The Boy Scout motto, which you must have heard of, is always "be prepared”, so here's a list of things you need to be and stay prepared when meeting a designer/design team. Read it carefully as it may come in handy.
Before deciding to create your own website or even at the beginning of the design process, you need to register your domain. The reason is obvious, but I’ll explain it anyway. Regard your website as your house, your home. If you want to build a house, you need a location to build it. In other words, if your website is your house, then the domain is your address so that the users would know where to visit. Sometimes we are asked to do this for our clients, but in the long run, it’s much easier for you to register the domain yourselves and give access to the designer than to let others register it for you. This might complicate things a lot if you want to change the provider later on. What we always say to the clients is that we can advise them on what provider to choose and make recommendations, but still it’s their obligation to have this done and come to us with a registered domain.
We’ve said that the domain is your website address, so hosting is the actual place, or a house if you like it, where the files of your website “live”. You can buy the domain and hosting with one or two different companies. It’s completely up to you. Just remember that if you buy them separately, you need to tell your web hosting company what the domain name is and change the DNS settings so that the visitors get the right address and can visit your website.
However, it is much easier to handle everything under one roof; meaning, to have both the domain and hosting with the same provider and avoid all the hassle that might arise.
What you need to provide
When you secured the “address” of your website a.k.a. the place where the website’s files will be stored, you need to carefully plan, organize and have everything ready before or immediately after the project kick-off. Neglecting this preparatory phase can result in confusion and not a satisfactory result. The thing is that a design agency will not be able to have much progress unless you provide them with the tools necessary for their work. Here’s a checklist of your duties. I consider this a good read which can save you a lot of time and nerves, let alone the budget.
Copyright & Content
We firmly believe in the content-driven design, not vice versa, and that’s why we put so much emphasis on obtaining the content before the project kicks off. You don’t have to craft a pitch-perfect web copy but give the designer something to work with and as they are working on the design, you or the person in charge of the text can perfect it and these two processes can run in tandem.
Photos and Images
It is always a good idea to make your product visually appealing so that the users are intrigued and made to go deeper looking for the information they need or simply exploring what you have to offer. You should think carefully about what will increase the engagement and maximize conversion.
You can either use one big photo or a small collage of photos with tidbits of information. You can have iStock photos or you can have custom ones. We can help you with whichever option you decide upon. Just remember that each has pros and cons when used.
If you have already established your brand identity and have the logo, the fonts, the colors which represent you as a company, you should definitely bring this to the table. Make sure you prepare these assets for the designer, as they are going to need that to implement the identity on whatever is the next product you are working on. The best thing would be to send them the brand style guide with the logo in the vector format, the name of the font and the color codes supplied by the previous designer who worked on your brand identity.
As we’ve said it before, people are visual creatures and process information based on what they see. Therefore, the best way to present your product, company or provide them with a solution to their problem is probably through a video. You should make sure your video is of high quality and congruent with the overall style of your user interface as it will be your representation in the digital world.
Widgets are those little doodads on your user interface that have a small function to perform but do not take up too much of that space. Date and time widget, contact forms, search and analytics, slideshow, social media buttons, etc. Think about which of them would add value to your user interface as they can be very interactive and attract visitors’ attention.
Information and feedback
Once you’ve established a good interaction with your design agency/designer, you need to maintain it. Timely information and feedback are of paramount importance for both you as a client and your designer/design team. The communication you establish with them should go long way and for that, you need to make sure your expectations are clear from day one, you provide the information that is asked of you and give immediate feedback which will ensure you stay involved throughout the project. Designers can work on their own without being micromanaged throughout every step, but there is a huge difference between micromanaging and communicating and they definitely need you to voice your opinion to make sure they are headed in the right direction with the project.
Ideally, you should have all these things prepared or at least thought-through before you start working on a project to ensure a smooth and successful cooperation. In case the situation is not that bright, we are here to help you make a smooth transition and gather all the necessary information together. We like to talk and design, so we can be your talk/design buddies. Feel free to reach out!