Lost in Translation: Things Your Website Designer Will Never Understand
Clients often try to communicate what they want to web designers but much of which they are trying to communicate is lost in translation. As a web designer, here are a whole bunch of things clients ask for that web developers will never understand. Plus, some tips on trying to clarify what it is that you want so your website designer will understand what you’re really asking.
“Make the page pop”
This is one every website designer hears from their clients. Please tell me how to make a page pop! I’d love to know. The reality is, what is appealing to one person may not be appealing to another. Obviously, if your asking your website designer to “make the page pop”, you don’t like the style of the design. That’s fine, design is subjective. Rather than asking your web designer to make the page pop, try finding examples of similar pages that you like and explain to your website designer which specific elements you like and would like included in your design. That will make it easy for your website developer to understand what it is you want.
“I want a clean website”
I’m not really sure what this one means either. Maybe the client is associating “clean” with “low cost”, not sure. I hear it all the time. Do they mean a white/light websites? Do they mean with a lot of white space. Who knows? Design is subjective. If you want your designer to build a website in a particular style, tell him/her which elements you like from other websites, give examples. Do you like full screen sites vs. boxed websites? Be very specific with your designer about the colors and elements you like.
“I want a simple website”
This is another one I hear all the time. What is a simple website? Something is always simple until you understand the complexity of it. Take driving a car for example. If you’ve never driven a car, it seems pretty simple. This is called unconscious incompetence. You don’t know what you don’t know. Once you get behind the wheel for the first time, you then realize that it’s super hard to drive a car. This is called conscious incompetence as you now know what you don’t know. The next stage is when you start to get good at driving a car, but it’s really hard. This is called conscious competence. The last stage of learning is unconscious competence. After you’ve been driving for a long time you don’t even have to think about it.
When you’re asking your website designer for a “simple” website, you’re probably not understanding what goes into the designing and building of a website. I recently had a client that wanted a “simple” website to take orders for and organize delivery of home cooked meals. Seems simple, right? It’s actually very complicated. You need to keep track of users, have a login system; a password reset system, a payment gateway to collect payments. You also need to collect addresses and schedule delivery times on checkout, etc. It’s an ecommerce website design so there are lots of complexities. I could go on and on about the complexities involved. It’s not simple. If what you’re really asking for as a client is a “low cost” website, just say so. Let your website designer know your budget and ask for solutions within your budget. Most website designers perfectly understand everyone has a different budget and can usually find solutions to work within it.
“I want it on the first page of Google”
This is another vague and ambiguous requirement that your website designer will not understand. There are billions of first pages of Google depending on the search term. Which one of the billion first pages of Google do you want to be on? This requirement is not specific enough. Furthermore, how your website is built is only a small part of what helps your site rank in Google for a particular search term.
If what you’re really asking for is a digital marketing plan to help you get traffic and leads from your site, then you should ask your website designer how you can market your site on the web to make sure it’s successful. Your website designer will likely have lots of suggestions for you.
“I want clean code”
If you really are looking for some third party qualification of the code used to build your website, you can reference. W3C Markup to reference web standards.
“I want a fast website”
This is another subjective requirement that your website designer will have a hard time quantifying. What’s fast to some is slow to others. It depends on what you’re used to. If you want to quantify it, you may request something like page load time is to be under 2 seconds.
“How much for a 10 page website?”
I know many clients think this is a simple question. However, there are many factors that go into a website design. A 10 page website can cost from $1000 – $10,000, or more. It really depends on things like the functionality required, the amount of “design” time that is put into it. Also, maybe the client needs an in-person design meeting to really develop the content and the message of the website. A better way to handle pricing is to let your website designer know that your budget is $3000 for example, and then let them know what your looking for and what you can get in terms of functionality and design for that budget.
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