So, you’ve started the process of having a new website designed. Chances are that as part of the process, you’ve chatted with a designer about your vision for the site. Then you likely left it in their hands, which, to be honest, can be a bit scary as a client. Sometimes it’s tough to know whether your ideas were communicated effectively and it can be nerve-wracking to wait for a draft of the site to come through.
But there’s good news! When you do see a site mockup, you’ll likely have the chance to provide feedback. We love getting client feedback on sites to know whether we are moving in the right direction or if we need to make changes. But in order for this feedback to be effective, we encourage you, as the client, to keep these few tips in mind.
1. Be as specific as possible. As a designer, there’s nothing quite as confusing as hearing “I don’t like that.” Not because someone doesn’t like our work, but because we don’t know exactly what they don’t like and therefore don’t know what to change going forward. If there is something that you as a client are not a fan of, try and pinpoint why. Is it the colors? The location of the content? The layout? What exactly is it that isn’t as you had envisioned? The more specific you are with your feedback, the better we are able to make the necessary tweaks and able to match your vision moving forward.
2. Provide kind constructive criticism. No matter how much you may dislike something, a designer still spent time working on it and may feel differently than you. Try to keep this in mind when providing your feedback. Rather than saying, “That looks terrible and I hate it,” try saying something like, “I’m concerned my visitors won’t like this and was envisioning it more like…” This helps provide direction for the designer, as well as helps them understand where you are coming from.
3. At the same time, don’t be afraid to say what you think! We want you to love your site. As designers, we are used to people asking to change certain elements of a design and that request in itself won’t offend us. We would rather you express how you feel about something early on than you be unhappy with your site down the road. Just remember that the designer expects changes to be made at this point in the project and is prepared for those requests!
4. Try to avoid too many cooks in the kitchen. Like with anything, too many opinions can make it hard to ever come to a consensus on a design. When reviewing a site and providing feedback, try to only involve one or two other people tops. If the number exceeds that, it gets pretty difficult to find a solution everyone is happy with. If you have no choice but to involve a committee of sorts, make sure that everyone is aware of the overarching goals of the website and have a clear person who is in charge and makes final decisions from the group discussion.
5. Keep the goals of the website in mind. Sometimes it’s easy to dislike something simply because it goes against our personal preferences. In this case, it’s important to ask yourself if that’s why you dislike an element of the site, or if it’s because it doesn’t serve the intended purpose. At the end of the day, a website is made to serve a target audience, and it will benefit you in the long run to think as a member of that audience when reviewing the site.
So, in simple terms, just be honest and specific with your designer when it comes to creating your site! Working together and communicating preferences is part of the process and can definitely be done effectively from both sides.