Revision Time: Making the Most of It
April 12, 2012
Website construction is an entirely collaborative process. The creation of an amazing site depends not only on a talented designer, but also on a client for articulating a vision, attentiveness to the project, knowledge of their business or product, and ability to communicate their goals and requirements. (It does not, however, rely on a client with design knowledge).
The design revision process is a key part of this. It is where we make adjustments to the design to bring it more in line with your vision.
Now, don’t start sweating. We are here to help you through this and are sure that together we will make something great. We have some great tips from our experience to pass along to help you know what makes your revision time the most effective and efficient.
Let’s start with advice for the best way to make revisions. Then we’ll talk a little bit about things to avoid.
The best way to request revisions is to write down a list of the items you would like to see changed and send them to us in an organized e-mail.
Each revision is most helpful it if includes:
- Which part you would like to changed (e.g. which template to change and where it is located on the page).
- What is it that seems to need correction (nicely please....for example: I have trouble reading that font)
- Why you would like it changed (for example: this is an issue because we expect that many seniors with poor eyesight will be using the website). And, finally:
- The general direction that you would like to see the change take (for example: please use a larger or clearer font)
And here are a few tips and potential pitfalls:
Timeliness: It is very important that you submit the revisions in a timely fashion. Not only can revision delays derail the project timetable, but the design process works best when there is a continuity of work flow. Usually we expect to receive revisions from a client within 48 hours of our sending the design.
Keep it Constructive: Keeping the changes constructive and positive is beneficial. Not that our feelings are that easily hurt, but it enables us to focus our energy on the result and not on judgments that do not assist with the process.
Keep it Clear: Try to be as specific and directional about the revisions as possible. Open-ended questions, like "what do you think about the color red?” have little value for improving the sites design. We simply don't know what to do when we get revision requests like that.
Be Concise: Keeping it to the point, helps us produce better results in less time. Not only are the revisions clearer, but we can implement more of them in the allotted time if they are to the point.
Warning! Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen: A good design first and foremost requires a coherent vision. Usually the more design opinions that come into play, the less coherent the end design. Possibly the worst design revisions we have ever received were from a client who was submitting a set of revisions for himself and another for his boss, who had a completely contrary design idea. This can really ruin the effectiveness of a design. It may also make us lose our minds.
Trust in Our Experience: Try to keep your revisions focuses on achieving the results for your project and what is missing from that objective, instead of design opinions. Our responsibility is to maintain responsibility on the coherence of the design. Trust in our knowledge of what we are doing and why we are doing it. We have years of training and experience behind us and know how to achieve a goal with the web site design. It is always quite possible we missed some element of your goal in our design and that is your job to bring that to our attention. However, please focus on your knowledge and experience around your project and industry (so we can focus on the design solutions). That is most what we are in need of from your input to really create a great result.
Warning! Pixel Pushing: Try to focus on the big picture. We find some clients, in their search for perfection “lose the forest for the trees”. Trying to make design changes on moving elements slightly one way or the other, usually results in overlooking more important changes. We put things in certain locations based on design standards, user research, and vast experience.
Think Twice Before Asking to Make Your Logo Larger: This is the design process equivalent of looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking you look fat. The desire for clients to want to see a larger logo is almost always more about self-perception and identity than it is about the reality of the size of the logo. Despite our designs putting logos sized well within web standards, we still receive requests from about 70% of clients asking to enlarge the logo. This is consistent with what other web studios report. As well, the standards being correct can be confirmed by numerous user studies. Trust us when we tell you making the logo huge will not help people notice it - it will only distract from your site and make things seem unbalanced. If you are still unsure feel free to check some of the pages of major companies and see the size of their logos.
Compile Your Revisions: Design changes need to be made together and with consideration of the whole design. When we move one element, we might need to move another. So getting drips and drabs of changes, instead of a list of changes, not only can take substantially more time, but can negatively affect a design’s coherence. Usually the best design results from one or two design rounds maximum.
Clear Approval: Being clear when the design is approved and there are no more changes to be made is essential. Actually using the word “approved” is fantastic. Leaving it ambiguous as to whether there will be more changes, doesn’t let us know when to move on.
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