There are many things a client needs to get in order at the start of a new branding and website project. A client must prepare for such a creative project much like they would prepare for any other business project. Sometimes clients don’t realize just how much work is involved or that the creation process is a collaborative effort. Time must be allocated and resources made available for the life of a project which can last anywhere from four to five months. There is a great deal of back and forth, discussions, meetings, revisions, updates and weekly communication between web design agency and client. Although a clear timeline is provided at the start of the project, it’s easy to overlook important dates or fall behind on content delivery when adequate time and resources have not been considered. So let’s examine the two major areas that take up most of our client’s time. It revolves around providing website content and feedback or what we like to call content delivery and feedback delivery. More than anything, these two areas combined are what keep our clients quite busy each and every day throughout a project.
Both content delivery and feedback delivery happen throughout the project, but is especially heavy during the first couple of months. But before we dive into content delivery, what exactly do we mean by content? Content, is what ends up on your actual website. It can be a variety of things, but for the most part it’s the text and images supplied by the client for a website. While a web design agency will assist you with finding great images for your website, the specific text for a website is often the sole responsibility of the client. And as you can imagine, gathering all the text for each and every website page can be quite time consuming. It’s not only gathering the text from all the different groups or departments involved, but reading through all of text to ensure it’s accurate and cohesive. Other important factors when creating text is to make sure your brand voice is conveyed throughout the pages, and that your text is well written, concise and website ready.
The actual delivery of the content is just as important! Content delivery should always be delivered in a clear and organized manner so that the Project Manager can easily read through it all and immediately understand what they are looking at. The content should be broken down by page and by each section of the page from top to bottom. Unorganized or incomplete content with internal notes and or acronyms are difficult to comprehend and often cause mistakes or things to get missed. So it’s better to spend extra time and ensure your content is clean, polished, grammatically correct, spell checked and ready for your website. Whether it’s text for the home page, a product page or a blog post, the same rules always apply. Keeping your text clear and organized makes things easy to understand. Going back and forth unnecessarily on incomplete or inaccurate content is a sure way to start falling behind on a project and cause delays. So remember to keep it clean, smart and concise. If you can say something in 10 words don’t say it in 20! You’ll always have the ability to make any final text or image edits through your content management system. So don’t worry so much about attaining perfection!
Photography is also considered content, and an important part of a client’s content delivery. Often times, and especially with eCommerce, clients provide their own professional photography, blog post images and product photos. These too should be provided in a clear, labeled and organized manner so as not to misplace or use incorrect images on a product or page. The images should be optimized for web so that they load quickly. Slow loading speeds will kill your website performance! Images should also be consistent, not just in style but also in size and format. Sending various different styles, sizes or formats impacts the overall quality of the website and slows down project progress. So take the time to resize all your images, group them correctly and save them in a consistent format prior to sending them over.
Website feedback such as design feedback provided on the multiple design rounds is just as important, and should be provided in a clear and organized manner. Above all, website feedback should be provided in writing. With the exception of very few things, where it’s easier to jump on a quick phone call, all website feedback should be provided to an agency in writing. Writing your feedback forces the writer to think just a little longer about what to write and the meaning of the words. It pushes the writer to be a little more careful about their word selection and thus makes the feedback more concise and accurate. Of course, it also serves to document the feedback process so that one can easily go back and reference the feedback from previous design rounds. This is particularly helpful in the event that management forgets what specific design decisions were made on a previous design round.
Believe it or not, sometimes a client may actually ask for more homework! A client may ask if they could help out by creating wireframes or even a design mockup. Rest assured, when working with a professional web design agency a client should never need to create either. Wireframes and design mockups are what strategists and design artists do best. So leave all that important work to the experts and allow them the creative breathing room they need to flourish on your project. These experts have decades of experience and spend quite a bit of time researching inspiration websites, top competitors, functionality and the various design elements to ensure that everything placed on your website page has purpose. Besides, the content and feedback delivery is more than enough to keep clients busy!