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Web Design Methodologies

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by Squiddy, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I've known for a while now that there is an inherent notion of ad hoc design processes. This is a relatively young industry and as such there are few standardised processes, specific to web design, to guide a project from start to finish. I have been watching a number of presentations on the relationship between web developer/designer and the client and most, if not all, seem to bring up the same points over and over again.

    The points usually being that in fact, the clients aren't stupid, there are trust issues, there is a negative attitude between designers and clients (in terms of changes/alterations to work) and often there is an element of expected professional status from the designer without giving the client much of a reason to assign such a status to the developer/designer.

    It is suggested that in fact many of these issues are a result of how the relationship is first initiated, the impressions, boundaries and processes that the client is presented with dramatically affects the project in the ways mentioned above. Furthermore there appears to be a common issue of communication failure between the two (due to a poor or lack of methodology)

    So to this effect I am now researching different methodologies of web design; the process you take your client through in order to develop an effective, professional website that both parties are proud of.

    I have given up on clients before and simply told myself that I don't care, that they can make whatever changes they want because I'm sick of having to explain to them why they can't have a bright green box in the middle of the website, I've thought of clients as stupid and moronic and I've been negative and said no to most of their (ludicrous) suggestions. I had a sneaking suspicion that I could be going about things in a better way and my research has confirmed that these issues are in fact my own fault.

    So, what processes do you have in place to establish trust with the client and to show them how the whole process is going to play out and arrive at giving them the website they need. Do you still have any of the problems mentioned above?

    Let's have a discussion.
  2. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Different field but my biggest gripe with clients is when they don't say they don't like something until you're nearly finished.... meaning you basicially need to do it all again.

    I've actually got to the stage where I say to my clients right from the start that I would rather they say they don't like something than keep quiet until near the end, it wastes both time and money. My clients seem to like that aspect as it saves them money in the end. :)

    In regards to bad designs... well at the end of the day the client is paying for us to do the job, we can only advise them in the right direction and if they want to go the wrong way then that's there choice. We just have to say quite clearly that we would advise you to go a different route but if you wish to go this route then it may well end up costing you more money when you realise you need to change it later down the line - politely of course.
  3. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    There must be a reason why they only bring it up at the end though, perhaps they didn't fully understand the process and how much work it would require you to do in order to make that 'little' change at the end. Did you ever find out or draw any conclusions?

    As for clients dictating the design, many sources seem to sate that a lot of the time it is because they feel that either you are incompetent in some way (especially true in clients with big egos) or you simply don't get what it is that they want (especially true in clients who lack the ability to articulate their ideas properly). By trying to eliminate these issues through better communication (through justification of your decisions or by getting the right feedback from clients) there will be less issues like this - that's what I've been told and keep reading about at least.

    What do you think?
  4. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    usually it's a case of they just didn't want to bring it up, you know how brits are when it comes to complaining lol, sometimes it's an 'external' second opinion and sometimes it is a genuine change to the design say for technical reasons (remember mines more cad than web)

    Not sure with mine as my basic process is, bearing in mind my work is slightly different to web design in that it can be predefined by client files:
    get brief + any info about the product, ie materials, location etc what style of presentation they like that sort of thing. (skipped usual pricing etc)
    get any files if applicable (their cad files for example)
    do my textures, set up scene(s)
    do sample render(s) to send to client for review/feedback
    they say what they like dislike etc
    I adjust then either send another sample render or go onto the final renders.

    [edit] blimey that really makes it sound like my work is easy lol [/edit]

    Sometimes a client has a set idea of what they want, which isn't always possible with current technology/programs etc and sometimes they leave it open and leave me to make it look 'pretty'.

    Also the thing is a client might have an idea that looks great in their head but when the real design is put into that idea it just doesn't work. It could be down to proportions, it could be down to a bad idea but sometimes you just can't see it till it's down on paper (or on the screen). We've all had these great ideas in our heads that when you get round to making it real it doesn't come anywhere near as good as it looked in your head :up:

    And don't forget some people don't like it when they're not in 'control' even though their control is going in the wrong direction.

    Then you have the 'worry about everything clients' .... they're just hard work lol
  5. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    You have made some very good points, and yes I forgot to take your job title into account, whoops. I think it's more general advice for the majority, as you're always going to get the <insert negative trait> clients that are just too... difficult... to work with.

    I don't know why, but I hadn't really thought of clients wanting to hire a designer/developer to create something they want to build instead of solely hiring a designer/developer to design and build a site for them. I know it's more of a CAD situation but I think it applies here too. I think I just assumed that people already understood that you need education and experience in order to design a website. I mean, you wouldn't phone up a plumber and ask them to bring round their tools so that you can tell them how to fix your broken toilet.
  6. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Well think of it like this, you get the inventor, they come up with a great idea but it looks like a load of junk put together (it really is in some cases). They have no idea how to make the item look pretty while keeping it doing what they want it to do... thats where I come in, I make it look pretty and still work. I am a fully qualified product designer after all, I just decided to specialise in rendering etc :)

    Then there's the companies that build to order, they have the cad file to manufacture the idea but want 'promotional' images of what it can look like in situ. I take their cad files, work a little bit of magic and then they have better images to show to potential clients.

    Same with architects, theres plenty out there that still work with elevations and plans when their client really wants to see a 3d view of the house or a walk through. They don't have the time/knowledge to deal with the 3d view/walk through and send it off to someone like me to produce for them.

    You'd be surprised about that out our way... seriously I've had to tell some tradespeople how to do their job properly because they don't read the manual that came with the item to be fitted...

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