by Chelsea Brown

Love Letter to a Web Designer

With Valentine’s Day barely in the rear view mirror, the buzz around the romantic holiday still has me in the mood for romance. What makes it so great?

I love getting little reminders from the special people in my life who care enough to do something special. Those who get us flowers, buy chocolate, a very cute teddy bear, or even a Chocolate Turtle from Savannah, GA make …. (Okay, so maybe the last one was just a piece of my Valentine’s Day).

But the thing that always makes me absolutely giddy is receiving a love note: a special note, handwritten, with everything that means the most to that special person and me – the note that points out all of the wonderful things that make me smile. This got me thinking, what would a love letter to a web designer look like? I mean, as a designer, we deserve some love too, right?

I would like to think that there’s a lot that makes a designer tick. We all have little quirks that define our style, things we HAVE to do in every design regardless of the request.

Let’s take a quick trip into the vast, and slightly obsessed mind, of a web designer – by breaking down a recent client request.

Dear Web Designer,

A friend of mine referred me to your business. They’re also a client of yours and I have heard nothing but the best. I own an auto body shop that has been in my family for 22 years. I have noticed a few of my competitors are getting websites to represent their business online and I feel that I need to do the same. I’m not looking for anything fancy or flashy, I just want something that matches my business. I found a website similar to what I’m looking for, you can take a look here: http://www.example.com/.

This client has it all together. They give us a brief introduction to their business, which tells us who they are, what their service is, and how long they’ve been in business. Adding a personal touch to your site by saying how long you’ve been in business can build your credibility.

By letting us know that it’s a family business, we know that it’s very personal to them and maybe the website should convey the same feeling. It may seem difficult to pull on the heartstrings for an auto body shop, but great content can do just that.

This client even knows what they’re looking for in a new website! They ask for nothing fancy and want something that relates to their business. It’s so important to have your website match your brand and convey the personality of your business. If your website is flashy and overdone, it can overshadow important information about your business. It can send the wrong message to your clients. How a website looks can turn prospects away just as quickly as turn them into customers.

I would like to focus on getting more phone calls, for questions and appointments. I don’t have a ton of time to keep up with emails every hour, so I don’t want to focus on that. I do run a promotion at all times and would like for it to be on the website: Free Oil Change for Your First Visit. I have additional promotions that I change out at different times and I hope that you can change them out for me as needed.

This client also lets us know exactly how he wanted customers to interact with his new website, which is important. Having a website is great, but you should be prepared to interact with your users. This client would prefer to get phone calls over emails, which is fine. We just need to be sure that we put strong calls to action on the site to encourage visitors to do just that, CALL!

He also knows that it’s important to showcase why clients should choose your business. He offers a promotion for first time clients, which would be great to feature on his site.

Regarding future edits for promotions, or anything else that comes up, we will take care of these, no problem! At Townsquare, we handle all edits for our clients, at any time. As long as you’re a paying customer, your edits are under control.

We do have a logo that we use on our t-shirts and I would like to put this onto the site. It’s a car outline with navy and blue colors. I used to have some photos of the shop, but I lost them when my computer crashed. I would like for the designer to give their put on the design since they know what would work best for my business. I can’t wait to see what you come up with and thanks for the hard work.

-Joe

Design, design, design! This client knows what’s up! He lets us know that he does have a logo and then he goes on to describe it. This is so important, especially if we aren’t currently looking at a copy of your logo. He describes in detail the colors and shape of the logo itself. As a designer, I can visualize anything that is described to me. This is why it’s important to give us details, on any design related matter.

Mr. Client’s computer recently crashed and he lost all photos of the shop. Of course, I’d like to blame this on him using a PC, but this may or may not be the case. (Take no offense, just a bit of designer humor thrown in there, as I am a die-hard Mac fan.) Fortunately, we have a great resource of photos that we can use for his website. They’ll look great and represent his business in a positive fashion online.

As a designer, it’s important to follow what the client’s wants, but it’s also great when we have a little creative freedom. Sometimes we get requests that stray from industry standard for a business, in which case it may be better to reign-in the ideas a little. When we do shy away from an original client request, we follow up with explanations of the design decisions we made and why.

You may be wondering why I consider this client’s note a love letter. The answer is simple… it’s a perfect example of what I would like to hear from a client.

  • It goes over business details
  • Highlights business services and promotions, and
  • Gives clear direction on design preferences

As a designer, I don’t need a novel! I just need the basics. The best piece of advice? Keep it simple. Keep the information clear and concise and keep the design relevant to the business. By keeping things simple, you’ll have a happy designer, a killer design returned to you and happy website visitors who immediately understand your business.

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