When approached about taking a web design project, the first thing I do is to ask a series of questions of the site owner. The idea is to get him or her thinking about important aspects of the web site before any work begins.
I send the potential client a questionnaire with questions ranging from technology needed to budget and timeframe expected. I also explain my web design philosophy: simple, clean, and to-the-point (read more about the simpledream philosophy).
In summary, these were:
- Who is the site for?
- What are the visitors trying to achieve when they visit the site?
- What does the site owner want visitors to achieve when they visit?
- How frequently do people expect to use the site?
- How will the site owners measure the success of the site?
This is a good start; the only one I would change is number four. My number four would be: “Budget: how much do you want to spend in time and money?” Knowing how much investment a potential client wants to make in the site makes a big difference on whether I take the project or not.
Money is not the only thing, either. Respect for you as the designer, time spent preparing content, and overall concern for the site’s success go a long way. Typically, if the client is excited about their site and wants to be involved in the process, the site itself has a greater chance of being successful.
There are other important questions for web sites including what technology is required, how much maintenance is needed once the site is launched, and what marketing exposure is required. The ability to answer these questions honestly gives you and the client a great foundation to build upon if you decide to work on a project together.
What questions would you ask? Do share.