Web Design: Do it for your clients niche, not your dreams
When you are initially brought in to consult a potential client for a website project whether it’s a new site or a refresh of an older site, knowing the niche and designing for it will give the client the best results. While this sounds like a fairly straight-forward statement, the reality is many designers get too influenced by the marketing department’s desires or the owner of the site’s bizarre requests and the end result may meet their needs, not what their website visitors really need to see.
As a website designer and developer, you were brought into the job because of your skill set and portfolio but often times everyone seems to think they know what’s best for their site, after all it’s their business right? Before the meeting even happens, get familiar with industry or niche your potential client is in, look at their competition and see what their sites look like, get a feel for how they operate and what information may or may not be needed. If there is already an existing site that you’re being asked to refresh or update, spend time navigating through the entire site, print screenshots and make notes before the meeting. Doing your homework and research prior the initial meeting can help reduce confusion about what you’re being asked to accomplish and more importantly, what the viewers of the site will want to see.
Stand your ground, don’t be afraid to steer your client away from their ideas for your site, but don’t offend them. This can be a touchy moment in the meeting where your potential client can feel as if you are talking down to them or their ideas, you need to reiterate with them that your knowledge and experience leads you to believe that there could be another, similar solution that will in turn benefit the website viewer better.
Having knowledge of the niche and industry for the site your building will allow you to design one that can meet both the needs of your client and their client, the website visitor. If the target demographic is 50+ years of age, a dynamic blog that’s riddled with social media bookmark and networking icons will probably do nothing but confuse them, however if your client is an extreme sports apparel company loud colors, flash and other eye-catching technologies should be implemented to keep the attention of the much younger demographic.
Never meet with a client who wants a new website with a predetermined idea of what you are going to do for them. While it’s important to have your ideas and suggestions, you also need to incorporate what the client wants. This may sound contrary to standing your ground, but it’s a delicate dance that you and your client must do together, the end result will be far superior if both parties work together, instead of against each other.