I build websites for companies. I want to acentuate the postive and minimize the negative aspects of working with someone like me. What are some things that I should always remember to do? What are some bad experiences that you've had?
Ah, what a great question @butchewing. For me, it's all about expectation setting. When cash is tight, it can be super stressful to launch a big project and then be told at the end that it wasn't completed because it wasn't scoped properly. As someone who isn't a website expert, I really value when the experts share with me what to expect, what is included, etc. That would be super helpful. The more transparent, the more I trust!
Thank you for your comment. You make an excellent point. Clear expectations are huge, especially when it comes to the scope of the project. I have several milestones that I put in place to be sure that my client and I are on the same page.
I like to start with what I call roadmapping. I have found that many people that come to me don't really know what they want or how to articulate it. Roadmapping helps to map out the project and desired outcome. I use it as the playbook to build the site.
The second thing that I like to do is wireframe out each page. I am able to visualize a completed project while looking at a blank screen. But, I have found that most people do not have that ability. By wireframing each page, I am able to quickly sketch out the basic features, feel, and flow of the website. All changes are able to be made quickly and cost effectively. Then, I use the wireframes as the blueprints of the website. I prefer wireframes over mockups at this stage because many people get distracted by colors, images, and lorum ipsum. By simply sketching things out in a wireframe, we remove all of those distractions.
I work very hard to bring as much transparency as possible. It is a difficult thing to do. Sometimes I feel like I am explaining too much. I don't want to overwhelm my clients, but I do want them to be informed and know as much as they can about their website before, during, and after the project is completed.
Sounds like you have a great approach @butchewing! I personally love "over-communication" from my partners - we all have so many things going on, it helps get it into my thick skull that we are on or off track.
I'm kind of the intermediate guy in the process locally. When a friend gets tired of, or dissatisfied with, the WYSIWYG site builders, they often ask me to help (I'm economical, I do not charge).
I know their industry, so the first thing I do is google that industry and provide them with as many links to different looking web sites as I can, but not more than 10.
I ask them to visit each and write down what they like, dislike, and could care less about.
Then I use that info to, as you say, wire frame it.
Edit: the worst things I have heard about, since I do not use a professional like yourself
1. failure to meet the drop dead date, or any intermediate progress date
2. Per page fees, and looking at the site to see multiple pages that should be combined.
3. dead links or menu choices on the final project
4. Style changes of pages, either menu location, backgrounds, breadcrumb trails, etc etc
5 MY pet peeve - an email contact form. If I can not get an email address to contact support I will rarely do business with that company.
I want you to Admit your weak points and be willing to address them. While you might be really good with graphics and marketing, that doesn't mean you are good with the Language you need to use, so get an Editor or English Major as a subcontractor, to Review the work. There is nothing worse than, for a real example of what happened for an Architectural Firm...
The projects are Multi-million $ custom log homes in outrageous locations. You see them on TV and magazines, such as Log Home Living and Epic Log Homes. The text for the website, for one of the projects mentioned how the Fireplaces were built by craftsmen using "Imported Indigenous Stone."
Indigenous = local to the area.
It really seems to be so expensive to hire a web developer to build a eCommerce. Moreover, with such a great variety of wordpress themes ( https://www.templatemonster.com/category/astronomy-wordpress-themes ) available on the web, there is actually no need. Being a complete non-techie, I managed to set up my own website without special effort.
Way to go @ALexRuf! It feels so good when you can do something on your own that you thought might be out of reach.