I am pretty sure no one sets out to make a project more stressful. After designing websites for Roundpeg for more than a year, however, I can tell you many web design projects become needlessly stressful. We can often tell right at the kickoff meeting whether the project is going to be smooth or bumpy.
Here are five warning signs that you are heading straight for stress, and a few tips to get back on track.
1) Too Many Decision Makers
We often run into decision-makers who can’t make up their mind. Or we see a “design by committee” approach. It is good to have input from multiple people as you move through the project. There is however, a difference between asking for feedback and completely turning over control of your project. When there are too many voices and differing opinions weighing in with no clear decision maker, the project just becomes about winning a fight and not representing the brand clearly.
How to avoid this stress point: Select a decision maker. That person needs to be able to consolidate input and communicate choices and decisions.
2) No Response or Sense of Urgency
In the beginning, most clients are 100% focused and ready to start the web project. But there are lots of distractions and other priorities and sometimes the website takes a back seat. Missed meetings and deadlines slow the project down, and suddenly we can’t do our best work.
The best way to keep the project moving to the finish line is to develop a realistic schedule on the front end of the project. If you are starting the project just before your busy season, build that in to your schedule. If you are a tax accountant it doesn’t make sense to agree to a schedule of weekly meetings in March and April. So adjust the schedule and get more information to your team so they can work while you are busy or on vacation. Or plan on pausing the project till you are ready to start again.
3) Missing Credentials
Before you start the web project, get your house in order. There is nothing worse that getting ready to launch and discovering we don’t have adequate permission to re point your domain to a new hosting account or the integration to your CRM (customer relationship management) system. Unfortunately, it is common for companies to misplace credentials, or the person who had them has left your company or you never asked the original developer for them.
The solution? Collect all your passwords and save them in one convenient location so you have them when you are ready to start your web projects.
4) Changes in Project Scope
This often happens because a client forgets about an element of the project. It becomes an issue because the web team is hard at work laying out pages, everything is looking great and suddenly there are new forms to add, pdfs to turn into new pages, or there are now links which need to go to new places on the site. These changes can seem small on the surface but the programming to accommodate the new information may dramatically effect the timeline as navigation and page structure may need to be completely redesigned.
Avoid this stress producing situation by outlining everything on your wish list up front.
5) Last-Minute Changes
If you hired a contractor to paint your house blue, you wouldn’t think of going back after 2/3 of the house was painted and asking for green instead. But for some reason, we often see website owners making these kind of change requests just prior to launch. Why? Often clients try to spare our feelings and don’t provide critical enough feedback early on. As the project progresses something that was “fine” in the beginning looks less satisfactory. Suddenly a week away from launch there is a scramble to change colors, images, navigation, or page design.
Avoid last minute stress by giving constructive and specific feedback as soon as you see something that isn’t quite right. Recognize that once you approve something, that is how the team will build it. Also, if you are building a website using WordPress it is a dynamic tool, and some changes can be made in phase two, after launch.
Some web projects aren’t stressful at all
When clients work with us, plan ahead, and give constructive feedback, the project can actually go very smoothly. Listen to an interview with the team from Pearl Pathways on how their web design project worked.