How to Clearly Communicate What You Want (and Get It!)
One of the exercises in our three-point brand strategy process involves asking our clients to send examples of websites they like. More importantly, we ask them to share with us what specifically they like about the sites they send. This helps us better understand their style preferences, as well as what functionality and aesthetics they’re drawn to.
It’s very common for us to receive responses that include “typical” websites. These websites are fine, don’t get us wrong, but they look like most other sites out there and tend to fall into one of several “current trends” categories.
Unfortunately, most designers are going to assume you want the same exact thing, and when this is the case, you’re going to end up with a poor quality knock off of what a LOT of other people already have. Not only will you have typical, but you’ll also have unoriginal, a poor combination when you’re trying to position yourself as the leader in your market!
These get you online, but if you’re investing money in the design and development of a custom WordPress website, wouldn’t you rather have something totally original? Something that’s a spot on representation of who you are, and what you do? A website that sets you apart from your competitors and allows you to cut straight through all the internet clutter?
We’re able to see past the surface responses and create unique solutions that far exceed our client’s expectations because we know the right questions to ask. If you’re working with a designer who doesn’t, you both may end up spinning your wheels in frustration from the unavoidable communication issues that will arise.
How to Communicate What You Want
1) Get really clear about WHY you like what you like.
If you like another website, make a list of all the reasons, big and small. Don’t just say you like the colors, express what those colors make you feel. Do they feel warm and inviting? Do they remind you of an experience you once had? If so, how does that experience tie into the experience you’re trying to create for your customers?
Rather than saying, “I like how they used radials…” try using words like, “I love how the use of radials gives off an illuminating feel on this site.” Rather than, “I like how they used a picture of a tree,” try expressing, “I like how the picture of the tree gives this site an and earthy and outdoorsy feel.” The more descriptive you can be with your reasoning, the more insight you’ll provide about what you’re REALLY looking for.
It’s your job to paint a clear picture of what you want the design to convey, it’s the designers job to show you the best visual representation of that experience. If you say you like the tree, you’ll get trees. If you say you like outdoorsy and natural, you’ll get outdoorsy and natural executed in a way that’s right for your business.
2) Don’t Use Words and Phrases That Have No Meaning
Make it pop. Add some flair. It needs to look cool. These phrases hold no weight because what “pop” means to you may not be what “pop” means to us or anyone else. It’s impossible to decipher vague statements such as “make it cool.” Make it cool for who? You? The target audience? Either way, what is the definition of cool?
Again, you need to be extremely clear on what’s not working or what you want to see more of. Instead of make it cool, get specific about what you’re seeing in your mind when you think of cool. Is it more distressed? More of a hip hop, street feel? Maybe it’s more of an “old school” cool, and if so, what specifically are you visualizing?
3) Don’t Ask for a Carbon Copy of Another Site
Once you learn how to specify what you’re looking for, be very clear that you do not want an exact copy of what you’re showing to your designer. This should be a given, but unfortunately with some it’s not. Make sure that you’ve partnered with a designer who takes the time to get to know you, your business and your target market. The best designers out there are those who understand the importance of brand and marketing strategy.
We take the time and care to get to know these three essential areas within every business we’re partnered with. That information, paired with a CLEAR understanding of what you’re drawn to visually and why, is how we’re able to deliver unique, custom and completely on-target design solutions for our clients.
Far too often we receive redesign requests from people who are completely dissatisfied with work they paid good money for. This pains us because it’s completely unnecessary for anyone to ever waste time and money on a design they don’t LOVE and one that doesn’t completely represent their business.
Prevention begins with learning how to clearly communicate what you want and what experience you want to convey.
Take Action Now!
Where can you work on being clearer in your communication? Think of three things you’ve recently requested and rework those into phrases that hold more weight and clear meaning. Share them in the comments below!
Need help? Share your request in the comments below and we’ll help you out.