Client’s Role in Web Design Process

It’s an all-too-common problem we designers face. We've built the foundation of the website, set up the database and integrated the CMS, but now we're faced with page after page of blank space where the client's copy should be. This then impacts on our next project, because when the copy is eventually provided, it requires us to revisit a job we should have put to bed weeks ago. Or often a client will give us a 200-page word document, along with a CD full of unorganized images, and then engage in document tennis over email, as we try to manage and decipher what is useful and what isn't.

So, what is the Client's role in the design process?

Client's need to understand that content influences design and that the content needs to be delivered to the web designer at the onset of the project....not somewhere in the middle or even worse, toward the end of the project!

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've laid out a homepage design where the introductory placeholder text sat nicely alongside a lovingly chosen photo, in perfectly balanced harmony. I showed it to the client and they loved it. A month or more later, the client provided an entire page of  bold, all-uppercase text with their “welcome to my website” message. I explain that on the design I’d allowed for something short and snappy, three or four paragraphs max–but they insist they need to list all these other services that they completely failed to mention at the original meeting. The result: I either need to revisit the design, drastically edit their text, or bite the bullet and put their life story in there, which then knocks the entire page out of whack. With the content up-front, this wouldn’t have been an issue.  
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