5 Things Web Designers Should Prepare When Meeting a Client

Web designers are criticized by business communities sometimes. Despite the rise of user-friendly, attractive solutions; some unappealing design has somehow been deliberately accepted by some companies. Some businesspeople throw around ideas that design is insignificant in the business process. They insist that some online stores with bland web design can outsell stores with much more attractive design. They place web design in such low priority that they are willing to use free WordPress theme or outsource it at a very low price. You may even sense a hint of pride in how ugly their websites are. Web designers should be aware that some business execs have lack of respect for hard-working designers. If you face this situation regularly, it’s important to shatter this barrier and convince your uninformed clients by using language and data they understand.

To “speak business”, web designers should prepare these five things:

1. Use statistics not pretty design

Most designers love to show off their portfolios. Although their designs are stunning, businesspeople are more impressed with numbers. What is the predicted conversion rate of this design? What is the predicted average time-on-site and bounce rate? What are the most clicked areas in the design?

To businesspeople, “visually stunning” or “beautiful” are abstract concepts. Eventually, they’ll consider your design as stunning and beautiful, only if it can improve sales. Obviously, the worst offender in this area is a Flash-rich which is gorgeous but very difficult to update. Web designers should consider the cost/benefit trade off of a website design. Use a slightly less attractive element, if you believe that it can improve sales and make your client happier.

2. Use measurable goal

Abstract goals like “create a strong online presence” or “imprint a lasting memory to consumers” are meaningless to businesspeople. They want measurable goals that are represented with numbers.

These are examples of measurable goals:

  • Sales volume
  • Generated leads
  • New subscribers
  • Opt-ins
  • Incoming phone calls
  • Position in the search engine results

You shouldn’t try to convince them with promise-like goals, such as “A sign-up form with functional design will invite more people to subscribe or register”, instead you should argue by saying, “Based on past results, the use of functional design in the sign-up web page can increase the subscription rate by nearly 40%”.

Even better, try to use data based on a research, “We split tested design A and design B; they converted 25% of subscribers and 40% subscribers, respectively. Based on this data, we recommend the use of design B”. Now you’re talking like a businessman!

3. Use a clear path

A good web designer should get inside the head of an average customer. Visitors may have a burning question in their mind and frantically clicking the search engine results. During this process, they make a split-second decision whether they should stay longer in a website or try the next search result. As a visitor enters your site, they want to have a complete control of it, so they can achieve an intended goal. They tend to look for the first possible solution and click it. Some web designers tried to use give users plenty of options in a single page and it often doesn’t work so well. People don’t want to dwell with something that is hard to figure out. They desire a first solution that can satisfy their needs. You should allow them in control of everything presented in the website and miraculous things may eventually occur; in the form of increased sales and conversion. You should design a site as an understandable process instead of a confusing maze of content and options.

Understand how visitors scan your website; they tend to “read” a website, by starting from top left all the way to bottom right. Another way to quickly evaluate your design is to stand ten feet from the monitor and determine what stand out. Does your website contain elements that jump out? The point is, designers should guide users in how they should experience the site and prevent them from hitting the Back button too quickly.

When representing your design, you should treat clients like a first-time visitor. They should be able to see clear paths in the design; it’s unlikely for clients to agree on something they don’t understand easily.

4. Create a versatile design

When you think about versatile design, you should consider how Google presents itself. The Internet giant offers tons of features, but they are tucked away neatly, so users don’t see all of them. Despite the simplicity, even uninformed users can understand the purpose of the site; it helps them to find just about anything in the Internet. On the other hand, more advanced users can filter the search results with options in the sidebar or specific search syntax.

Creating highly useful website is relatively easy; you only need to attach every online tool available. However, organizing them and keeping the site simple is a different story, as the result, first-time visitors may wonder what the site is for. If it happens, you already lose your customers. Your web design should be as versatile as a Swiss army knife, it is useful and very handy, but you don’t take out all the tools at once.

A simple site can be powerful if it is purposeful. Adding extra stuff can have detrimental effects, such as causing distraction and confusion. Be adamant about choosing only new pieces for your design.

5. Use convincing metrics

Businesspeople love a concise report, such as on how a website design works and performs. Just use simple spreadsheet and it doesn’t have to be too fancy. Google Analytics, for example, can provide basic metrics such as the number of unique visitors, funnel paths, time-on-site and conversion rate. Just by investing some time and effort, you can distinguish yourself from other web designers


You should speak in language that your customers understand to establish good communication. Whenever you become an expert in a field, it is quite easy to lose sight and ignore the fact that not everyone think just like you. You should consider scientists who went through so much schooling and literally speak in a different language when they gather together. When it comes to meeting your clients, you should understand how businesspeople talk with one another, which allows you to mingle with them much more easily. Switch gear and act like a business person!

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About the author, Oussama Afellad

I'm an 18 years old web and graphic designer. I was born in a nice city in the north of Morocco, called Tangier; The gate between Africa and Europe! My journey to get here has involved a lot of personal projects, designing and optimising clients' websites etc... As for now, I work as a freelancer, I spend my time developing a number of my clients' websites and creating templates and graphics to sell them on the envato marketplaces.

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