Questions to ask before starting a website design project

For any successful web design project, it is crucial to understand the client, their objectives, the nature of their business and the customers they serve before you stitch pixels with code.
Website projects can quickly go south if you aren’t adequately prepared from the start. You need to have the right information to deliver appropriate and effective solutions for your clients and gathering that information should be your top priority.

Here are five key questions we think can help gather helpful information about your new project;

  1. Can you give a brief description of your business?
    In some cases, your client’s business may appear blindingly obvious, but you should never assume anything. Ask them to sum up their business in a few short sentences; this sentence usually makes up the headline of their website - in most cases it bears their core service offering and their unique selling proposition

  2. What are your goals for this project?
    “What’s your primary goal for the site? What do you want most from it? Quote requests, online sales, class booking, more memberships etc?”. This question will help you and your team adequately decide which design/development approach will work best for the project.

  3. What features do you want this website to have?
    You need to know your clients preferred list of features, creative direction and style preferences so as to align that with your design thinking. Most successful web projects are achieved when the clients know they are part of the decision making and their ideas are refined to better suit the customers they serve.

  4. How can we avoid failure on the project?
    Equally as important as knowing what will make a project a success is knowing what will make it fail. When chatting with your client, try to get them to list features, designs, or styles that they absolutely do not want their website to contain.
    Try to understand your client’s preferences as regards site layouts, use of photography, copy and other key areas of the website as this knowledge can help streamline your work and help you avoid countless revisions down the line.

  5. Who are your competitors or industry key players?
    Once your client indicates their main rivals, you can gather information online that will help guide your web design. Also, study international key players in their industry. Look at the elements that work well on their sites, and see if there are things that fall flat. The intention here isn’t to copy what’s been done before, but to learn from their successes and failures.

  6. What’s your budget and deadline for this project?
    Budget and deadlines are an integral part of any project and defining it in your initial client meeting will allow you to assess whether or not the project is a right fit for your team. The budget allows you to understand how much the project means to the client and how much they are willing and ready to invest in order to bring their vision to life.
    Deadlines, on the other hand, help you create an effective project schedule that keeps you and your team on track.

How do you start your new web design projects?
What other information do you always try to gather from your clients to ensure the project runs smoothly without hiccups?