Understanding what it is that your client is trying to portray is the first step in designing a website. It is the same thing when you are on a photo shoot. Once you understand your client, then you can move into his/her space and work toward giving them a product that is even better than they imagined.
Find out whose opinion matters and try to find out what they envision. Work with them to prototype the look and feel with colors and font. Let your client see how much work goes into this step of the design process. It can be a time consuming task. Imagery is as important as everything else you do. Do they have images already or do you need to set up a photo shoot? Let them in on the process and tell them what you need from them. What do they dislike? Find out their personal preferences.
Your clients should tell you about their competition, their business, and the future of their brand.
Stay in touch with your client throughout the process and let them know if your schedule includes a vacation which might make it hard for them to get in touch with you. Let them know where you are at. Be approachable and always be at ease.
Try meeting your clients at a relaxing location where you might enjoy having some coffee over your design discussions.
People remember when they felt comfortable with someone and they also remember when they weren’t too impressed.
Always be upbeat, even when you have to say “no”. Explain why something you know won’t work and offer an alternative idea. You will have to gauge each client and try to do the best you can. Things like time limitations and difficult personalities are just part of the real world. You have to deal with these things no matter what you do, and thank goodness most times it’s a really, really fun process. Again, be upbeat even in the face of adversity – why not? There will always be more happy clients.
I am always extremely happy to be challenged with a new project and I hope that my client picks up on that. Together, we can make something awesome, modern, responsive and web 2.0.