Client Communication

Going from website concept to a fully realized site

Created by Michael Wender / @mwender

How would you do it?

You've landed your first gig designing and developing a website for a new client. Now it's time to work with her on her site's design and layout. Where do you start?

Step 1a: Structure

I like to start by asking my clients to generate a list representing their site's page structure.

Example Page Structure

  • Home
  • About
    • History
    • Staff
  • Products
  • Blog
  • Contact

Step 1b: Content

While the client is working on her site's structure, have her propose the type of content for each page.

Page Structure w/ Content

  • Home - hero unit, about section, recent posts
  • About
    • History - text
    • Staff - bios with photos
  • Products - shopping cart with on-site checkout/payment
  • Blog
  • Contact - contact form along with address, phone, email, etc

Step 2: Beta Website

Once I've received the client's preliminary structure and rough content, I can build a beta website. At this point, it's also good to have the client's 1) logo and 2) color palette.

Step 3: Site Design/Layout

Once I've got the beta website built, the client must provide me with her content. Next I do an initial layout for each page of the site. We work together to refine each page's layout/design to meet the client's specifications.

Appendix: Avoid email!

Avoid using email as your primary means of communicating with clients. Email has these drawbacks:

  1. Email is a distracting medium. Your inbox gets cluttered quickly.
  2. Email is limited in its functionality. No options for todos, schedules, etc.
  3. Email lacks key organizational features. Things get lost in there.

Use Project Management Software

Find a project management software that you like, and insist that your client interacts with you inside it.