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Put a Stop to Endless Design Revisions for Clients: A Guide for Agency Owners

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It’s been well over a decade since I first presented a design to a client, and in that time I have learned a lot. Experience and trials have taught me how to deal with revision requests and how to guide the client towards the best result.

If you’ve also been in this business for a while, you have probably come across a client (or more) “from hell”—as someone so eloquently put it once. Revision requests can become the bane of any agency designer, and being caught up in a never-ending cycle of “change this” and “try that” is anyone’s worst nightmare. This is especially true if you, as an agency owner, are outsourcing the design work.

I’m not saying that revision requests are bad; on the contrary, in a good work relationship they can be a sign of trust, respect, and a way to strive for the best outcome. But when the revisions just keep coming, they’re a strain on the client, the agency, and the designer alike.

Design revisions as standard business practice

As far as the client is concerned, we can assume that the revision requests are just their way of trying to communicate their intention of getting the design they aim for. But we must keep in mind that the client usually can’t explain the intuitive aesthetics perception with words. Sometimes when asking for changes and corrections, the client is just doing their best to communicate their ideal.

An outsourced designer, on the other hand, works with the “data at hand.” They can only interpret the information they receive from the agency, and create a design based on that. And this can become a problem. If the agency is interpreting and filtering the client’s ideas, they can nudge the designer into their own desired direction. But this isn’t always a correct interpretation, and the game of revisions and design versions begins.

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So what you can do about it? There’s no way to eliminate the need for revisions, but there are ways to significantly reduce the number of revisions. The more you understand what a client wants and the goals they’re aiming for, the more likely you’ll be able to provide your designer with the information necessary to create the design your client wants from the start.

diagram illustrating Difference Between Panic and Peace of Mind in the design process

Select the right designer for your project

The first question is, who should you outsource to? In recent years the number of companies offering cheap design work with unlimited revisions has grown considerably. They are a response to the need of agencies to keep their costs down. For certain types of projects, this works perfectly well.

A company offering “unlimited revisions” is only doing so because they are not the “crème de la crème” on the market—and they know that. Hence, they counterbalance it by offering to do as many revisions as needed. “Unlimited rounds of revisions” either says a client can’t make up their mind, a client is unprepared, or a graphic designer can’t get things right.

But the goal of a design project should not be about wandering in the land of revisions. Design professionals aim to complete their work in a reasonable amount of time and with as few rounds of revisions as possible. There are plenty of white label design agencies and freelancers who are more than capable of delivering good results. Outsourcing to a mid-tier designer should be where you start.

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Get as much information as you can from the client

Selecting the designer can be either your first step or your last step. Regardless, your first task should be to collect as much information as you can from your client. You have to make sure that you truly understand what the client is expecting from you.

Your client is not an expert—this is why they hired you in the first place. If you can, have a conversation with the designer before telling your client that you have everything you need from them. Find out whether your designer has any additional question or requires further explanations on certain aspects of the project.

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Manage your client’s expectations during the design process

Explain to the client exactly what the deliverables will be, what programs will be used to create the design, what types of files you’ll provide, and how many revisions are included in your quote. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the situation where you deliver a design done in Photoshop and your client asks you for a Word version instead (which might almost double the time that your designer will spend on the project). Or you get more revision requests than you accounted for when you calculated your investment for the project.

A client may not know exactly what constitutes a “round of revision”—it can be a vague term for someone not familiar with design jargon. You should explain what constitutes a round of revisions, which is certainly not a complete redesign.

In your proposal, clearly specify number of rounds of revisions included in your proposal, or a fixed amount of time that you believe will be needed for revisions. Mention the surcharge which will be applied for additional time spent on revisions.

Make sure you work with decision-makers

The worst thing that can happen is working with a large company with multiple contacts—and I’m talking from experience. In situations like this, things tend to go two ways: you either rock the design and there is a consensus of WOW (fat chance of that happening), or your “contacts” are (usually) lower-ranked employees who overnight have become art critics—and that spells disaster. These critics will all have their own vision on how the design should look like, and they will all want to impress the boss. If you end up in a situation like this, there are two reasonable solutions:

  1. Convince the boss to select one person to be the only point of contact besides the boss, and they both should attend your meetings.
  2. You reject the project out of hand. If you don’t, you risk an endless mess of contradictory feedback, revision requests, and will probably end up losing the client—or your mind.

Not all clients are a good fit

It’s important to have a system that will filter out clients who are not a good fit. Most marketing agencies do a qualification call just for this purpose. I’m sure most of you already have a list of red flags, but here are a few that we often encounter:

  • Lack of respect from clients who repeatedly fail to show up at meetings.
  • Micromanaging the process.
  • Looking to cut costs and belittling your expertise by saying things like, “This shouldn’t take more than ‘X’ hours; my son could probably do it in a couple of hours if he put his mind to it;” or “I could do it myself, I just don’t have the time.”
  • Clients who come to you with a design that’s partially done but just want “a few improvements.” Most of the time, those little improvements will take just as much time as a complete redesign (if not more) and the client will expect to pay less than they would for a brand-new design
  • Clients saying things like, “I want to be blown away when I see the design;” “I want the WOW factor;” “I want to be impressed;” etc. This usually suggests unreasonable expectations which are not focused on coming up with an effective design that would be suitable for the company’s target audience, but rather appealing to the client’s personal preferences or their desire to impress friends and family, which is highly subjective and will most likely have a negative impact on their efforts to generate leads for their business.
  • Clients collecting proposals from many other companies or requesting “free samples” to help them decide whether they want to work with you or not.
  • Clients who have tried several other agencies before. This can definitely happen, but it’s also possible that the problem was the client, not the service provider, so you should find out why the client was unhappy with their previous service providers before deciding to take them on.
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How to successfully present a design to your client

Ideally, when it’s time to present a design, you will have developed a solid, trust-based relationship with the client, and you’ve collected relevant information about their business and their expectations and goals. This allows for a delicate, but more candid conversation.

Here are some of the steps we’ve implemented through the years as far as design presentation goes:

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  • The best way to present the design to the client is in a meeting, not through email. You can send the design to the client via email shortly before the meeting begins, but don’t give him/her days to evaluate it before the presentation.
  • Make sure you understand the logic behind all the design choices that have been made. Have the designer provide you with explanations you can refer to when you present the design to the client. Understanding what impact each design choice has on the user experience, on conversions, and on project goals will not only minimize revision requests, but will also be proof of your professionalism which will fortify your relationship with your client.
  • Encourage the client to NOT consult their friends and family about the design, but instead try and look at the design from their target audience’s point of view. An effective conversion-focused design will appeal to the target audience. Trying to please everyone is not only impossible, but can have a negative impact on conversions.
  • Never offer multiple concepts to choose from (unless we’re talking about a logo design). Instead, show the client one design that you consider to be the best solution for their business. Presenting more than one option is practically forcing them to become art directors or marketing specialists, and having to figure out what they’re paying you to figure out. In many cases, clients will ask for a combination of the designs that you provide, which could end up being the worst possible design choice, since combining completely different designs can have a disastrous effect on both the visual aspect and the user experience.
  • If the client has any objections to the design presented, you can either explain your design choices, explain how those changes will affect conversion, or ask your designer to come up with a compromise which will both please the client and avoid having a negative impact on the effectiveness of the design.
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Mood boards: To do or not to do

Many marketing agency owners choose to present one or more mood boards (a collection of ideas) to their clients prior to doing the actual design. The majority of clients, however, don’t understand the purpose of mood boards, and aren’t qualified to decide on a design style or direction after seeing a mood board. Also, if the client is not qualified to decide what the best design approach should be, their choice can have a negative impact on conversions and marketing if they choose a design style that’s not the best option for their target audience.

Mood boards are best used when working with an outsourced white label design services provider and your creative director wants to make sure that the designer fully understands the design approach that your company is looking to get. A professional designer is able to interpret a mood board, and having one can save time and minimize the amount of changes if your designer knows exactly what they’re expected to deliver.

How to obtain the best results from your designer

The best way to minimize revisions is to make sure your designer fully understands the project requirements. This can be established through a few simple steps:

  1. Provide a clear and concise project brief.
  2. If you do discovery with your clients, you can share with the designer the information gathered from the discovery meetings that is relevant to the design (list of your client’s competitors, ideal customer persona and other information about your client’s business, client’s goals, client’s target audience, examples of designs that the client likes/dislikes).
  3. Don’t be reluctant to answer questions. Many agency owners don’t want to be constantly bothered with questions by their designers; however, it could save time if things are clarified before the work is done, rather than having to spend a lot of time later making adjustments and trying to compensate for things that have been overlooked in the project brief.
  4. Have the copy ready.
  5. If you order the copy after the design is completed, then provide a wireframe, or ask the designer to come up with a wireframe, prior to moving forward with the actual design. This will ensure you’re both on the same page and it’s much faster to revise a wireframe then a finalized design.
  6. Provide clear feedback. Rather than telling the designer exactly what to do, you might want to explain in your own words what the problem is and ask them what they think the best solution should be. You might be surprised to find out there are options that you haven’t considered. When you work with an experienced designer, it’s like going to the doctor: they tell you how to fix the problem and don’t expect you to decide what the best treatment should be.

Successfully manage the client relationship during the design process

Managing client relationships is a delicate matter with many nuances. These strategies have helped us refine our client communications and develop positive relationships that are crucial to our business success.

If you set expectations upfront, keep clients informed every step of the way, and work with a professional outsourced designer, you can stem the flood of revisions by explaining the entire design process and the logic behind your work.

If you stay professional, create a great design piece, and can explain to clients your reasons for doing things a certain way, clients will appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into paving their way for success.

Via AB

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Business

The Rise of Legacy Chips in the US-China Semiconductor Battle: An Analysis

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Introduction

The US-China semiconductor battle has been ongoing for years, with both countries vying for dominance in the global technology market. However, a new front has emerged in this battle – legacy chips. While the focus has been on cutting-edge technology, the realization is dawning that older-generation chips are still vital to military use, as well as cars and consumer electronics. In this article, we will explore the significance of legacy chips in the US-China semiconductor battle and analyze the implications for both countries.

What are Legacy Chips?
Legacy chips are older-generation chips that are still in use today. These chips were developed in the 1980s and 1990s and are still used in a variety of applications, including military equipment, cars, and consumer electronics. While they may not be as powerful as the latest chips, they are still essential for many critical applications.

The Significance of Legacy Chips in the US-China Semiconductor Battle:
The US-China semiconductor battle has largely focused on cutting-edge technology, with both countries investing heavily in research and development to gain an edge in the global market. However, the importance of legacy chips cannot be overlooked. These chips are still used in many critical applications, including military equipment, where reliability and longevity are essential.

China has been investing heavily in its semiconductor industry in recent years, to become self-sufficient in chip production. However, the country still relies heavily on imports of legacy chips, which are essential for its military equipment. This reliance on imports has become a concern for the Chinese government, which sees it as a potential vulnerability in its national security.

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The US, on the other hand, has been tightening its export controls on legacy chips, citing national security concerns. The US government has been concerned about the transfer of sensitive technology to China, which could be used for military purposes. This has led to tensions between the two countries, with China accusing the US of using export controls as a way to stifle its technological development.

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Implications for Both Countries:
The rise of legacy chips in the US-China semiconductor battle has significant implications for both countries. For China, the reliance on imports for legacy chips is a potential vulnerability in its national security. The country has been investing heavily in its semiconductor industry to become self-sufficient in chip production, but it will take time to achieve this goal. In the meantime, China will need to find ways to secure its supply of legacy chips.

For the US, the tightening of export controls on legacy chips is a way to protect its national security. However, it could also have unintended consequences. China has been investing heavily in its semiconductor industry, and if it is unable to secure a reliable supply of legacy chips, it may accelerate its efforts to develop its chips. This could lead to increased competition in the global semiconductor market, which could ultimately benefit China.

Conclusion
The rise of legacy chips in the US-China semiconductor battle highlights the importance of older-generation technology in critical applications. While the focus has been on cutting-edge technology, legacy chips are still essential for many applications, including military equipment, cars, and consumer electronics. The US-China semiconductor battle has significant implications for both countries, with China seeking to secure its supply of legacy chips and the US tightening its export controls to protect its national security. As the battle continues, it will be interesting to see how both countries adapt to the changing landscape of the global semiconductor market.

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Unleashing NVIDIA’s AI Dominance: A Tale of Shares Soaring and Innovation Surges

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As the world’s premier semiconductor powerhouse, NVIDIA has once again made headlines with its meteoric stock rise—a whopping 14% increase following an impressive sales spike driven by the AI revolution. This seismic shift in technology is not only reshaping industries but also redefining the future of computing as we know it. In this comprehensive analysis, we delve into the catalyst behind these record-breaking gains and explore what lies ahead for NVIDIA in the era of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The ‘Tipping Point’: When AI Metamorphosed from Hype to Reality

The term “AI tipping point” refers to the moment when AI technologies transitioned from mere buzzwords to tangible solutions that are transforming businesses across various sectors. As companies worldwide embrace AI to enhance their operations, drive innovation, and gain competitive advantages, demand for cutting-edge hardware like NVIDIA’s GPUs has skyrocketed.

This trend was further fueled by the pandemic, which accelerated digital transformation efforts globally. With remote work becoming the norm, organizations have been forced to adapt quickly, leading them to invest heavily in cloud infrastructure and advanced data processing capabilities provided by NVIDIA’s AI chips.

NVIDIA’s Strategic Positioning: Leading the Charge in AI Computing

At the heart of NVIDIA’s success story lies its strategic positioning within the AI landscape. By focusing on developing high-performance GPU architectures tailored specifically for AI applications, NVIDIA has managed to establish itself as the go-to provider for enterprises seeking to leverage AI effectively.

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In addition to its market-leading GPUs, NVIDIA offers a robust suite of software tools designed to simplify AI development and deployment. These include CUDA, TensorRT, and NGC, all of which enable developers to build powerful AI systems more efficiently than ever before.

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Moreover, NVIDIA’s acquisition of Mellanox Technologies in 2020 strengthened its position in the data centre space, providing the company with access to state-of-the-art networking solutions that can support the growing demands of AI-driven applications.

The Future of AI Spending: An Endless Horizon for Growth

With AI set to become a $596 billion industry by 2028, there is no doubt that NVIDIA stands poised to capitalize on this unprecedented growth opportunity. According to Jensen Huang, CEO of NVIDIA, the company expects to see even stronger sales due to increased AI spending frenzies.

To ensure continued dominance in the AI sector, NVIDIA plans to expand its product portfolio beyond traditional GPUs. For instance, the company recently announced its intention to develop specialized processors called DPUs (Data Processing Units) aimed at enhancing the performance of AI-based applications running on servers.

By diversifying its offerings and staying one step ahead of emerging trends, NVIDIA aims to maintain its leadership role in the AI ecosystem while driving innovation forward.

Conclusion: Embracing the AI Revolution with Confidence

As NVIDIA continues to lead the charge in AI computing, investors and tech enthusiasts alike must remain vigilant about the potential risks and challenges associated with such rapid growth. However, given the company’s strong track record of innovation and strategic decision-making, it seems safe to say that NVIDIA will continue to thrive amidst the ongoing AI revolution.

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So, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking to harness the power of AI or simply someone interested in keeping up with the latest developments in the tech sphere, stay tuned for exciting times ahead as NVIDIA spearheads the AI revolution!

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Rising from Adversity: Kharkiv’s Tech Start-Ups and the Art of Business Resilience in Ukraine

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two men sitting facing on flat screen monitors

In the bustling city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, a remarkable story of resilience and innovation is unfolding. Despite facing extreme disruption, the region’s tech start-ups have defied the odds, showcasing the indomitable spirit of Ukraine’s entrepreneurs and engineers. This article delves into the extraordinary journey of Kharkiv’s tech ecosystem, exploring how it has emerged as a testament to unwavering determination and adaptability in the face of adversity.

Introduction

The city of Kharkiv has long been a hub of technological advancement and entrepreneurial fervour. Home to a burgeoning community of start-ups and tech companies, it has rapidly gained recognition as a hotbed of innovation in Ukraine. However, the region’s resilience has been put to the ultimate test in recent years, as it grappled with unprecedented challenges ranging from political unrest to armed conflict. Despite these adversities, Kharkiv’s tech start-ups have not only survived but thrived, offering invaluable lessons in business resilience.

The Genesis of Kharkiv’s Tech Ecosystem

To understand the remarkable resilience of Kharkiv’s tech start-ups, it is essential to delve into the origins of the region’s burgeoning ecosystem. The city’s rich legacy of academic excellence and scientific research laid the groundwork for a vibrant culture of innovation. With a strong emphasis on STEM education and a pool of talented engineers and developers, Kharkiv became an ideal breeding ground for tech entrepreneurship.

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Navigating Adversity: The Impact of Political Unrest and Armed Conflict

The outbreak of political unrest and armed conflict in Ukraine cast a dark shadow over Kharkiv’s burgeoning tech scene. The region found itself grappling with economic instability, infrastructure disruptions, and an uncertain business environment. In the face of such formidable challenges, many would have expected Kharkiv’s tech start-ups to falter. However, what transpired was nothing short of extraordinary.

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Adaptability in Action: Pivoting Strategies and Innovation

Faced with extreme disruption, Kharkiv’s entrepreneurs and engineers demonstrated remarkable adaptability, swiftly pivoting their business strategies to navigate the tumultuous landscape. From embracing remote work models to diversifying their product offerings, these companies showcased an unparalleled ability to innovate in the face of adversity. The rapid adoption of cutting-edge technologies and agile development methodologies further underscored their commitment to staying ahead of the curve.

Forging Resilient Partnerships: Collaborative Ecosystem and Global Outreach

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Central to Kharkiv’s resilience was the spirit of collaboration that permeated its tech ecosystem. Start-ups, established companies, academic institutions, and government agencies joined forces to provide mutual support and foster innovation. Furthermore, despite the challenging geopolitical climate, Kharkiv’s tech community actively pursued global partnerships and market opportunities, showcasing an unwavering commitment to growth and expansion.

The Human Element: Nurturing Talent and Well-Being

Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, Kharkiv’s tech leaders recognized the importance of prioritizing the well-being and professional development of their teams. Initiatives focused on mental health support, skill enhancement programs, and inclusive work cultures played a pivotal role in sustaining morale and driving productivity. The emphasis on nurturing talent underscored the human-centric approach that defines Kharkiv’s tech ecosystem.

Looking Ahead: Lessons in Business Resilience for a Global Audience

As Kharkiv’s tech start-ups continue to chart an inspiring path of recovery and growth, their journey offers invaluable insights for businesses worldwide. The principles of adaptability, collaboration, innovation, and human-centric leadership that have underpinned their success serve as a compelling blueprint for building resilience in the face of extreme disruption. By studying the experiences of Kharkiv’s entrepreneurs and engineers, organizations across the globe can glean actionable strategies to fortify their business resilience.

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Conclusion

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In conclusion, Kharkiv’s tech start-ups have emerged as beacons of hope and inspiration in the face of unprecedented challenges. Their unwavering resilience, innovative spirit, and collaborative ethos have not only sustained their businesses but also propelled them towards new heights of success. As Ukraine’s entrepreneurs and engineers continue to defy adversity, their story stands as a testament to the transformative power of resilience in business. The world can undoubtedly draw profound lessons from Kharkiv’s remarkable journey—a journey that epitomizes the triumph of human ingenuity in the most trying times.

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