No matter how many projects you’ve run, there’s always one - a thing you didn’t know you needed at the beginning. It may be about feedback, timing, or even as simple as when someone is available for a weekly phone call. Getting this one thing straightened out in the beginning can help alleviate pains before they occur and help your new website launch run more smoothly.
We sat down with designers and agency leads to help find the one thing that they want more of their clients to take the initiative on.
This is different with each client, but having a client adhere to their side of a project calendar for feedback, responses and decisions are usually a hang-up. Every client thinks they can do this in 1-2 business days, but forget that internal stakeholders will be out of town during milestones and can't reach them, ultimately adding a delay.
Getting timely feedback and/or content.
Getting stuck on minor details right before go-live is a big one. Some clients tend to get into a perfectionism trap, trying to make sure every tiny detail of their site is perfect before they go live. However, they're delaying the launch of their optimized, refreshed design, which is most likely losing revenue the longer it stays un-launched to work on minor details.
The most common issues we run into with certain projects is the “too many cooks in the kitchen syndrome”. We frequently rely on our clients to provide us with proper feedback during the course of the project. When too many people are involved in an organization it becomes very confusing to organize and execute the change requests. We are very good at honing clients in when this occurs and making one person the point on communication. This comes with experience working with clients and successfully launching websites for over a decade now.
Managing expectations around prioritization and assumptions.
Hands down, the biggest problem is scope creep. Once a project is clearly defined and contracts have been signed, it's really important to stay within scope to remain focused and on track. When clients lose sight of our focused goals and scope of project, it's important to get them back on track really quickly.
One of the biggest challenges is a desire to “filter” communication from difficult or busy (but important) stakeholders. Project stakeholders may be tempted to not have the designers/developers in the room when the CEO or other decision-maker reviews things. This can cause an agency to fall short of expectations because they were never clearly conveyed to them, or different expectations were given priority. It’s usually best for communication to happen in as unfiltered a manner as possible to avoid additional problems or limit opportunities for greater success.
Copywriting can be a bit more challenging than clients anticipate. Client’s often take this responsibility in-house but don’t always have professional copywriting resources available.
Client changes their mind, they want to edit or add a feature and sometimes they don't understand its out of scope and they think the agency is nickel and diming them.
I think many clients underestimate the amount of decision making and consensus building that need to be done internally. They are often confused about why websites take as long as they do, but once the project commences, the most frequent delay is just getting answers or feedback from clients. The fewer people involved in the project, the quicker it goes. Regardless we are patient and help educate/coach clients through the process, trying to make it as easy as possible.
Expectation setting is the biggest challenge, since businesses and web designers often have completely different understandings of the process and the requirements. Then the communication issues begin. Every web design project has a team with a rookie player: the client. This isn't a problem if everyone trusts the coach and sticks with the playbook.