Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post entitled How to Give Great Design Feedback. I still think that post covered some gems: making sure that you don’t fire off your first impression, have adequate time to go through the site, write it all in one email and check all the links, but it the best thing that you can do to help your designer help you! That one thing is: explain why you want that change you’re asking for.
Why Do You Want That Change?
When you hire a designer or developer, you’re not hiring them to push the mouse around and use the keyboard in ways you don’t know about, right? You’ve hired them to solve a problem for you. So if you don’t like a colour choice, let your designer know why you don’t like that colour choice. For example, say you just hate the green that your designer picked for you. Your high school, which was not your favourite time of life, had weird mint green hallway tiles — not that I’m speaking from experience or anything … go Lords! — whatever it is.
You write your designer and say, “Love the design, but can we see what the site would look like with pink where all of the green bits are?” I know. You’re trying to be helpful and point the designer in the direction of a colour that you actually like. The problem is, the designer you hired probably picked the green for a reason. And chances are that reason is probably not one that you would consider, because you’re not a designer, right? Again, that’s why you hired one. Maybe the designer picked the green because you have a juice company. (I have juice on the mind. Vancouver just re-elected the juiceman as our mayor, but I digress.) Even though your new site is going to look way more unique than all the other juice companies out there, and you think the pink will help it stand out even more, your designer picked the green so that visitors to the site will have an immediate visual cue that they’ve arrived at a juice company’s website.
Notice how, in the example, there is no mention of what you actually like? That’s because the website isn’t being designed or developed for you. It’s being designed to help you make a living, to get you a return on the money you’ve invested in the designer and developer and to get your business more attention and customers.
It would be more helpful of the above fake client had written: “Hey! I don’t love the green. I feel like the site isn’t standing out enough amongst all of the other juice companies and I suspect the green is the issue. And also, I just don’t like green.” When the designer gets that feedback, they’re more likely to come back at you with a great change that makes the site more unique, such as fresh, amazing typography (in green). The site with the green positions you as a unique, hip, fresh juice company, that is clearly a juice company, instead of a company with pink on their website, and oh, got it, they sell juice! Get what I’m sayin’? It’s a bit of a dramatic example, but I think it illustrates my point.
Why Saying Why You Want That Change Helps Your Business
Great design, branding and web development mostly aren’t about what you like aesthetically, they’re about what will achieve your business goals. That probably sounds a bit weird and perhaps even a wee bit harsh, my bad. All I’m trying to say is that design, branding and web development are tools for your business, a business that is supposed to support you and your family, meaning that those tools should appeal to your ideal client base, which may, or may not, be you.
When I take on a new project, I send my clients questionnaires geared toward their project (branding, web design, web development or a combination of the three … whatever they’ve hired me for). These questionnaires help me drill down on what you really need and want to get out of your investment in working with me. Sometimes it’s brand clarity to create a more professional brand that gets you better clients whom you can charge what you’re worth. Other times it’s a website whose design helps you build a bigger email list and social media following. Whatever your goals are, your work with a designer and developer needs to be geared toward those goals. Telling your designer why you’d like a certain change, is the best thing you can do to help a quality designer get you a great return on your investment in them.
* Image by Miladus Edenensis used under Creative Commons.