You have read the brief, sent the questionnaire, had the meetings, highlighted the goals, defined a content strategy, outlined the user experience, built the wireframes and sketched out the designs for your clients brand new website... now all you need to do is present the designs to the client.
The Design Presentation
We all know the situation, its time to present your latest and greatest designs to the client, you have worked many long hours trying to achieve something amazing for your client and now its your chance to unveil your creativity.
However, you stand there whilst they tell you such helpful things as "move this line here", "change this colour", "I don't like the font”, “I don’t like the shirt the guy in that photo is wearing”, why cant I see it all above the fold, and a whole host of personal tastes regarding what they like and don’t like!
You leave the presentation frustrated and feeling deflated, thinking "what do they know! I'm the designer!”
What Went Wrong?
But step back for a minute, take a breath and think about what you actually asked the client? Did you ask them for specific feedback on a specific attribute of the website? Or did you just sit back and ask "what do you think?”. If a client isn't properly educated on the design process, the whys and wherefores, when presented with a design the will focus on the first things they see, rather than being lead around the design by you, the presenter.
Look at it from the clients perspective, they are being asked to feedback, which in itself is a little generalised, so naturally they will say what they see.
The most important thing is to PRESENT the designs and not just show the designs.
In order to get the best out of the design presentation you need to be more specific with what you want the client to feedback on, you need also to have good reason for why you designed the website in that particular way and have evidence to back it up, this will help avoid the frustration of being told how to design.
The most important thing is to PRESENT the designs and not just show the designs. Lead the client around the designs asking them for feedback on specific items. Phrase the questions in a way that will get the feedback that will be most helpful, for instance instead of asking what they think to the homepage banner slider, ask them if they feel the slider has the right amount of impact and is successful in delivering the key messages.
The client is the expert in their business, they know their audience, their job is to supply the goals, user information and content. The designer is the expert at design, they know from experience and knowledge what works and why. It is the job of the designer to design, to take the business goals, USPs, user goals and content and create a design that works for the user and the business.
The client is the expert in their business, they know their audience, their job is to supply the goals, user information and content.
The relationship with the client should be a joint effort of creating something that is visually engaging and reaches the target audience and meets the business objective. It is an important collaborative effort, not an us vs them scenario.
The way to make a successful website is to work as a team, to trust each others expertise and and use their respective skills and experience to work towards an agreed goal. After all we all want to enjoy the experience of creating.