Clients come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of them are great, but others make you want to stab your self in the eye with a dull Lisa Frank pencil. You know the ones Im talking about. They are the ones who can’t trust the designer, never really know what they want, and always want more work for free.
So, the question is, how do we handle clients like this?
The Clueless Client
There is nothing worse than a client who doesn’t know what they want. Nothing sends chills up my spine more than a client saying “Im not sure what I like, just do whatever.”
It is those clients who turn out to be the most trouble.
What that really translates into is…
“Im going to ask you to do 10 mock ups over the next few weeks. I also ask for revisions of each before I decide I like something else. Be ready to put 100 hours of work into a 15 hour job.”
How to Deal With Them
The best way to get clients thinking about what they want is make them fill out a pre-design questionnaire that makes them think about what they want. These pre-design questions will help the client focus on what it is they want the design to look like and what it should accomplish. Thus, making your life as a designer easier.
Some question to include could be…
- What is the main objective of the site?
- What feeling do you want the site to portray?
- What is your target market?
And most importantly…
- What is the goal of the site?
Why Clients Need Goals
A few days ago Adii from Woo Themes posted a funny video about clients who don’t know what they want. This video got me thinking about a client who I am currently working with. The client blew off the pre-design questionnaire and against my better judgment I started on the project. I have since done 3 very different mockups over the course of a few weeks and there is no end of this in site. Lucky for me I have a contract that limits mockups to 5, but if I didnt, this could be rough.
When you get clients like these I suggest you sit down and talk to them about what their goals are. If nothing else, this will give you some direction and you will be able to design a site based on the goals and explain t the client why this particular design will help them achieve their goals.
Some goals could be….
- To increase page views.
- Capture contact information for marketing.
- Promote a weekly newspaper.
- Get more rss readers.
If the client has no real goals or doesn’t care to think of any, make some suggestions for them. This isn’t really in your job description, but it will make your life hella easier.
Here are some more articles I recommend reading on the topic of client goals and working with clients who don’t know what they want. But first, you should watch this video….
How To Communicate Design Decisions To Clients? – See the aprt about “Every design should have a measurable goal”
Designing for the Empty-Handed Client – A great post on what to do when clients give you nothing to go on or no feedback.