This is a vital step in the web design process that many new freelancers or web designers overlook. It is very important first to understand the actual requirement of the client. You need to understand the motive or objective behind the website. The more in-depth you understand the client’s requirements, the smoother the designing process will be. The list of questions will clear many things for you as well as the client. Many a times, clients are not aware of the web design process and what is good for the website and what is not. He may also not be aware of what is possible and what is not for a website. For example, a website is very different for the print media and what is possible for the print media may not be so for the web. The client may have some very unrealistic expectations from the website; it is the designer’s duty to understand them and educate the client accordingly.
Most of the confrontations that may occur during the web design process is usually due to these misunderstanding that were not cleared initially. Therefore, it is vital that the designers pose a set of questions that correctly identifies the client’s requirement. Many a times, you may find some really unrealistic expectations, client’s need to be educated here. For example, most often then you realize, we get unrealistic demands where the clients require a social media website like Facebook or Twitter. They tell us they have a limited budget now, but will pay us more, when the site is successful. Many a times, the client has a budget of less than a thousand dollars. We usually let go of the client and concentrate on other clients with a more realistic approach to their website. You don’t have to do the same and let go of the client, but surely, you will have to do a lot of consulting and educating before you take him on as a client. Another example would be clients, with the main objective of getting more clients from SEO, but wanting to have the site done totally in Flash or requiring a Flash intro. You may have to explain to the client that Flash or intros may not be a good idea for SEO.
The questions you pose to the client does not have to be any specific set of questions but can be any questions that help you identify his requirements and business objectives. The questions given below are generic questions and you can use your own sets of questions, rephrase them, or use them as it is.
- What is your company name?
- What products or services does your company offer?
- Do you have any existing website? If yes, please specify the URL.
- Do you require a website redesign or a complete new website?
- Are you going to be selling anything online?
- Do you require a website that you can update yourself?
- How often would you be making updates to the website?
- Describe your prospective customers or visitors.
- Do you have any color preference for the website?
- Please mention at least 2 websites that you like. Please also mention the reason why you like them.
- Do you have any specific budget for this project?
- Do you have a time frame within which you need this project completed?
- Is there anything you do not want to include in the website?
- Do you have the website content and images ready?
These are just a few questions to get you started. Ideally you should formulate your own questions depending on your requirement. The idea behind the questions are simply to understand the client’s requirements and long term business objectives so that you and the client are on the same page as far as the website requirements are concerned. This will ensure that each of you meets each other’s expectations and the website process goes smoothly.