Keeping The Client Inspired Through The Design Process
The beauty of being a designer or working in the creative field is client interaction. Very rarely does a job present so many unique opportunities and being able to bring a client’s idea — which they’re very passionate about — to life is rewarding.
However, giving a client’s idea life is not without its pitfalls. The long time between concept to deployment can dissuade a client from seeing their idea come to fruition. Sometimes the unpredictable can happen and create a delay or a misunderstanding can change the course for the worst. Here’s how to keep the client inspired during the design process.
Setting The Expectations Early
When an idea is born we build upon it and may ignore the practicality of what our imaginations create. Sometimes a client’s idea, while amazing, may be bigger than what they anticipated.
Setting the client’s expectations from the first meeting will give both the client and designer a more accurate idea of what to anticipate. Indulging in creating the best possible product and building features that require more manpower than whats available will sabotage the design process. Over-promising when resources can’t accommodate a large project will only lead to disappointment for the client as their idea won’t be realized in its entirety and the final product will be less than stellar.
Helping the client understand the ramifications of an unexpected change such as a delayed launch date, increased costs and more headache will help give them a more realistic view of what to expect. It’s the designer’s job to plan and not only keep the client involved but teach them about what it’s like to work with you.
Schedule The Predictable, Plan For The Unpredictable, Prepare For The Worst
As mockups are created and designers bolt down, there is always room for something unpredictable that can happen. Planning for the unpredictable and preparing for the worst is the best way to avoid those “oh no” moments which can leave a client in despair.
The unpredictable can be a Hard Drive crash or unforeseen design issue. Charting out a list of unknowns and potential problems will prepare you and the client for what’s to come. However, simply explaining the variables during the design process isn’t enough: detailing the potential impact of a disaster or variable and not stressing the client out will keep them motivated, happy and willing to work with you.
Planning for the positive aspects and creating short term accomplishments that precede major milestones will accurately measure your progress. The client can see that significant advancements are being made and will know what to expect and when.
Following Up With The Client And Offering Suggestions
A client trusts you to bring their idea to life but shying away from a better solution to their problem discounts the designer. A great designer will be very involved with the client and help them realize their idea by offering suggestions.
Explaining the untapped possibilities plus the pros and cons associated with it can renew a client’s motivation in a project. If they feel something is dull or can’t explain what they want it’s the designers job to help them through that process.
The design process isn’t just about design. Recognizing the client’s needs and helping them realize their idea will keep them motivated. Setting their expectations early on will remove the often impossible task of starting from scratch and not disappointing them by missing a deadline. Planning ahead will give the client and the designer the pathway to the final outcome. This will also give visibility that gives the client the confidence the designer can do the job.