As with any project you start, gathering essential information upfront is not only beneficial to a successful deliverable but will also save you and your client plenty of headaches throughout the process and pave the way to a lasting and trusting relationship. The more information you have equals the smoother the project goes — which in turn sets the tone for a good designer/client relationship.
Some of the questions below can be applied to more then just website design so I broke them down into sections for better functionality for your clients.
- Do you currently have a website? What is the URL?
- Describe the products/services you sell.
- Who are your main competitors? How do you differ?
- What are your top 3 frustrations with your current website?
- What do you like most about your current website?
- What do your current competitors website have that you aspire to?
- Age range of your target client base
- Technical skill level of your client base. Have a scale ranging from zero to ten with zero being the least technologically skilled and ten being the best.
- Will your visitors require any special needs? Mobile version of site, multiple language support, larger type for easier reading, etc.)
- Imagine your website in 5 years from now. Complete the sentence: I know my website works because…
- Name 3 things that are most important about the design of your new website.
- Name 3 things that is least important in the design of your new website.
- Do you have any color preferences, existing brand colors, and/or colors you do/not wish to include?
- What are some existing websites that appeal to you? Provide links if possible.
- Deadline, timing or exact date of completion for your website
- Do you have a budget you are trying to meet?
- Do you need to be able to update the website on your own? (ie: CMS)
- Will this be an e-commerce website? Will you be selling any products or taking payments on your website?
- Do you need a copywriter? If you are using existing copy on your current website, will it need to be modified in any way?
- Is your logo and other imagery web ready?
- Do you have all images that you would like to be included in your website or would you like the designer to use imagery where appropriate?
- How will you be updating the site in the future (if they are not using a CMS)?
- Will you be needing an additional SEO help (registering with search engines, adding businesses to Google Business Center, Analytic setup, etc.)
- Do you already have a domain and host setup for your new website? If so, do you have the FTP and host log in information accessible?
- Any specific features you would like included? Log in ability, calendars, forums, blog, subscription services (RSS, email or newsletters)?
As with my logo questionnaire, I also like to leave my clients with a field or extra room at the end where they can provide additional details and comments.
Also next to each question that may not be so obvious what you are asking them I like to provided additional explanation, examples or notes. For example, when asking them if the need their site to be built on a CMS, I ask if they will be frequently updating (daily or weekly) or only updating once every 6 months or so. Speaking in terms that clients understand will also help to build trust — nothing is worse then spending your money on something you have no idea what you are getting. In short, save the nerd talk.
It’s always important to remember that being a graphic designer means you are a problem solver. You cannot solve a problem without knowing what the problem is – ask questions.