamic to keep in mind when building sites. Don't sacrifice the integrity of the concept and the ease od admin or content management, for a random design idea that you think you like. Try to see the forest through the trees.
Avoid changes that are not related to your core business.
Subjective perception...It is very important to put your own tastes to the side and focus on your audience. After all, this website is for them and not for you.
A Designer is not an engineer
When you hire a designer you are not hiring a robot. Designers are creative creatures and they need the freedom to create, which is why you hired them in the first place. If you know exactly what you want design wise perhaps you need an engineer, not a designer :) Don’t get me wrong, clients can share their ideas and many times it can be quite helpful. but the moment when a client starts dictating, the designer will interest in the project and simply phone it in. Trust your designer.
What if we missed something?
Don't worry you did.... but don’t stress over it and take it easy. The sooner you launch the sooner you'll find out. Your website is a living organism and you will need to adapt and modify it consistently. There is no final state in the design process.
Open communication between designer and client is a must.. it's better to understand what your client wants beforehand than wasting time later.! Provide the client a list of specific questions which can give you a deep understanding of what they expect you to output, their personal preferences and taste. This creative brief should be a mutually agreed upon document . Such an approach will minimize major design changes and wasted time for both client and designer.