Web design and design work in general is an interesting industry when it comes to client interaction. We need the client to help us lay the foundation for our design work, but at the same time, we need to be careful not let the client have too much say.
Many designers in all fields, myself included, have let clients walk all over them. We’ve let clients dictate exact design direction, tell us what to do, and advise us on what resources to use. This needs to change.
First of all, web designers need to rethink their title. We’re more than designers, we must become information architects. We’re not just making things look good, we’re also making critical decisions on how to organize information, create conversion paths, and ultimately design a presence that will support an entire organization in a huge communication channel.
That’s a lot of responsibility. With that responsibility needs to come confidence. We are the experts and we’re the ones who know how the web works, and frankly, our clients are not. That’s why designers need to advertise their capabilities in a more strategic fashion and advise clients how things need to be done.
The only input a designer should need from a client is basic design requirements, organizational background information, and minimal input on the design direction.
It’s almost the same as a building architect. The architect designs the blueprints, the client reviews the blueprints and provides some input, and the architect builds. Can you imagine if the architect was half way done and the client decided they wanted to use a cheaper metal in the framework of the building?
The point is, designers need to know that they are the expert and not the client. If a client wants to change something, but you think it’s a bad idea, tell them why. And, if necessary, fire your client.