One of the most frequent things I hear working with websites is “make it pop.” Or sometimes clients ask “how can we add depth to this?” Both phrases are too vague to be useful as feedback.

PopIn fact, I don’t think it’s feedback at all. Because “pop” isn’t what clients are really asking for. On the surface, it sounds like a call to make everything appear three dimensional by adding shadows and reflections. There’s a real place for these details and everyone knows that details make the difference.

However, what “make it pop” really indicates is a sudden desire to influence the web design without knowing how to talk about it.

Unfortunately, designers hate to hear clients give this feedback. And it often comes towards the end of a project, when the big picture comes into focus, which means designers too often respond with “Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?” Suddenly, the designer’s project and the client’s investment are in jeopardy.

While clients don’t completely understand designers (and can’t, otherwise they wouldn’t hire them), both parties must work to prevent late-day “pop” crises.

Two Things Clients Can Do

Tell Me What’s Wrong – Because if you’re bugged by some aspect of the design and you don’t speak up, I can’t help. Even if it’s late in the web design process, don’t be afraid to let out your thoughts. My feelings won’t be hurt, though I might disagree. And even if you can’t describe what’s wrong, let’s talk about it before it’s too late. If you like green, don’t let me design a blue website.

Trust Me – Web designer Paddy Donnelly’s site honestly explores the great divide between clients and designers. He says this question of “pop” comes down to trust. Humans have a hard time trusting others. When a big investment is on the line, trust is even harder. At some point in the web design process, you might really wish you could wrest the mouse away from me and just do it yourself. It’s not a pretty picture, but I’ve felt this way myself working with others.

So when I call you, we’ll focus on clearing up specific issues and dig out what it means when you say “pop.” Say everything you need to say and trust me to listen with open ears. Then trust me to offer good advice and steer you right on when you’re tempted to go straight off.

You might think this is high-brow stuff for now. But it’s my job to help your business do something creative and fresh on the web. Please trust me.

Two Things I Will Do

Involve You – I’ll start every check-in phone call with your feedback. Chances are, the same things that bug me are bugging you. Get these urgent items taken care of by speaking up. We also do our best to explain the ideas and concepts we use to make web design decisions. You don’t have to study color theory or the challenges of mobile responsive web design, but we’ll explain how these affect you.

Since we build websites with a content management system (CMS), we also provide free training during your project with us. This training happens about half-way through the process, way before anything is finalized. This way you’ve seen the website’s under pinning and we can spend more time on feedback and less time explaining terminology.

Try To Understand You – If you tell me to “make it pop,” I promise to ask you how. I really care about making you look good online. Delivering a web design that you’re proud of is important. So let’s do it together.