posted by Matt Ward on Feb 16, 2011.
Here’s an interesting question: how much choice do you give your clients? In this post, I want to pose this question, discuss some of my own thinking on the matter and then open things up for a general discussion on the topic. So, be ready to share your thoughts!
I am looking to bring some more open discussion to the Echo Enduring Blog, and to this end I’ve decided to try running a few open discussion type posts, where I’ll post a relatively short article (or at least short for me) to help spark some thought and discussion, hopefully get some more people commenting and interacting. I have no idea how this is going to go, but I figure it’s worth a shot right?
So, the first topic for this new, social experiment is going to be: choice.
More specifically, I want to talk about the relationship between choice and the client. I think we’re all probably at least partially familiar with the paradox of choice, a theory that posits that certain forms or levels of anxiety may actually be related to or emerge from being presented with too many choices. When standing in the supermarket, looking at shelves with hundreds of different types of cereal, we can start to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice that looms before us. Instead of feeling liberated by the numerous choices, we feel something very un-liberating, which is the manifestation of another, similar concept—choice paralysis.
The idea here is that, when presented with a wide range of options, an individual actually has a harder time making a choice than when they are faced with just a handful of options. Again, the cereal aisle example is an excellent illustration. I also wonder if the premium WordPress theme market might be heading in that direction too. But that’s a different discussion altogether.
The question at hand is, how do we deal with this issue when it comes to working with clients? How many choices and options do you provide? How do you make that decision?
For me, it depends on the type of project. When I take on a new logo design, my typical process involves breaking out my sketchbook and drawing dozens and dozens of different ideas. Some of them are very similar, while others may be out there, and seemingly only nominally related to my actual subject, but the point of the exercise is just to get as much onto paper as I possibly can. Then, once I’ve filled several pages and feel that there’s no more juice in the old think tank, I start working through the sketches, analyzing them to pick out which ones I think work the best.
Once I have these, I’ll then turn to Illustrator and actually start rendering them in vector format, usually tweaking and refining as I go. I’ll do this with the best three concepts, and these initial Illustrator renderings are what I will send to the client as the initial concept. Occasionally, I will also provide some variations on a concept, but I generally try to keep the number of options to three.
With websites, I generally limit the number of choices even further, by reducing it to one. I’ll put together a single concept—either in Photoshop or by creating a basic, working prototype—and present that to the client, making tweaks and changes as required.
I do this mostly as a matter of scope. A website project is generally much larger and more extensive than the average logo design project, and involves many more stages, from wireframing to mockups, to front-end coding and back-end deployment. Given this level of scope, I feel that introducing multiple concepts at the outset will just muddy the waters and ultimately prolong the entire process.
However, I know that some people work differently. Once agency whose work I’ve seen actually provides three complete Photoshop designs with their web projects, and allows the client to chose which one they want to go with. They also charge a great deal more money though.
What about you? How do you approach and/or address the issue of choice when presenting mockups and concepts to clients? Let us know what kind of work you do, how much choice you offer your clients, and why you’ve chosen to work that way. I’m interested to hear your thoughts and getting this discussion started!Post A Comment
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