What Clients Say and What They Mean – Guide for Web Designers


Fellow writer Arfa recently wrote an article, a guide for prospect clients to communicate with Web Designers and Web Developers. I’m doing the opposite; I’m writing a guide for Web Designers for communicating with their clients.

On many occasions, clients are unable to define their needs and the design they have in mind. This is not their fault actually, they don’t know our geeky terminology and have no idea about our working patterns. So if we are able to understand their mind in their own words, this would make our and their lives a lot easier, not to mention the commercial success.

We Want a Good Design

Ok Sign

Many times your client will tell you that they need a good design. What is a good design? This is the trickiest question out there. Everyone has their own criteria for a “good design”.

We just need to find out that criteria are for this client. Doing that is in fact not that hard. Here are some simple steps through which you can easily find out what will seem “good” to them.

Questions They Have in Mind

Question Mark

There are a few basic questions which every client has in mind before he/she comes to you, and since some questions can be considered a little rude, the client doesn’t ask it directly; some stupid questions take place instead and the designer has a hard time understanding that why this question is being asked.

Despite the fact that you are a freelancer or a small business company, you should answer these questions even before the client asks it is almost certain that you will nail this client. Here are a few of those questions:

Are You Eligible for Designing My Site?

Being polite, a client will never ask this question so bluntly, but believe me, this is the main question he has in mind. If you have designed sites of any similar kind of business, name it. But the best way to show them that you can do the job is to learn about their business.

Inquire how they work, what are the fundamentals of that business. Basically, you just want to get a sense that how their business works. If you already have knowledge of that particular business type, tell them about it. Nobody can do the job better than the one who knows how their business functions.

Why Do You Cost So….

Whether you cost low or high, the client will be thinking that why are you so costly or cheap, whatever kind of price you have quoted. If you cost more, you need to tell them the elements that make you better among the rest and cost more. And if you cost less, why is that… and why the quality will not be compromised.

Are You Dependable (Freelancers)

This is the basic problem with freelancers, they are not always very punctual, and the clients know that. So you need to assure them you do always meet the deadlines and the schedule of work. Tell them how much value you give to being punctual.

Finding Their Priorities


Some people like a clean simple kind of design for their logo, website or whatever, while some people like their design very catchy, flashy and colorful.

To find out what they prefer, you should ask them of the relevant design they like. If they want a website, ask them what other website designs do they find pleasant. Once you get them rolling, they will keep telling that they fell in love with a menu (navigation bar) from one site, an intro from another and a layout from a different one.  Pretty soon, you will have a good idea about their likes and dislikes.

Discovering Their Needs

You should always remember one thing; you are the professional, not your client. So they might have an idea, but it is your job and your duty to modify their idea in such a way that it fulfills their needs.

For example, if your client is a doctor and he wants a website for his clinic, your website design should be simple and clean. If the client thinks otherwise, you should explain your point of view.

When a client comes to you, he likes your opinion; or better said, your honest opinion. Being honest very important, but staying diplomatic has to stay your antecedence nevertheless. The client should not feel that you are “rejecting” their idea.

To make it short, I think the best way find needs of a person is to visit the websites of his competitors. Observe the prominent points on their websites, and above all, how they have designed their websites. You will be able to design the ideal website for your client after these tours to the opponent’s websites.

Staying in Touch

I must confess, this is a point I’m stealing from Arfa’s article. As you start the design, keep sending the blue prints and the design as it is made. This not only keeps the client updated and satisfied, but if he wants to make a change somewhere, he would inform you and so you won’t have edit the design after you made the whole design.


Let’s go through the steps once again.

1.       Meet a client

2.       Find out what kind of designs does he like.

3.       Visit the opponent websites

4.       Observe Prominent Points

5.       Give your review on their design.

6.       While designing, keep your client updated with the design process.

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Further Related Readings

  1. Glenn Ferrell February 26, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Now we need an post on how to create a relationship that gets the busy client to supply content on schedule, answer questions/emails on schedule. Small business owners are truly overwhelmed by the daily business workload, and getting critical inputs for the completion of a website can be challenging.

    1. Tayyab September 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Well said @Glenn and it is very nice of you to be so understanding. Usually designers start to feel annoyed when the clients are not running on schedule.
      And sorry for the late reply, I was on holidays.

  2. Stefan March 4, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Glenn is right! I once had a client who was pushing me to finish his design sooner than we agreed. But his answers to my questions and his feedback always came after 2 or 3 days.
    Back to the subject, good article Tayyab!

    1. Tayyab September 17, 2011 at 9:29 am

      Thank you very much Stefan!
      I was on holidays that’s why I couldn’t reply earlier. my apologies

  3. Shankar Kuru May 5, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Great article!
    We always think like a client. It’s the only way we can give a solution.

    Shankar Kuru

    1. Tayyab May 5, 2011 at 11:27 am


      Though you just commented for the publicity of your business, but thanks for reading the article.

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