Web design is a great career field. Still, like with any other professions, web designers have to deal with a lot of issues and challenges, from mastering time-management skills of the advanced level to resolving conflicts with difficult clients. Besides, web design is a highly competitive field and to be successful a web designer has to follow the latest industry trends.
Here are just some of the most common challenges and issues web designers have to deal with:
- The necessity to meet deadlines. The more successful a web designer is, the more clients and projects they have. Under the circumstances, excellent time-management skills are required. After all, creativity is great but what clients are really looking for is meeting deadlines and carrying out obligations.
- Computer troubles. These are really annoying. Besides, they always seem to happen at the most inopportune time. Web designers have to know how to deal with such problems.
- Clients. Most clients are difficult and demanding. Web designers will probably agree that there is no such thing as an easy client in web design.
- Skills for using web design tools. There are numerous designer tools out there. Many of the tools are very complicated. Others are not sophisticated enough and have a bad influence on designer’s productivity.
There are numerous time-management skills and productivity hacks out there. Here are just some of the most important ones:
- Be attentive to details. In China, there is a proverb that can be translated as ‘When washing the dish, wash the dish. What we are trying to say is that you should never underestimate the ability to concentrate and focus. Follow clients’ requirements, check for all kinds of mistakes, and always look for ways to improve.
- Communication is important. In the business world, there are different kinds of clients with different communication approaches. What you can do is work on your communication skills and always show respect for the people you work with.
- Be aware of the best tools. Sometimes it is as easy as using the theme that does not require coding, using features that can be easily edited or pre-built websites that do not require a lot of technical work.
Educating your web design clients
In every web designer’s life, there is a moment when clients ask inadequate questions and act like they do not know a thing about web design (or like they know everything which is even worse). The easiest way here is to blame the clients. The Much more reasonable approach is to understand what you can do to make things better. Actually, it is partly your responsibility to educate your clients so that they ask adequate questions and understand what web design is all about.
Why do you think your client hired you? In most cases, not for your excellent web design portfolio as you might have, though. Clients hire web designers to solve specific problems, from low traffic to low conversion rates. Once the problems are solved, your client will not see you as an enemy anymore.
Your challenge here is to communicate your vision clearly so that clients understand you and trust you.
Of course, sometimes you will have to make business with clients who believe that web design is as easy as opening Photoshop as drawing something in it. So, here is the list of things you should teach your client about web design and your role as a web designer:
1. Web design is not only about technical skills, it is also about creativity and inspiration
Your task is to explain to clients that web design requires skills, knowledge, talent and experience. Tell them that design is not as easy as it may seem and that your opinion is the expert’s opinion. Besides, explain that you know what you are doing and, if you do not agree with something, you have some serious reasons for that. Also, stress out that your ultimate goal is to create a quality product and, whatever you do, you serve your client’s interests.
2. Listen to them, but also make them listen to you too
In a ‘client – web designer’ communication the key role belongs to the client because he who makes the money makes the rules. Still, in web design you are the expert, not your client. Otherwise, they would not be paying you money to do the job. Clients have to understand: you know the subject better and, if you recommend something, the recommendation is worth being listened to. The challenge here is to explain that without being rude or harsh.
- Explain what reason you have to make the decisions you make. This way, your client will get an understanding of what you are doing and why you are doing it.
- If you have to prove something, use data and statistics. Some clients will believe you only if you provide some statistical data to prove your point. Do it. There is a lot of web design related statistics on the web.
- The power of social proof is enormous. Show other websites that have a similar approach, preferably successful websites of well-known brands. Big names work.
3. Understand the difference between feedback and impositions
As a web designer, you should always listen to what your client wants. That is your job, after all. Meanwhile, if your client is telling you what to do in detail, you have to stop him and explain that you know what you are doing. To sum up, feedback is welcome, impositions are not.
4. Communication is the king
Part of your job is listening to your client. Actually, communication is the only way to find out what a client wants.
5. Fighting with the stereotypes
Some clients may believe that web design is very much like print design. While you may be irritated with the attitude (and you have the right, we know), your obligation, in this case, is to explain that print and the web are different.
6. There is no such thing as a minor change
Explain to the client that web design process is rather complicated and that even a small change may result in hours of work. It means the deadlines are under threat. Stipulate this point in a contract: how many revisions you accept. Explain that for additional changes your client has to pay extra. Once they understand that, they will think twice before offering one more minor change.
This article is written by James Ross, a professional UX/ UI web and mobile designer working and living in beautiful Florida. He loves designing and always find a unique approach to every project. He understands that nowadays web-design is not only about design itself, it is all about psychology and marketing technique as well. As soon as he realized that, he started creating pages that attract, sell and inspire users to return again and again. His experience taught him that a professional designer must work in partnership with reliable PSD to HTML conversion developer or service. That way you can always deliver to your client responsive, ready to use HTML page. Which is great, as a client receives the full service from you and will most likely return with a new project again. He is working with different companies and freelance developers, however, in the last couple of month, he came to an understanding that he enjoy working with codcow.com team the most. Not only because they give him a huge discount, but they also exceeded his expectations in great PSD to HTML services they are. Follow him: Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn.