How to Successfully Involve Decision Makers in the Website Design Process

Save Time and Deliver Better Web Design for Happier Clients

Working together with clients in all industries to create successful website design solutions for the last two decades has I’ve seen just about everything when it comes to creative meetings and revision requests throughout the creative process. When sitting down with a client to discuss their new website I’ve learned to approach the project a certain way from the start to avoid getting trapped in an endless feedback loop — and that’s assuming you’re just dealing with one decision maker.

Start With a Plan

Before you introduce your client to the project workflow be sure you are ready to address their questions and have the information and data you need to steer them back on track should they start wandering off course. Do you have a thorough understanding of their website goals? Do you have their brand kit and messaging? Do you have access to their Google Analytics data and various reports to back up your approach to solving their problems?

3 Easy Ways to Collaborate With Design Clients

Let’s look at the three main ways I run web design projects to engage my clients and encourage them to take ownership in the creative design process. Once you’ve mastered these approaches you can tailor them to make them your own and run more efficient and rewarding projects leading to happier clients.

The “20-second” Test for Visual Tolerance

This exercise is quick and relatively easy to run with one or more clients to quickly assess concept design and how it’s perceived without having to go too far down the rabbit hole.

Mood Boarding

This exercise is more involved than the 20-second test and in my experience can sometimes get some pushback from clients that are not willing to put in the work to help drive the project. Don’t be afraid to remind your client that the more effort they put into discussing the project and exploring ideas during the early stages of the project will help you make more informed design decisions that will ultimately engage people on a deeper level and drive more conversions or sales for the client’s business.

Concept or IA Sketching Session

If you’re working with a client that is really eager and willing to take a more “hands-on” approach to help make the new website a successful investment for their business schedule a concept discovery or information architecture sketching session. In this session give everyone a few pieces of blank paper and a pen or pencil. Open the conversation by reviewing the goals you have worked with them to establish for the project so they are top of mind as they stare at the blank paper in front of them. Then, instruct the client to sketch out a wireframe or information architecture that they think will help meet the website goals and achieve success. Remind them these are to be rough sketches and allow three to five minutes to explore an idea.

Putting It All Together

I have used these methods successfully for many years to drive creative projects and get the most information I can out of clients so that I can offer the most educated information-based design work. These methods don’t work for everyone, but with a little practice, you can use these are a starting point or foundation to create your own workflow to encourage client engagement and ownership in the project. With a little experience, you may also find you will be able to take these concepts and adapt on the fly as you read the room. The trick is to try to identify which clients are willing to put in the work during the proposal stage so that you can make the most of your time and energy. No one wants to pour their heart and soul into a project that the owner cares less about than you do. Once you start making decisions based on this principle I promise you’ll have more fun creating and running design projects and your clients will respond in favour.

About Parachute Design

Since 2003, our Toronto web design company has built a reputation as an industry leader in the Toronto web design industry working with some of the world’s most exciting brands. To learn more about how we can help your business better utilize its website and digital marketing, please contact us at 416–901–8633 or complete our web design proposal planner for a free estimate.

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Parachute Design

Parachute Design Group Inc. is a boutique Toronto web design agency specializing in beautiful hand-made website design, custom logo design and branding.