Educating Clients, Part III: Technological Hurdles

Last week, we talked about the preliminary questions we ask our clients before starting a project. This week, we’re going to talk technology.

One of the most important things we need to know before designing a site is what technology is going to be behind it. If you try and change the technology after the design is done, it could mean an entire site re-design. In order to prevent that (because no one likes do-overs), we usually sit down and ask them what they want their site to do – not just now, but in the future as well.

The Inner Workings

First, we need to know how the insides of the site are going to work. This includes everything from the content management system to the database structure to any third party integration. We ask if they want any special add-ons, where their data is coming from, and if they have any existing tools they want to keep using. We’d far rather be told about that forum they want to add now as opposed to a few days before the site is scheduled to go live.

Content Management

After we get the most basic functions out of the way, we ask about how they plan on managing the content of their site. Are they going to have a blog? How many users will be accessing the site, and do they need special permissions? Different needs call for different platforms, and we need to determine what system is going to provide the best solution before we get started.

Adapting to Future (and Current) Technology

Finally, we ask about technological adaptation the site might need to have. A few years ago, responsive web design might not have been so important, but with the increase in tablet and smartphone usage, we now have to take it into consideration. We can’t always know where the future of technology is going to go, but we can help our clients make informed decisions so that the design we give them will be flexible for the future.

We could go on for hours about all of the small details we need to get from our clients. But the point is fairly simple: if we get this information up front, then we won’t have to make major changes at the last minute.

Check back next week, when we’ll be talking about the importance of planning ahead for a site’s content.

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