The 5 Keys to Understanding a Client's Needs

Matcha Design - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Whether you're designing a website or crafting a printed marketing piece, it's absolutely essential that the client and the designer share a common understanding, as miscommunications can result in disaster.

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For instance, a client may indicate that they would like a 'simple' website, but in reality, they want a user-friendly website with a clean, minimalist design and clear, concise text that leaves a lasting impact on its readers. From a design perspective, there is absolutely nothing 'simple' about creating a website that fits the bill. So in short, there is a vast difference between the client's and the designer's standard of 'simple'.

When miscommunications occur, it can be very frustrating for both the client and the designer. The client is presented with something that falls short of their expectations, while the designer has invested lots of time and effort in a design and branding materials that will need to be completely revamped and overhauled. And as a result of this mishap, the website completion is delayed, resulting in problems for everyone involved.

So how can this sort of miscommunication be avoided? Avoiding subjective descriptive terms such as 'simple' is a good start, but there are lots of other ways in which designer and client alike can maximize the chances of a successful collaboration. Consider the following tips and recommendations to ensure there is an accurate shared understanding between client and designer.

Provide Examples of the Desired Style
The client should provide examples of the web design, graphics or general style that they're seeking in order to give the designer a clear glimpse of their vision. Conversely, the designer can provide examples of similar graphics, website designs or other elements so the client can confirm that this is the style they're seeking.

Provide Examples of Things You Don't Want
For a designer, it can be equally effective for a client to provide examples of designs that they do not enjoy, along with information on what they dislike about those web designs, texts or graphics. This can give the designer a better feeling for the client's unique preferences.

Ensure the Designer Understands the Target Audience
A designer, developer or writer must have a good understanding of the target audience in order to craft a design, write-up or platform that appeals to that group. That means the client must also have a good feel for their target audience.

Ensure the Designer Understands the Client's Objectives
It's absolutely vital that a client's designer, writer or other creative partner has a good understanding of their objectives and the intended usage of the website, graphic, text, marketing campaign or other creation.

Providing and Soliciting Feedback on the Project
It's beneficial for the client to provide feedback on the project as it progresses, rather than waiting until the design is complete only to discover that it's all wrong and completely different from the client's vision. So it's important that designers seek feedback throughout the design and development process and clients should provide prompt, insightful feedback.

'The core of a successful design is about conveying the intended message to the audience via a series of psychological triggers that, in effect, leave an impact,' explained Chris Lo, Creative Director of Matcha Design.

This highlights one final point that clients should consider: an experienced web designer, marketing manager, writer or other creative professional can typically provide lots of useful recommendations. So while a client may go into a project with a particular vision or idea, it's important to be open to suggestion as your designer may have ideas and recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness and impact of your marketing campaign or other project. It is, after all, their specialty!

If you need help launching a marketing campaign for your website, business, product or brand, turn to the experts at Matcha Design.

About Matcha Design
Matcha Design is a full-service creative agency specializing in web designprintidentitybrandinginterface designvideo productionstill photography and motion design. Using our passion for excellence, multi-cultural background, and award winning practices, we consistently provide high-quality, custom, innovative solutions to meet the diverse marketing needs of our clients. For more information, visit www.MatchaDesign.com.