When you are designing websites you sometimes get a client who approaches you because they liked a particular website you designed, or because they were recommended or something similar. Quite often this means you never actually get to meet them face to face and this can sometimes create problems.
Your initial client meeting isn’t done face to face, and you really can’t read body language over the internet. Even though you can have online meetings using voice and things like that, the meeting in the physical where you get those little nuances is missing.
There are several things you need to establish and do with a remote client, which are slightly different to a client who is on hand and with whom you can meet.
The key to a remote client is regular and clear communication. This will establish a trust factor between you.
One of the ways you can do this is with one of the online programs where you can show the steps of the design as they happen to the client. This both keep them in the loop and make them feel part of the whole process and at the same time allows them to use this as a means of contributing to the design in a meaningful way.
Not only are you keeping them in the loop, they then get the chance to agree and sign off sections of the design as you go along. This means you have a clear regular agreement to what you are doing and there can be no disputes later in the design.
You will need to agree on the original brief of what the client actually wants and requires from you, together with what you need from the client. This can include things like copies of the logo, the brand, the color of the needed design and what kind of website they want. This means you might need a corporate website, or an ecommerce website or just a private blogging website. Once this is agreed on you can both sign it, and you have the ground rules established.
You then need to establish what kind of pages the client wants. This can be anything from a normal little 6 or 7 page website to a full brochure website with every product listed and priced. You will need to inform the client what information you require from them such as all their company details down to high definition photos to illustrate the brochure. Having this information in text as well as recorded voice is very helpful to both of you. It means you have a record of the events and always have something to reference.
Your basic content of the website needs to be established, and most of this information needs to come from the client. By having it in a text form the client has an aid to his or her memory. It’s a good idea to make these items numbered points, so they can tick them off as they supply them. You can then accept the items and acknowledge receipt of each one in turn. All misunderstandings can thus be avoided.
Create several wireframe variations to establish which they prefer as this will be a way of incorporating them in the actual design process. People like to feel they are having a say in the overall design. This can be especially important if they already have a fixed idea in their minds. Get them to sign the requested one and do a basic mockup on this wireframe. Once this is agreed to you are almost home dry. Now is your creative time to bring the logo brand and all the necessary data into the design. At this point, you can maybe arrange a once a week on line meeting for them to view progress. Although this might seem a waste of time to you, it really isn’t. You are covering your butt and keeping the client happy and involved at the same time.