I’m not the biggest fan of surprises. Sure, I like a small surprise like a sweet treat from a loved one or a meal looking much better than you expected when it arrives at the table, but the keyword here is small. Big surprises (or at least, the anticipation of one) makes me more nervous than excited. Expectations rise, the pressure is on to deliver, and inevitably, it’s not quite what you pictured.
This is why I do weekly check-ins for all of my projects—I take the guesswork out of the web design process. Open communication is one of my core values, and I strive to keep my clients in the loop throughout the whole course of a project. Weekly check-ins are not only a way for me to show progress, but it gives us a chance to actually talk to each other live over the phone or video chat and build a working relationship. They’re my chance to learn in-depth about what the company does, and to get to know the people that run it. Weekly check-ins also mean minimal email chains and back-and-forths for things that can be talked about live each week, saving precious time for everyone involved.
It also gets my clients involved in the design process, which is my favorite part. Yes, clients hire me to design websites that look fantastic, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without these weekly conversations. I like to get my clients involved in decisions early on, instead of surprising them at the end with a completed website that they may not like, or worse—doesn’t accomplish its goal in the first place. Ultimately, my goal is to not only build the website that my clients are envisioning, but pushing it to exceed expectations. That means asking lots of questions and, most importantly, listening.
For the first few weeks of a project, the weekly check-ins are fairly in-depth with lots of screen-sharing and conversations about design and content. As the project progresses into development, weekly check-ins get shorter, with quick progress updates from my end and sometimes assigning tasks for my client to accomplish, like securing web hosting or granting access to the DNS.
This is typically the stage where we move past static mockups and into the phase where a website feels alive—transitions and animations are layered in, and the website scales across any screen size or device. At that point, the design is finished (minus a few tweaks here and there during the QA process), and it’s just a matter of building the site and deploying live. Clients aren’t surprised at the end of the project because they know what the website is going to look like thanks to our weekly check-ins and design reviews. When I send a demo link for them to review, it shouldn’t come with a feeling of anxiousness, but rather a sense of calm in knowing that the website is nearly complete.
I look forward to weekly check-ins for all of my active projects. I truly enjoy involving my clients in the process throughout the course of the project, and I’m a huge fan of the interpersonal nature of chatting live instead of over email. If I sound like a good fit for your next project, I’d love to get in touch and see how we can work together!