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Craig Greenup 11/10/23, 08:34
Here at Radical Web Design, we have all the tech wizardry and creativity we need to build beautiful, user-friendly websites. But that wouldn’t mean much if we didn’t also know how to foster good agency-client communication.
Good communication is about more than just the words you say. So in this post, we take a look at how we ensure good communication between us (the agency) and you (our clients). And why this is such an important part of the web design process.
Good agency-client communication helps a web design project to run smoothly. That’s because when the two teams gel, you get all of the following.
Clear communication gets everyone on the same page from the start. You don’t get halfway through a project only to realise that you’ve been working at cross purposes. Instead, you align goals and expectations so everyone understands where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
Open communication helps you to build a trusting client-agency relationship. And where there’s trust, it’s easy to share information, ask questions and be honest about any roadblocks your team is experiencing.
Projects sometimes experience the odd hiccup. But with good agency-client communication, you can work together to identify and solve problems quickly – before they cause bigger issues or delays.
Good agency-client communication is the foundation of good web design. Clients are much more likely to get the results they’re looking for when there’s been easy, open communication every step of the way.
Here are the communication rules we live by at Radical Web Design. Whether you’re a client or an agency, we’re confident that they’ll help you build a more effective partnership.
This is a stage that you should never rush. While it’s tempting to get started on the work of website building, you save time in the long run by getting to know who you’re working with.
As an agency, we like to find out as much as possible about our clients and their business. We do this with the help of a web design brief and lots of in-depth chat.
We find out about a client’s brand, target market, competitors and USPs. We get to know where their business started. And where they want it to go.
We also find out exactly what they need from their company website.
With this information, we get a complete understanding of a client’s problems and needs. We’re then much better placed to create a web design roadmap and to work as an extension of the client team.
Communication is easier when you can follow the conversation thread. So it’s best if everyone sticks to a few designated channels.
Tools like Slack, Asana and Google Docs are useful for sharing information internally. But they’re a handy way to share ideas, schedules and documents between clients and agencies too.
So decide which tools you plan to use. And where both the client and agency should direct queries and issues.
As well as deciding how you’ll get in touch, establish when you can each expect communication from each other too.
How often will a client get updates from the agency? When will the agency need input from the client? At what times can you expect a point of contact to be available?
By answering these questions, you align expectations and keep everyone in the loop.
When you have an open and straightforward approach to agency-client communication, you build trust. And you end up having more meaningful conversations.
You don’t bamboozle clients with web design jargon. Both parties share all available information. And in the rare case that there’s a mistake, you own up to it. You admit fault, come up with a plan of action and move forward.
An open style of communication helps both clients and agencies feel comfortable questioning assumptions. They ask lots of questions – even the ones that seem silly. And everyone provides honest feedback.
In our experience, simple, honest, non-technical communication helps to keep a project on track.
In a new client-agency relationship, it’s easy to misunderstand where the other party is coming from. This can create unnecessary conflict or confusion. But it’s an issue that’s easy to solve if you employ empathetic communication.
Being empathetic means understanding and responding to the feelings of the person you’re talking to. And it helps you to build better partnerships.
You can be more empathetic by reading body language and tone of voice. And by looking for the things that aren’t being said. For example, if a client keeps circling back to the same topic, this is probably an issue that really matters to them.
Be careful with your own body language and tone of voice too. Nodding and maintaining eye contact shows that you’re actively listening. A simple “I see what you mean” can also work wonders.
Another tip for empathetic communication? Give people the benefit of the doubt – even in moments of disagreement.
When you try to see things from another perspective and work on the presumption that everyone is equally invested in making the project a success, it’s easier to find common ground.
No-one likes being left in the dark. And when a client doesn’t get regular updates they can start to worry.
A good agency provides regular progress updates, letting a client know that project milestones are being met. A good client does their bit by providing feedback as per the agreed schedule.
Both the agency and client need to give updates when anything related to the project changes. Perhaps a client decides they want to add a new website function. Or the agency realises that they need to take a different approach from the one originally planned.
Whatever the change, everyone on both sides of the partnership should be made aware of what’s happening and how you expect this change to affect the project budget or deadlines. Timely communication gives agency and client-side teams enough time to discuss and make alterations.
Good communication relies on you doing what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it. For agencies, this means managing client expectations – and not overpromising. You should feel confident that you can deliver the project on time and to the agreed schedule.
The best clients are also dependable. They don’t shift the goalposts partway through a project. And they understand that if they do make changes to the agreed project plan, budgets and deadlines may also have to shift.
We’ve talked a lot about putting an agreed plan in place. About establishing expectations and sticking to promises. But there’s one more rule we try to follow in agency-client communication – and that’s flexibility.
When both agencies and clients offer a bit of flexibility, you get better results. An agency can adapt its approach to meet client needs. A flexible client encourages innovative and creative ideas from their agency.
Flexibility is also useful when the project runs into unexpected hurdles. When an agency and its client can adapt to changes and challenges, they work more collaboratively together.
As we said earlier, these are the communication rules the Radical Web Design team sticks to in every client relationship.
We have years of experience getting to know client needs, building awesome partnerships and providing effective, creative solutions.
The Radical team is ready and waiting to kickstart your web design project. So if you’d like more information or want to discuss your project plans, don’t hesitate to get in touch.