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Let's face it - even asking somebody to design a 'quick and simple' web site to a Freelancer is liking telling somebody to just go write a 'quick and simple' book - you need some form of outline, content, branding, defined business goals etc.

So before you begin to develop or design a web site, what information should you get from the client?

(i.e. Do they have a logo? What features are they looking for? Do they have content? etc.)

What is a good way to 'sell the client' on providing you that information upfront, without over complicating the process, but making sure you, as a Freelance Developer have enough info to get the job done?

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I am not a designer, but I pass all designs of my projects to my friend designer where I act as a middle man.

So what we usually ask from the clients:

  • official business colors
  • logo
  • design sketches (written on paper by hand, or by some pro tool)
  • a design he likes most or more of them
  • how professional or how artistic it has to be

After all this info my friend tries to dig into client's head and then he make a draft. Since we already have important info (he will not create cartoon design for Pro business design), we rarely miss the topic. The client reviews it and then we all have the basis which will lead us to the final version.

The most important thing is NOT to miss the basic concept. After that, all will go more or less smoothly.

  • This great for nailing down design. I like it because you can build a 'process' to work with clients for design from this answer. But what about content? Some clients start from ground-zero (i.e. no idea what sections or information the site will contain)? Features? It would be good to put together a comprehensive list with some tips. A good way to explain, upfront, what's needed, and an efficient process to get that info. – NivF007 Apr 14 '14 at 19:50
  • This is all I give to my designer. All the rest comes from his head. Neither myself or the client have the clue what the first draft will look like. To do design, you have to be an artist, right?! – Peter MV Apr 14 '14 at 20:06
  • Yes! This question is excellent for the 'design' component of a web development project - but let's see if we can get some good answers on the rest of the essential stuff, like features, content, SEO, social media site integration and/or marketing - what info do we need to get up front? – NivF007 Apr 14 '14 at 20:43
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I believe the most important thing to ask for is the name of the person who will provide you with all you need to get the job done.

Before this, listen to the client ideas and expectation. You need to understand what the client knows, what he/she thinks of having an idea about and what you should talk about when the client stops talking.

What you need assess is:

  • Can I get the information/materials I will need when I start?
  • Will the client complain with my requests?
  • How many times he/she will ask me to redo the work?
  • How willing the client is to spend money on secondary needs (a logo you cannot provide, a photo session, and so one.)
  • How much the client or his employee know the job you are about to accept?
  • What the expectations are?
  • The history related to attempts on doing or maintaining the job/task/project you are about to take responsibility for.

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