How to Placate Clients Who Are Dissatisfied with Your Designs

Web-site owners are preoccupied with design for evident reasons: They want to retain their customers and entice new ones. They know that design really matters because 75% of users base their judgments of Web-site credibility on their site’s overall aesthetics. Plus, 94% of first impressions relate to design. Moreover, when analyzing your proposed design concepts, your clients respond just as ordinary users would and, accordingly, decide whether they should retain your services. All clients have their own opinions and expectations about design, so it is inevitable that client dissatisfaction and misunderstandings will sometimes occur.

There may be many reasons for the emergence of misunderstandings between a designer or design agency and a client—for example, the absence of a detailed design brief, poorly set expectations, cross-cultural differences, or a designer’s failure to deeply understand the business domain.

But sometimes it’s impossible to take into account all the peculiarities of a project. Despite the considerable and constant efforts of a Creative Director to convey clear requirements and keep a project on track, it is always possible that you’ll miss the mark and have to deal with a client who doesn’t appreciate some aspect of your initial design concept. Even though it would be impossible to make a comprehensive survey of all the possible reasons for a client to reject a design solution, we’ve found some practical ways in which we can usually avoid a client’s disfavor.

Avoiding Asking Clients What They Like

Asking clients what they do or don’t like about a design solution can be difficult to manage, so it’s best not to do this. It’s risky to incite clients to think about why they dislike an example of your design work or an initial design solution. Plus, in determining what kind of design solution they expect to get in the end, they may form an abstract, ideal outcome in their mind that it’s impossible for them to communicate effectively and thus, impossible for you to achieve. Moreover, they’ll judge your previous design work, comparing it to this imaginary ideal.

As a rule, clients ask for the help of a designer because they lack the creativity and specific skills necessary to develop a design solution themselves. So it’s often hard for them to explain any preconceived ideas they might have. Problems may arise once you’ve designed a user interface because your clients still feel free to express their assumptions, show their imagination, and propose weird ideas that would puzzle a UX designer who sees the overall solution from an entirely different perspective. Nevertheless, you have no choice but to try to understand your client’s tastes, wishes, and expectations.

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