In the Beginning
When a client and designer start a project together, they form a partnership. Well, at least they should. In order for a project to have a successful outcome, you must find the right solution to the real problem. This is why communication, and in turn collaboration, become vital. If you and I are not on the same page, then we have different expectations and therefore different criteria for success. It is up to us to work together, to solve the real problem, and create something amazing.
The best way to be on the same page is to have open communication– and lots of it! There can be a huge disconnect between client and designer when good communication has not been established. Many times the client doesn’t know how to perfectly articulate the exact style they are seeking, or the technical functions and interactions they may need. It is our job as designers, as developers, really as any professional with a specialized skill set, to educate our clients on the nature of work they are seeking so we can extrapolate their true needs and desires.
Collaboration as Process
Our initial conversation lays the foundation. We establish a general framework for the scope of the project, educating the client on specific details where necessary and helping them understand everything that is involved. But the conversation doesn’t stop here, in fact it has only begun. We continue this dialogue through the entire course of the project.
This is imperative as not only does it keep everyone invested it the outcome, but also understanding why certain decisions and choices are being made. Even more important, the needs and requirements of your project can change and grow as new information becomes available. You shouldn’t be locked into your first idea, just because that was your first idea.
That is why we take an iterative approach, allowing us to re-examine choices and incorporate new information or technologies where appropriate, analyzing the effects they have on the final outcome. We build use-case scenarios to work out all possible situations. This testing and revising of solutions allows us to achieve the absolute best outcome, incorporating stunning design with seamless functionality.
We do not sacrifice usability, or key functionality for the sake of making something look pretty. We guide ourselves by the needs of the client, and their users, to produce something effective and worthwhile. Success in the end is achieved through collaboration from the start.