6 months, 1 week ago AngelusParticipant
Hi guys, today I’m going to share with you my briefing questions!
If we ask a smart kid what it’s like to make a website, he’ll probably say something like:
Sounds simple! You need to put in some nice text, some really nice images, some flashy buttons and make half a dozen pages. (and isn’t it true?)
And actually, if someone asked each of us the same thing when we were going to make our first website, we would most likely say the same thing. And we would keep answering until we get to the second or fifth customer site and suddenly realize that that information we forgot to ask the customer was missing or, worse, you struggle to think of that extremely killer and creative phrase, and the only thing that comes to your mind are flying cats fighting space ninjas, which could turn into a crazy comic book, but for your current objective it means a complete blank, a tremendous creative standoff, a nightmare!
I’ve been there, so have you probably too (if not, please share your methods too!). So I’m going to share with you the questions, some obvious, some intentionally unusual, that I use to do an initial briefing with clients, and some considerations about each of them:
1 – Company name (and how to spell it).
It may sound silly, it may seem trivial, but sometimes the name can be spelled one way or another than the client’s domain or even the way a partner gave you the name, not the way they actually use it.
2 – Responsible contact
Something to take note of, but sometimes also know who really decides in a meeting with more than one person in the company
3 – Responsible Contacts
That is not always the same person who made a first contact to hire your service. So, to avoid annoying this person as an intermediary, get this contact too!
4 – Products or services
Here, sometimes there will be many and you will have to send them later, but sometimes there will be few and it’s worth breaking down a little about each one, especially when you don’t know the product or service well. At this time, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask the questions you would ask if you were going to buy.
5 – Does your company have a logo? What is the inspiration?
Inspiration is usually the most important thing, it’s usually a story that the owner has already bought from whoever made the logo. And now the most prudent will probably be to follow.
6 – Are there predefined colors of the company or brand?
Sometimes they forget to say they have it, don’t forget to ask. If you don’t have it, it’s even better to think about some color possibilities at this point. Color is vital and above all it will take a lot of work to change later throughout the site.
7 – Tell a short story.
How was the company born? Why does he do what he does?
8 – What is the tone of your brand?
A calmer tone? Hectic? Direct? Formal? If they don’t know the tone of the company, ask the partners’ personal tone.
9 – Brand personality?
If the company were a person and appeared in front of you, what would it be like? Would you be an innovative, logical, activist, defiant, conservative person?
10 – Think about shapes and images when you think about your company:
Here the person can give references to images that have to do with the business, or not. At least try to get the shapes, for example: square or circle? With this simple question you will have an important basis for the design, even if it is to decide whether the corners of the elements’ edges will be straight or rounded.
11 – What do people have to know when entering the site?
Simple question, but one that will give important answers and that the website owner would probably only remember in the middle of the process.
12 – What do we want people to feel?
Trust? Desire? Calm? The feeling can be just as important as the information, and again it will be something that will reflect the essence of the company or the partners.
13 – What do we want people to do?
A question that may seem obvious, but it actually isn’t always. For example: sometimes the customer may prefer the user to get in touch as soon as possible, sometimes he may prefer the user to read some information by scrolling the site and only then get in touch. Maybe they want them to read the articles or just buy them. Anyway, we must always think about user usability, but we also have to think about how the business owner wants this experience to be.
14 – What makes the company really different?
An answer to dig deeper. When he gives the first answer, ask: – But don’t the others do too? Business partners will likely be able to dig deeper and expand on more aspects that make their business really different and that may or may not give them great arguments to be put on the site.
15 – Choose a word for your brand:
Just as Coca-Cola chooses the word happiness, it will likely have a word that represents the company to its customer.
16 – Name three competitors
The customer may know your business very well, or it may not. Asking about competitors will help you to get deeper into your client’s business, complement information and check if the differentials really are different.
17 – Three brands you admire. And the reason.
The most important thing is the reason. And what a person admires about other brands is likely to be something they want for their own brand.
18 – Three brands you DON’T admire. And the reason.
Again, the most important thing is why. And again what a person DOES NOT admire is likely to be something he does not want for his own brand.
These last two questions will help you a lot in thinking about the usability and style of the site.
There are no right answers. Even answers that seem wrong can provide valuable insights into content. Try even to say this at the beginning of the interview with the client: – There are no right answers, answer whatever comes into your head!
Briefing is about listening, not talking. Leave your comments at the end and only if necessary.
Remember: the site belongs to the customer. But ask if you should follow the information to the letter or if it has space for creation. Some customers want exactly what they say, others accept or want to be surprised, and asking this can save you and the customer time on reviews.
Not all people will answer all, or even half. But that will give you a head start to the responders’ website and give you the revelation that some companies don’t have a very clear path yet, so you’ll have more freedom in laying the stones down and creating that path.
I hope you enjoyed. If you have ideas for questions that you haven’t seen here, please share them with us in the comments!
An angel in wolves clothing..
6 months ago Lion KingParticipant
This is very good and nice points to consider of when you start a company indeed.
One thing I could ad dis jurisdiction. Where is the best conditions for your new company to succeed these days very competitive business environment?
Just because you live in a country it doesn’t mean that it’s laws will give you the best options to succeed. Most companies goes bankrupt within a few years and only 3-5% make the grade.
Follow the crowd and you be just another cheep.
4 months, 3 weeks ago Simple URL Shortener Team
Good post Angelus!
Thank you. 🙂
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