Our multi-media design team has been working with clients around the country since 2001. This year we are enjoying our “sweet sixteen” anniversary. With over 650 websites completed, we have faced many issues and have found that no two projects are the same and no two clients are identical. Each project requires individual attention and each client deserves our best. Our developers feel it is very important, first to get to know the client, and next, to foster a good working relationship. This will help to stop any miscommunication which could occur during the design process. This continues to be the best method for success between both the developer and the client.

We develop the site for the end-user:

As a design firm, we carry a huge responsibility.  While our main responsibility lies with the end users (those who will be visiting the site and looking for goods and services) we also do our best to please the client with the overall look and feel of the new site. We are hired to design a user-friendly, mobile website which is browser compatible and functions well with today’s smart technology. This requires programming knowhow and design expertise.  We agonized over every detail of the website and hope our end product will please all parties.

Discussing the design expectations:

At the design meeting, we discuss the desires of the client, the design expectations. The client is encouraged to discuss his vision for the new site “prior” to any work beginning. After the meeting we provide the client with a proposal for the design work based upon the meeting notes.  We also provide the client with our terms and conditions agreement (our contract). Staying true to the initial design work discussed at the design meeting will serve you well.

The new website:  The new look

Once the design is complete and the site is populated with relevant content, it is time to reveal the new website to the client.   We do allow the client to go over the new site and report to us any content errors.  They may also send content changes as the business requires over time. There is normally no charge associated with content changes. Once the design work begins, the final design look and feel is the sole responsibility of the design team.

Design change requests: How are these handled?

The client will review the new website to catch any content errors. Content changes are considered minor changes. All other changes which affect design and layout are “major” changes. These changes may fall outside the scope of the design proposal and working agreement. Additional design time and a new proposal is usually needed for concept or design changes. These new requirements are not simple changes.  They affect the look of all pages and may also affect the menu throughout the site. It is never simple to make changes in design.  A new proposal for the new requirements will be generated and provided to the client for review and signature. The new work will be scheduled.

Conclusion: Be flexible but diplomatic:

It is always great to be flexible with clients, especially when they are requesting small changes.  Residual changes are to be expected and continuing to work with the client (after launch) is always the best way forward. This build client trust and works well as they refer you to others. We do not charge for content changes and if the change take less than thirty minutes, we do this for free.  All other changes will be done on a case by case basis and scheduled after the client signs a “change order.”
Adding an image or changing an image out is an example of a small change.  Adding new members to the staff and adding new services are always done at no cost as well. These are simple changes that can be done quickly.  We want our clients to be happy with our work and to also feel free in calling us regarding any issue.

Conclusion: Fair practice for all website clients

To be fair to all clients, if the change requested needs more than thirty minutes to complete, we generate a change request for the client’s signature. We suggest you always send a change request before charging the client additional money.  This allows you to schedule the new work and to keep projects in line with time constraints. It is always ok to reply to the client, “yes we can make the change but it will cost an additional amount.”  Being honest and fair with each client is the best policy. Developing a great report with the client will bring you big dividends in the future and help to make your working environment a pleasing and comfortable experience for you both.

In the news:  Mistakes your marketing team may be making:

As developers we need to have marketing meetings each and every week to stay focused on the projects in progress and to be able to deliver projects on time and on budget. Having two few meetings are always going to bring trouble your way.  During the week we all get busy and ideas and information may be pushed to the back to do other projects more compelling.  This article from Site Pro News about marketing mistakes is very helpful in pointing out flaws.  Building a strong and efficient marketing team is needed in this challenging time.
Thanks for stopping by and hurry back for more from the design wizards at “Inside Design Orlando.”
Jean Holland-Rose, Chief Creative Officer & SEO Professional.