As a website designer I listen to my clients tell me what they want and I ask lots of questions. It’s the art of understanding what they really, truly want their new improved website to do through listening skills.
What they do not say is just as important as what they do say. I take notes, ask for clarification and then see if I can find out exactly what they envision.
What happens sometimes is that customers get scared because they were told a website would cost them $5,000 and they don’t have it. So, when I see them it’s amazing how they want to tell me how “simple” they want the site to be – but that is not really the case at all. I usually find out they want to add video blog posts, email address capture areas, landing pages for promotions, etc. I just simply write all this down and they see it live on paper – always an “eye opener” when it is there taking up space on paper.
I am keen to use my listening skills in order to find these answers right from the start and let them know that it is so much better if they tell me all the information right from the start. Building a website using WordPress themes makes it very important to understand how much media you are going to involve. Sidebars and widgets and other areas that might be foreign to you are important for me to know.
The worst scenario is when you really have a large site in mind and you don’t convey that information. It’s best to have a good, strong theme that can handle all your needs right from the start. It’s ok to start slowly with a few pages, learn the WordPress backend and then add more things later – but it is very important to be true to your web person and map it out with purpose.
Keep in mind we (as web designers) are not looking at your project in order to make it more complicated and charge you more money – it has to do with starting off correctly. A good web designer uses the listening skills, takes into account the budget and can make anything happen.
You must feel comfortable they understand your vision. Not everyone that steps into my office works with me. Sometimes things are not a good fit and that’s ok. I understand that and hope you do as well. Be upfront and discuss your thoughts with your web designer. Meet with a few people. Maybe use someone for a particular talent and another person for something else. You are in control of your project! Make sure you pick a web designer that has acquired some listening skills along the way and gives you what you want.
I wrote this post in particular because I thought I was listening to my customer and it was pointed out by another person in their office the reason behind making a certain page on the website very different from the others. A different type of client is interested in that one page. It made me stop and think. How did I miss that? I was on target to finish the site and thought all was in order. When a client says, “wait a minute – over here is not quite right” I really had to slow down and listen.
Once I figured out how to make it work for my client, all was good. Perhaps it was finally looking at the pages in preview mode and realizing that the standard widget areas did not make sense on one particular page. We made a custom area for that one page. I will be sharpening my listening skills for sure!