Monday June 20, 2005

Ten Questions.

Meeting with a new client for the first time can be an exciting event. It’s a chance to start off fresh on new projects, new relationships, and new ideas. The client is counting on you to solve their problems. Obviously, every client will have a different problem for you to solve upon entering that first meeting. They may not even realize they have a problem to solve. Their only expectation may be that you will make their website prettier, or bring it in line with their current identity. As such, there is not catch-all batch of questions to satisfy all the problem-solving and information-gathering that takes place at this initial meeting. But assuming there was, what ten “generic” questions would you ask to determine the needs, direction, redirection and solutions the client needs?


Graham Peel » 5937 days ago #

In no particluar order:

1) Do you need any portions of the site with which users can interact with the site (online event/seminar registration, feedback/contact forms, driving directions, newsletter sign-up, etc)?

2) What are some specific results you want to achieve with this website?

3) What specific kind if user is the most important for you to impress with the site?

4) Who are your competitors and what are their websites like?

5) How often will you need updates to be made on the site?

6) How quickly do you need the site completed by?

7) What is the availability of the key parties during this timeframe?

8) Why do you want to change your site?

9) How could we make your new site more useful than your competitors’ sites?

10)What is your budget for this project?

Zeerus » 5937 days ago #

also in no order

1. What do you want to get across to site visitors immediately?

2. What special features will the site need?

3. Do you have any online examples that you like, or would like th eproduct to be modeled after?

4. How much are you willing to spen don this project?

5. Will the website need updating, and if needed does somebody need to be trained to do this?

6. Why have you chosen this form of presentation?

7. How did you come in contact with my firm?

8. What audience are you looking to attract?

9. Will this project be for personal, business, or public use?

10. Do you have any ideas or comments on this project?

pretty much the same as Graham’s. As always, your updates are always of the highest quality Jared. I’m always excited when my feed reader shows a new post from your site

Graham Peel » 5937 days ago #

My department and I have really put a lot of time into “locking down” the variables of the web design projects we take on.

It’s long overdue, but we’ve just started requiring official acceptance of designs, specifications, etc. Also, we had been underpricing ourselves in the estimates, and then always going over budget on the billable time clocked to complete the job.

You really need to get your stuff together before you start talking to the client, or it becomes very easy to slide down the slippery slope of scope creep.

Jared Christensen » 5936 days ago #

Great questions! Keep ‘em coming. I know more than 2 people have read this post. ;) You don’t even have to write ten questions… just as many as you can think of.

sxates » 5936 days ago #

I feel like with many websites, a lot of the questions being asked above are better answered by me. Features the site needs I think are better left to my suggestion, rather than their query, simply because I’m in a better position to know where special features would best be applied, and where they would be impractical or a waste of time. Checking out competitors is my job as well, though it’s good to know if the client has a particular rival they need to top.

I tend to be more interested in defining the client’s expectations for the site. Making sure the “why” behind building a site is the right why. Many of my questions are really just designed to get the client thinking about their website the way I think they should be. Is this a business card, a brochure, an industry leading info portal, or a piece in a more elaborate marketing campaign designed to serve a very specific segment of the market? Is it a primary selling tool, or reinforcement of other marketing efforts and a place to make a more detailed pitch to potential customers? I start asking those, and then I usually answer them for them, based on what I think would best serve their needs. Stuff like budgets and timeframes are kind of a given.

Benvolio » 5934 days ago #

Great topic.

I actually have a little questionnaire I send to clients before I agree to do the work. It’s kinda there to set their expectations that they’re going to be involved in the whole process (there’s not 10 to – there’s 12).

1. Do you have a specific deadline in mind for this project?

2. Do you have any supporting media that requires delivery by this date (e.g. Print / Press campaign)

3. In one sentence describe the goods or service(s) that you offer through your core business.

4. Use three words to describe these goods or services.

5.Do you currently have an online strategy? If so what is it?

6. What business goals do you hope to achieve through this project?

7. What brand goals do you hope to achieve through this project?

8. User scenarios
As a reference point throughout the project, likes to develop up to three user scenarios. These scenarios personify real-life users and their goals when they come to your website. Think of them as examples of your three market segments. Your user scenarios are made up of two parts.

a.User description
b.User goal

(here I insert a sample user scenario as a template. This is just the jumping off point for these scenarios – but it’s important the customer is involved at this stage.)

9.Are there any special needs users in your online audience we need to consider?

10. Do you need to update the site on a regular basis? If so, how often and with what kind of content?

11. Do you have any corporate guidelines for style? E.g. Mandatory fonts, colour palette, strap lines, images and logos

12. What other websites do you like?

Andy Rutledge » 5930 days ago #

1. Why do you need this website?

2. Why do your clients/visitors need this website?

3. What is the most important function of this site (to you and your clients)?

4. What lifestyle, point of view, culture and/or attitude does your company/brand represent or identity with?

5. What should the core message of this site be (to your visitors)?

6. Who are your clients or target audience?

7. How is your company/brand currently perceived by your target audience and how do you know this?

8. How should your company/brand be perceived by your tarket audience?

9. How will you promote your company/brand after the launch of this site?

10. How will you measure the success of this site redesign?

These are the basics, IMO. They establish what the client needs (rather than what the client’s individual preferences are) and how the client guages success. It also helps to identify whether or not the client has a clear understanding of his/her brand. For what it’s worth.

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