A critical skill for any web design expert is to listen and respond to feedback, but sometimes, clients take criticism to new heights. Certain themes need to recur, arising out of the difference of opinion regarding plans and projects. Work as a designer for a long time, and you’ll have your share of clichés to share with the rest of the website design community. Collaboration is the key to effective website design, but when the designer and his/her client have vastly different ideas about what constitutes an effective, appealing and functional website, disagreement is bound to raise its head.
It does not help either side if you are beset with these clichés during the website design:
#1 Can the Logo Be Bigger?
A bigger logo is one of the biggest topics on which clients disagree with their website designers. Clients always want bigger logos, no matter what the context or the goal of the project. This is not well-received and the reason for this is apparent. Clients want the brand to be bold and dramatic, but for this a subtle logo could work equally well.
Unfortunately, for many clients, trouble occurs when the logo is mistaken for the brand. Logos are semi-random shapes and text that communicate the company’s brand message with soul and personality that forges a meaningful connection with audiences. Brands need to resonate clearly through each piece of work and messaging the company creates. The brand should be the marketing messages audiences cannot miss out on. But it is up to the designer to understand the brand and communicate the client’s vision.
#2 Make It Pop!!!
This is one of the common clichés web design professionals often come across. Clients will say they want to keep it really minimal, but include certain elements of the website as a necessary condition! This is a contradiction in terms that a lot of clients end up emphasising. Good design, much like powerful photography or compelling articles, benefits from edits. If too many things are said, the key message is lost.
White space, areas of design that do not feature active content, is space wasted, according to clients. After all, they are paying for website space and want every inch of the prime online real estate to be utilised. But designers know that empty space, too, serves to promote and frame the message that you want to put forward. It is essential to focus your attention on what matters. Consider why micro-blogging sites like Twitter are popular. Often, less is more. Keeping messages sweet and short reinforces key ideas with audiences. One of the biggest lessons design can take from marketing is that brevity goes the distance. Distilling the message to its essence is essential.
#3 Show Me All The Options, and I’ll Know What It Needs
Often clients will say, ‘I don’t know what is needed further, but I’ll know it, if I see it’. This is the kind of ambiguity you don’t want to encounter in a client. Clients have a lot of positive traits. But if visual thinking is not one of them, as a designer, receiving vague feedback can be the most exasperating thing. For a designer, it sounds something like this – ‘show me all your options, and then, I’ll pick something out from it’! Opening the gates to numerous possible or potential solutions can also open the door to tons of pointless revisions. Iterations or variations on a theme are a crucial part of the web design process. But if there’s a lack of clarity regarding the process, there can be a real problem. For creating a novel and exceptional brand, get clients to envision what it feels like by giving them visual examples.
#4 Just Have Fun!
This is a piece of common feedback and an undeniable client cliché levelled at unsuspecting web designers. Consider how Picasso would feel if he was given a bucket list to tick off for his latest masterpiece and you’ll know why designers cringe at this. While design culture definitely incorporates an element of fun, some amount of effort is necessary to make images and content online look thoughtful, compelling and sharp.
#5 Make it Eye-Catching
This must be one of the most overused lines in design history. Emphasising a given element at the cost of others is just not acceptable. How clients want eye-catching design to be executed, via stock photos, crazy colours or bursts is also questionable. Deciding how this goal should be accomplished is left to the web designer.
#6 Let Creative Juices Flow
The use of vague terms like creative juices is another deterrent for enterprising designers, who don’t appreciate empty truisms like this. It does not sound creative either. In fact, it is one of the most empty and non-executable things to say to a designer.
#7 Feel Free to Be Just Creative
Clients who tell designers to be creative are simply giving the most non-productive feedback. Seriously, do you tell a human being to breathe also? Or a pilot to just fly a plane? Your Pathwwway ltd. designer should never have to need your permission to be creative. It is something that comes naturally to them. Saying they should be creative are not exactly pearls of wisdom and no designer appreciates this.
#8 Take The Site To The Next Level
Feedback like this is one of the most worthless clichés you can level on your designer. Too many designers often feel emotionally attached to their work and see any move toward criticism as a personal attack. As a result, clients are forced to couch the dislike of a concept or a site prototype by asking designers to take it to the next level. But using such empty phrases tells the designer nothing much. Instead, try telling the designer whether the site design is working out for you or not. Clients would do well to give honest, professional and open feedback that hits the nail on its head.
#9 This Project Will Be Your Launching Pad
Web designers don’t want to take on projects at low or cheap rates, even if clients try the cliché that the web design project will offer them great exposure or a wonderful addition to their portfolio. Some projects are worth it for the exposure they provide. But these also come with big budgets!
#10 This Project Will Lead to Paid Assignments
Try this meaningless and trite cliché in any field and you’ll be greeted with cringes and grimaces. That’s like asking Apple for a free iPad so that you can then actually buy their iPhone. No store (or designer) would buy a pitch like that. Ripping off designers with the same old tune will lead to a situation where clients will ultimately be left facing the music.