How to Communicate with your Web Designer

Do you have a project which requires the service of a Web Developer, this article describes to you 7 tips to help communicate with your Web Designer effectively. It will help you eliminate confusion and waste of time.

1) Know What You Want

Before you even think about approaching a developer to help you with your project, it’s vital you have a clear idea of what you want. We’re not just talking about the big picture here. You need to have the finer details and small print that describe and define your project.

Be prepared to clearly document your objectives and create detailed instructions and guidelines anyone can follow to get the job done. Imagine that you were suddenly removed from the job, could your team finish the project?

Depending on the project, this documentation might include a style guide, mock-ups, and/or flowcharts. If you don’t know exactly what you want, there’s little chance even the best developer will deliver something you’re happy with. Time spent up front hammering out the details is never time wasted. The less you assume and the more you document, the smoother the project runs.

2) Do Your Research

So you need some customized programming for your existing website. What program language will your developer need to be proficient in? If you want to hire a developer to add a members-only section to your WordPress website, what plugin should they use? These are the types of questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you approach a developer about your project.

You don’t need to have all the answers; after all, you’re hiring a developer for their expertise. However, doing a bit of research on what you hope to achieve and how the project can be completed makes it easier to find someone with the right skills and to ensure the work is completed in the way that you need.

Just remember not to go too far the other way and try to bluff your way through conversations. Be comfortable with exposing your ignorance. You’re the expert at what you do, and the developer is the expert at what they do.

3) Choose Your Tools and Methodologies

Managing a project through email may have been a viable option in the past, but times have changed. Using your inbox as a check-off list isn’t the most productive way to get things done.

Don’t forget to define a communication schedule to let your developer know what to expect. Include the turnaround time you expect for communications and what format you’d like reports to be in.

4) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

If you’re not sure why your developer has done something in a certain way, ask. Again, there’s no need to try to hide your lack of knowledge, so don’t be afraid to respectfully question their decisions – within reason of course!

If your developer can’t give an adequate answer for something they’re proposing or something they’ve done, they might not be the right person for the job.

5) Stick to Your Guns

Often the reason you’re hiring a developer is because they can do something you can’t or have a higher level of expertise in the field they’re working in. However, this doesn’t mean you should let them talk you into changing your mind or adjusting your project to suit their needs. A good developer should be trusted to use their expertise to get the job done in the way they think best, but remember, it’s your project and your vision they’re working to realize.

6) Give Useful Feedback

As mentioned, your project plan should include ongoing communication with frequent updates from your developer. This ensures your project stays on track and that you don’t find yourself with something totally different than what you initially expected.

To make the most of regular updates, be sure to provide useful feedback to your developer. If you don’t like something, let them know why. Nothing is more frustrating than being told something is wrong and not knowing why. And demoralizing your developer is not the way to get what you want. Make sure your feedback is meaningful and actionable at all times—even when you’re happy with the work.

7) Don’t Burn Your Bridges

As you never know when you might need to work together again, it’s vital that you keep on good terms with your developer as the project is wrapping up. Almost all software will need updating and improving over time, so make sure you keep to your end of the deal after the project is signed off – whether that’s settling the invoice on time, leaving feedback on a freelancer website, or writing a testimonial.

Final Thoughts

While you may be lucky enough to find a developer who understands your vision from the outset, most of the time that’s not the case. We hope these seven tips will help you communicate more efficiently with your developer. Clearly defining your vision, explaining your requirements up front, and providing your developer with helpful feedback are all key to ensuring the project meets your expectations

What concerns do you have about working with a developer? Have you run into problems in the past? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.