Starting a new web design project can be exciting. However, there are some practical matters that need to be considered to facilitate a smooth design process. For example, you’ll want to ensure that the final website deliverables completely fit within the context of your client’s vision, mission statement, and tagline.
Compiling a list of questions to ask when designing a website helps to ensure that everyone involved in a project shares the same vision for the final deliverables. This kind of client questionnaire can also be an effective tool for setting and managing expectations and forming the basis for a web design proposal.
In this article, we’ll discuss what a website design questionnaire is, why you should create one, and the key questions to ask. We’ll also provide some templates you can build on. Let’s get started!
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What Is a Website Design Questionnaire?
A website design questionnaire is a list of questions that a web designer or agency passes to a potential client in order to better understand their business and design requirements before building their website.
It is closely related to a website brief, as the questions asked here can be used to compile that resource and better understand what are the budget, timeline, and other important factors to the client.
Before you begin designing a website, it’s smart to get as much information as possible upfront. This can provide you with insights into the client’s target audience and goals, ensuring that your final product achieves or even surpasses its original vision.
Note that web design questionnaires differ significantly from standard forms, email communications, and similar mediums of acquiring information. This is because they’re fully tailored and contain questions relevant to your client all in one place, making for easy reference down the line.
Why Do You Need a Website Design Questionnaire?
The main purpose of a website design questionnaire is to enable both you and your clients to gain a common vision of the final product. It can help you nail down details such as the look and feel of the site, the brand’s mission and values, and more. This helps you create a better User Experience (UX) for the target audience.
Creating a list of web design questions for clients can help prevent confusion and miscommunications between you and them. Such well-phrased queries can help you discern your customers’ wants properly, and avoid misunderstandings that could ultimately lead to rounds of revision requests.
In summary, a client questionnaire enables you to dig deep into the real reason a new website is needed, so you can create a design that is well-tailored to their goals. By gaining a solid understanding of your client’s business, audience, and needs, you can avoid building a website that is visually appealing but fails to achieve their objectives.
How to Create a Website Design Questionnaire
Compiling your list of questions requires precision. Sometimes, you’ll even need to rephrase certain queries differently to get at the heart of the client’s wants and objectives. To help you get started, we’ve put together 12 of the most important questions to ask when designing a website.
1. Do You Want to Build a New Website or Redesign an Existing One?
First on our list, this question helps you determine whether the project is a complete redesign or will involve building a new website from the ground up. This can be the first step in estimating how much work will be required.
For example, improvements to an existing website might involve only minor updates. In the case of a redesign, the current site can provide a wealth of material on the client’s likes or dislikes. You’ll also want to make note of the issues that prompted their desire for a redesign.
2. Describe Your Business in a Few Sentences
This question can come in especially handy when your client’s business is not immediately obvious. You can start uncovering details such as their motivation for starting their company, as well as their vision, mission statement, and values.
These questions can help you gain insight into what matters, not just to the client, but also to their audience. They can also prove valuable if a client would like to have their origin story displayed on their website.
The type of business your client runs can also influence parts of the project’s design, such as what features to include, how pages should be structured, and what content needs to be made most prominent. For example, if your client is a photographer, you’ll want to create a photography website that prominently features their work. This might require you to build something more akin to a lookbook than a normal site.
3. What Services Do You Offer?
Next up, this question is about understanding your client’s products and services, as well as their business model. You’re looking to gain insight into the kind of website that would most suit their brand and the services they’re looking to promote.
Knowing what products and services are being offered goes beyond obtaining cursory information. As a web designer or agency, you’ll want to understand the client’s business and how it works. For example, does your client sell online? This might require building in some e-commerce features.
Alternatively, perhaps your client maintains an online subscription magazine or a collated job board where users require a registration form. It’s smart to identify these feature requirements early on, as they can enable you to learn how realistic the timeline or proposed budget is.
4. Who Is Your Target Audience?
The goal of any website is to be relevant to its audience, and this means it has to be targeted to them. Other than basic customer demographics such as age, gender, and location, you’ll need to know details such as their job titles, industries, company sizes, and so on. For example, a website targeting stay-at-home mothers might use a different tone and style than one aimed at professional male athletes.
It’s also smart to ask whether your client’s ideal customer is an expert in the product or solution their brand offers, or whether they’ll need to be educated. This will in part determine the user flow, as well as the types of deliverables that may be involved (such as data visualizations, help guides, etc.).
5. What Makes Your Services Unique?
It’s safe to assume most clients will prefer that you design a site that sets them apart from their competitors. One way to achieve this is by learning what their unique selling point or competitive advantage is. This ensures that it can be made a core part of their website. It could be something as simple as great response times to customer inquiries or issues.
Other examples include fast or free product deliveries, offering the cheapest rates around, having unique return policies, and more. Knowing what your client’s competitive advantage is can help you incorporate elements that will ensure their target audience has the best possible impressions of the brand after visits to the site.
6. What Features Does Your Website Need to Be Successful?
The answer to this question will greatly depend on the client’s target audience and industry, as well as their goals. For example, they might want to increase their site’s visibility in search engines, boost sales, encourage engagement, or amplify newsletter signups.
One goal of the web design questionnaire is to help you get to the heart of your client’s pain points, so you can design an effective solution for them using key web design principles. Some answers to this question can include:
- Call To Action (CTA) buttons
- Live chat
- Social media integration
- Responsiveness or cross-browser compatibility
Note: Elementor provides you with the tools to tackle each of these requirements in the simplest of ways.
Sometimes, the answers to this question may be obvious. For example, if your client owns an ecommerce store, they might need product pages with clear descriptions, a smooth checkout process, payment integrations, banners highlighting deals and discounts, and so on.
Depending on your client’s business, the answer might be as simple as a contact form that includes a place for users to fill in phone numbers and other details. These can give their target audience the impression that they’re readily available.
Keep in mind that this question can be rephrased to ask what the client considers to be the most important element on their website. Your goal is to get to the heart of what they most want to see on their site, as well as what their audience needs.
7. What Are Three of Your Favorite Websites (And Why)?
If you don’t understand what kind of website features and overall feel your client wants for their website, you’ll be left with infinite design possibilities. With so many options, there’s a higher risk that your choices won’t necessarily fulfill the client’s objectives.
Inquiring about a few of the client’s favorite websites can give you a sense of what appeals to them and what they consider most important. As we’ve mentioned already, it might sometimes be necessary to rephrase a question in multiple ways to get a more complete answer.
Other ways to ask this question include:
- What image, look, or feel do you want your site to portray?
- Which features do you appreciate or dislike on competitor sites?
You’ll want to get your client to be as specific as possible when answering this question. Keep in mind that the meaning of words can be subjective, and the average client may not be fluent in web design lingo. For example, consider asking the client to elaborate on what they mean when they use broad terms such as “bold”, and acknowledge that they may have a different interpretation of what a “minimalist” web design means.
If the website requires some specialized pages, such as product or preview pages, you can ask for examples to reference. All of these details help you pin down the client’s vision of what their final deliverable should look like.
8. Are You Interested in Content Marketing Services?
One of the most important deliverables a client might require is material for their content marketing. As we mentioned earlier, this can depend on the target audience. Blog posts, videos, articles, and more may be required to round out the final project.
It is important to be aware from the start about who will be in charge of every kind of deliverable associated with the site, including website content. You’ll also need to know if the client wants their content SEO-optimized. They may even ask you to implement some performance tracking, using an analytics solution like Google Analytics.
Aside from helping you assess the scope of the project, this question presents a powerful opportunity to upsell clients. If you offer monthly content marketing and SEO services, simply asking this question can open the door to an ongoing contract, rather than a one-time project.
9. Would You Like Us to Provide Ongoing Support and Maintenance?
As someone who works in web development, you probably understand the time it can take to stay on top of website maintenance and updates. However, your client may not.
Therefore, your website design questionnaire is a good place to find out whether the client might be expecting you to handle these post-launch services. Common support and maintenance tasks can include the domain name and hosting renewals, as well as security tracking and backups.
You might want to consider charging a monthly fee to handle extra tasks such as new additions or updates to features, or generally making sure that everything remains in tip-top shape. Just as with content marketing, if you do offer monthly maintenance plans, this question can serve as an effective upselling opportunity.
10. What Is Your Budget?
From your client’s answers to the previous questions, you might be starting to get a picture of the costs involved in their web design project. You may even have some ideas that could help the client better reach their goals.
However, it’s now time to find out what the client’s budget is, as this will determine to a large extent how much can be done on their site. The client’s budget will typically influence the tools or features used or included in the final product.
For instance, if their budget is on the low end, it might make the most sense to use a website builder. On the other hand, with higher budgets, you can even plan for building custom solutions. This might include extending plugin functionality for a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress.
This information will also help you decide early on whether or not the client is suitable for you. If they’re simply unable to afford your rates or do not think the amount of work you’ll be doing is worth what you’re charging, they may not be a good fit.
11. What Is Your Ideal Launch Date for the Website?
The timeline for completing the project will influence how much you charge the client, especially if you and your team might need to work late hours to have everything ready on time. It may also mean that certain features will be prioritized over others.
A timeline effectively enables you to decide on a launch date and ensure that your team is on track to turn the project around on time. You’ll want to consider carefully whether you can commit to that deadline. This will keep you from having to pull out halfway down the road.
This is another reason that asking detailed questions is recommended. The more specifics you have about the scope of the project, the better positioned you’ll be to offer a realistic timeline to the client.
12. Do You Have Any Existing Style Guides and Guidelines?
The final question on our list asks whether or not the client has any existing style guides or other types of branding guidelines. These can help keep your designs consistent, as well as reduce revisions on the final product.
You’ll want to make sure the client lists out all such guidelines. You may need to discuss this further if you believe that any style rules do not fit in with their vision of the site. For example, will their existing brand colors or logo clash with the design they’re requesting?
Even if the client does not have any formal documents prepared, you could find out if they have online or printed materials you can draw inspiration from, such as banners or business cards. This can provide you with a solid impression of their preferences, and give you a jumping-off point for creating an outstanding style guide for them.
Download a Website Design Questionnaire Template (GDocs + PDF)
Now that you know what a web design questionnaire is and how it can help you nail down the most important details needed to fully understand your client’s vision of their project, you’ll want to begin compiling your own list.
To ease the process for you, we’ve put together a downloadable template in multiple formats. It’s available as a Google Doc and a PDF. Feel free to use it as-is, and integrate it into the first steps of your onboarding process!
Ask Well-Crafted Questions in Your Web Design Questionnaire
A web design project has a lot of moving parts, and much can go wrong during the course of its development. A website questionnaire can start things on the right foot, and ensure a relatively smooth operation all around.
In this article, we’ve discussed 12 key questions to ask a potential client before getting started on their site. These will enable you to learn about your client’s target audience, unique selling proposition, timeline, goals, and more.
Do you have any questions about creating a web design questionnaire? Let us know in the comments section below!