What to Know Before Your Website Design Consultation

Be Specific and Exact

During the design interview with a client, a designer will typically ask the client if he or she has any specific design elements to be included in the design. During many website design discussions, clients will come to the table with no idea what they want and make it seem as though the designer has creative freedom. But, as a designer, I’ve learned it is best to ask if there is anything the client does not want to see before moving forward.

One great way to give a designer an idea of your do’s and don’ts is to provide a list of reference websites. Providing these sites is not enough, however, as you will need to be specific in regard what you like and dislike about each site provided. For example, “I like the navigation bar on this site because it is yellow, but I don’t like it on that one because it is red.” Notice there are specific reasons to like one navigation bar over the other. Additional items that are valuable during the design process are colors, logos, and patterns you would like to see in a mock-up design.

Hand Over All of Your Media

Gather together all of the media you own including photos, images, videos, vector art, brochures, posters, previous Ad copy, and marketing materials. Photos and images can be supplied to the designer via email, CD or stock photo websites. It helps to have these items selected and prepared and given to the designer before starting the design process. If your company has access to an online storage database of marketing materials, come prepared with a way to give your designer access to the website. Handing over these materials to your designer will give him/her the ability to develop a concept that can both “wow” you and stay grounded in what your company is currently and historically about.

What is a Website Design Interview?

Having a design interview for a website is a vital part of the web design process. The goal of a design interview is to communicate to the designer what the color scheme, layout, look, and feel of the website you want should be. Once the design interview has been completed successfully, the designer should have a great idea of how to create a client-pleasing design.

Tips for a Successful Design Interview

You should be sure to give your designer plenty of detailed information. If the information you submit to your designer is inadequate, a delay in the completion of your website design is almost inevitable. Remember- Too much information is always better than not enough.

1) Begin by explaining what your business is all about.

During the design interview, it is best to educate the designer on your business. Describing your business and your target audience will help your designer get a feel for what needs to be communicated in the mock-up. There is no need to give a detailed historiography, just enough that the designer knows your purpose.

For example:

    • What do you do?
    • Bullet point company history.
    • What market are you in?
    • Prepare an evaluation of your business as a whole and compare it to your competitors.
    • Why do you need a new website and what is your goal for the site?
    • Provide geographical information, demographics, and clientele preference if you can.

2) Have a Purpose for Your New Website

Be able to give a reason for your website, how it will benefit your business and what its objectives are.

    • What is the overall goal? Generate sales/leads, sell product/services, inquiries, gain newsletter subscribers, obtain information or develop recommendations?
    • What is your main message?
    • Are you seeking to create a new image for your company or to develop an existing image?

Giving your designer details like this will ultimately make the initial mock-up much better and cut down on a lot of the circular process of having a design approved.

3) Know and Describe Your Competition

Consider your competitors and the websites of your competitors:

    • Bring a list of the sites of your competition and what you like and dislike about it along with any feedback you may have received from your customers.

4) Let the Designer Know What Basic Elements You Would Like to Have On Your Site

In this area of the design interview, you will need to discuss a number of different items. There are some items that you will need to supply to the designer and some of the items may need to be created by the designer. However, these items are ones you want to see on your website and it is best to discuss it with the designer pre-design. Here are items to consider.

    • Logos – .EPS, vector format is best. Work to retrieve this format from the logo designer if possible. If not, your logo might be able to be recreated.  Any branding considerations need to be expressed to the designer also. This includes registered trademarks, alternate names for the company, and alternate logos.
    • Existing marketing/branding rules regarding colors and logos should be provided.
    • Do you have a trademarked tagline or copy that must be used?
    • Provide stock images or resources of the like for the designer.

5) Updating your current website design?

It is best to provide the designer some reasons why updating your current website is necessary. This is a great opportunity to provide reasons why because they are things the designer will need to avoid on the new design.

    • Why a redesign?
    • What do you want to keep from the old site?
    • What must go away?
    • What must improve in the new design over the old?


Each designer will be different as will each design interview. The ultimate goal should be to provide the designer with as much information as you can upfront and not wait for the second mock-up before you divulge important information. This will cut down on your designer’s headaches as well as your own. Designers take satisfaction in your satisfaction. Enable us early on to meet your needs.

Information adapted from http://www.beendesigned.org/brief.html

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