Friction in web design, like in any other process in life that involves more than one party, cannot be completely avoided. The clients vs The Web Design Agency is one partnership that requires some sought of know-how and experience to work out fine.
In recent times, there have been a lot of complaints from clients about what web design agencies always do wrong, what they should do instead etc, and also from the other side of the divide, the web design agencies complaining about what the clients always do wrong and what they should have done differently to ensure a smooth partnership.
We have seen how these little hiccups affect client’s businesses and design agencies negatively and wouldn’t like you going through the same problems, so we have comprehensively compiled for you in this blog the top complaints Clients and design agencies always have about each other during the web design process and how to efficiently avoid or solve them to ensure a very smooth relationship all round.
So follow us closely as we explore,
- Top problems Clients have with web design agencies and their solution
- Top problems Web design agencies have with clients and their solution
Let's begin with,
1. Top problems Clients have with web design agencies and their solutions.
Along our Web design journey, we’ve heard a whole lot of complaints from clients about web design agencies, how they are treated by web designers, how the process sometimes just ends up as a waste of time and resources, etc. We’ve heard quite a lot and have decided to help you as a web design agency lay out the most common of these complaints clients usually have so that you can easily avoid them and ensure a smooth Agency-Client partnership.
We regularly hear horror stories about long delays and failed projects.
A series of these complaints clients usually have were collected, analyzed, and categorized into three main groups
The three groups are:
- Planning and Service: includes all complaints about communication issues, such as listening, managing expectations, and meeting deadlines.
- Technical and Programming: includes capabilities complaints, technical limitations, and hosting issues.
- Design: includes alignment with brand, lookin’ good.
Some of the complaints were wide-ranging and added to more than one category. This chart shows the percentage of complaints for each category.
From the image above, it is clear that Planning and Service, which includes all complaints about communication issues, is the biggest issue clients have with their design agency partners. Communication is very key throughout the design process, if you as a designer don’t have that as a skill, you would most times always have issues with your clients.
What can be done?
Many web design companies don’t focus on planning and service and don’t know how to keep a project on track. A good designer and smart programmer can start a web company and make websites, But they may not truly realize what it takes to offer great service.
Design company: Focus on communication, process, project management, and support.
Clients: Carefully vet companies for service and commitment, listen for direct answers
Solving Common Problems Web Design Agencies Face:
- Unsatisfactory design outcomes
Unless you have a magic crystal ball, you cannot replicate the exact results your client may have in mind. There will be instances when your customer may claim that the website design does not meet their expectations — and that’s okay. There are many things that could be the reason for the dissatisfaction.
Rather than letting disgruntled emotions take over, you can bypass it by clearly defining, quantifying, and listing customer expectations. Maintain a detailed document containing the project specifications, expected outcomes, and other parameters that help identify whether the execution is a success or otherwise.
Also, conduct a detailed discussion with your client and have the document validated to ensure that you are both on the same page. This also helps lead the direction and set the priorities for your design team.
- Client Adds Tasks to the Initial Scope of Work
It often happens that a client will tack on extra requests during the engagement which were never identified or discussed as part of the web development scope of work. While some of these requests can be minor, they can also be time-consuming tasks that can cause delays leading to “scope creep.” Scope creep is the uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope after the work begins, and this occurs when the scope of a development project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled.
When you consider this loss of time, these extra tasks or requirements can have a severe impact on the budget for web development. Now, whether the agency agrees to the work or not, these changes cause problems. After all, the time spent on these tasks is usually the time that was supposed to be spent on other areas of the project.
How to Fix this Scope Problem:
It’s essential to establish clear requirements at the beginning of every web development project. What’s more, there should be a contract written which specifies precisely what the project will entail. Agencies can declare that any work not specified in the initial outline will have to wait until the project is completed, and with additional charges of course.
Also, consider a solid project management platform. In the virtual sea of software, it’s difficult to find the right fit for an agency. You’ll wade through scores of “all-in-one” options and simple, “easy-to-use” features before you learn that hyphenated descriptors don’t make a platform; rather it’s the actionable tools that creatives will employ every day. How will you know if you’ve found the right software? Avoid the worst project management platforms for agencies and consider a few popular alternatives.
- Incorporating content into user flow
Finding the middle ground can get tricky when it comes to media or content. You walk the fine line between overly stimulating the visitors with a flood of content versus not being able to share even the bare minimum information to not sacrifice the client’s requested design. In some instances, excessive details will drown out the content that deserves the spotlight.
To avoid this situation, you need to discuss terms with the client and set priorities based on audience expectations. Put yourself in the visitor’s perspective and list down what they would want. From this point of view, your expertise would carry more weight and sense than your client’s demands.
For instance, consider that you are designing the landing page for a company that sells custom shoes. Nobody wants to go through the CEO and CMO profiles. Nor how they have been great friends since college. Instead, they want to know about the products immediately, the associated advantages, product images, product reviews and feedback, and usable CTAs to nudge them through the funnel. So, present this information upfront.
Remember to always discuss with your client why you reached this particular design decision. Help your client see how your design could positively affect visitor experience — which should be a top priority for any business.
- Lack of integration
A business’ presence should not be limited to its website. It has to offer an omnichannel experience across various platforms to be able to reach out to prospective customers. Hence, companies may need to host a blog on their website, post over social media, and engage customers through email marketing all at the same time.
Naturally, customers will prefer the channels that they are familiar with and comfortable with, which essentially means that the business needs to meet them all the way. Similarly, your clients may prefer certain tools for various operations, which would require setting up custom integration. This means that the website you design must effectively integrate with all these channels and tools.
For instance, a glowing review shared by a client can serve as social proof on the website. Or user-generated content such as product images over social media boosts the credibility of the business.
Similarly, inputs from a CRM solution could change the dynamic elements of an eCommerce website to display certain products above others. It is important to maintain information consistency through the seamless integration of multiple interfaces. Fortunately, third-party plugins and APIs can facilitate such systems to make integrations possible.
- Client Requests Major Changes Too Late in the Process
For many project teams, feedback can come far too late in the process and sometimes at completion. This can be devastating news for the web developer and a situation that is likely to incur cost implications.
But why does this feedback come as such a surprise? Well, expectations are everything when it comes to web development, and without showing the actual progress it’s often difficult to know precisely what the client wants. For this reason, the web developer may proceed with a very different concept to what the customer had in mind.
- How to Fix this Feedback Problem
Instead of delivering a finished product, setting up a regular review and approval process can ensure that the web development project is moving in the right direction. More specifically, this feedback will usually come early enough that changes can be made without any serious consequences.
For the agency, this is a time in which actions should be taken to address client feedback. It’s also a good idea to record and log every change or modification request. Continuous feedback means that the agency is working in line with expectations.
- Procrastination and the Launch Date Becomes Stressful
Procrastination is real. Mistakes regarding design are something that happens all too often in web development. In other words, we want every element of a website to be perfect, but at the same time, there’s only so much time to go back and forth with ideas. While some changes may be small, they consume time.
On the other hand, too many agencies wait far too long to launch their website. A launch date can hang over the development project like a dark cloud, and this can become a stressful ordeal.
How to Fix this Procrastination Problem?
Launch the website as soon as possible and avoid waiting for the launch date. Despite what you may think, you may never be finished or satisfied with changes. More importantly, even when the site is live, you can still make changes, apply fixes, simplify steps, and streamline the navigation system. What’s more, you won’t be obsessing over the launch date.
Bringing it all together,
Gone are the days when monopoly could do the trick. Today, designers are entrusted with lots of responsibilities such as adding value to the customer journey, enhancing the site visitor experience, and improving visibility on SERPs. To create satisfying and successful designs that meet business goals, they need a very smooth collaboration with their clients.
These solutions shared above will combat some of the common issues that clients may cite while working with web designers or vice versa. With the implementation of these solutions, there will be higher satisfaction rates in no time!
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