Communication is the key to a successful web design process. When working with another person or a team of people, maintaining healthy, constructive communication will assist in project completion and ensure your needs are met. This is true for the web designer or web design team as well. Focusing on positive communication will keep the project on track and secure a happy, satisfied client.
We all know that communication is crucial to all aspects of the human experience, however, we also know how easy it is to miscommunicate and/or participate in negative communication. We’re only human, yes, but learning how to successfully create and maintain positive communication with another party will lead to a great web design experience and website.
This article will outline how all involved parties can create and maintain effective communication for a successful web design process.
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Listen to Understand
We all listen while someone is talking but sometimes we still misunderstand what the other party is trying to tell us. Many times, we listen solely to react and not to truly understand. We plan our speaking points while they are talking instead of using that time to absorb and think about the information they are trying to communicate. Listening to react can lead to misunderstandings down the road and derail a project.
To listen effectively, understanding what’s being communicated is a given but you also must read in between the lines. This will help you identify and address holes in their understanding as well as your own. For example, if a client mentions sending you a draft of their content for you to ‘review and give feedback’ but you do not offer content writing services, gently remind them of your role in launching your web presence and clearly address if you’re willing to review the content or not. If you are able to review the content, let them know upfront what to expect from your feedback and even suggest a content writing resource if you know any.
During and after the conversation, quickly summarize the discussion and the next steps for the other party. Doing this allows the other person to confirm your summary and the next steps or clarify points you may have misunderstood. This also helps build trust within the relationship and shows the other person that you’re listening and working to understand their wants and needs. You can also follow up via email with the confirmed summary and next steps to ensure everyone stays on track and accountable throughout the process. Email also helps to realign a project if issues arise as it serves as a record of past discussions and agreements.
As soon as you realize a miscommunication has occurred, let the other party know and work to correct it immediately. If possible, jump on the phone for a quick call as long emails or messages can overwhelm an already confused party. In addition, during a miscommunication, tone and intention in an email, no matter how innocent, can still be misread and make the miscommunication worse. Overall, comfort and remind the other party that you are both working towards the same goal — to create a great website! Though it may be tempting to engage in defensive communication, it will not help resolve the issue or move the project forward.
Also, while clearing up a miscommunication, try to figure out why it happened. By figuring out the source of the miscommunication, you can work towards implementing practices to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.
The golden rule always wins. Treat the other party like you would want to be treated. Projects are most successful when everyone involved is pleasant and patient. If you hired a web design, remember that even though they are the expert, they still may need guidance on your preferences and tastes. Also, as a web designer, remember that the client may not know about web design at all and will need you to help guide them through the process successfully.
Treating the other party with respect and maintaining positive communication throughout the process will yield wonderful results! Learn more about the web design process with our Web Design articles!
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