One of the most frustrating parts of web design projects is definitely changes and revisions. You know, all those times you’ve been SURE that you’re done with the project and 10 minutes later you get a message from your client with either a laundry list of tiny tweaks or a huge change that you never saw coming.
These kinds of things are even more frustrating if you’re working with a developer on your projects. Now, not only are you having to do extra changes and revisions that you didn’t figure into the project cost, but you’re catching heat from your developer and get stuck with extra fees from either being late on your final delivery or changing things after they’ve received your “final” files.
We’ve chatted a bit in the past about how to use your design presentation to cut down on these issues, but today we’ll go over a few quick tips for your process that will reduce extra revisions and changes in your web design projects.
1. Explain the difference of a revision versus a change
Before anything else comes client education. It’s easy to feel like clients should know and understand everything about our processes just as well as we do, but that’s not how it works. Most of the clients you get won’t have a clue that changes and revisions are different things.
Start this education phase in your welcome material by including a section on this difference. Explain that revisions include small design changes or updates based on information you were given previously, while changes lean more towards information you were given after the fact.
Also note when this difference applies. For example, I know a lot of designers who don’t mind changes throughout their design stage. However, once development starts, revisions are generally okay while changes should definitely be avoided.
In starting your education about this from the very beginning, your client will know what to expect and won’t be surprised when it comes up later in the project.
2. Make the limitations clear
Next, it’s also important to make the number of revisions and changes that are allowed clear. For example, if you allow three rounds of revisions on the design you present and two once development is complete, state that at the very beginning of the project and repeat it throughout.
For example, when I’m working with someone on custom development, they’ll see the number of revision rounds I allow in my:
- Welcome packet
- Revision-related Asana tasks
Along with this, explain what will happen if these limitations are exceeded. What will happen if you allow for 3 rounds of revisions and they need a 4th? Or what if you’ve sent the final design off to development and then they think of something else they want updated?
Just like with explaining the difference between revisions and changes, this will set expectations with your client right away, leading to fewer problems later on.
3. Keep them updated
After expectations have been set, it’s time to keep them at the front of your clients mind. As you’re working through your project’s revisions, always let them know how many rounds they have left.
For example, when you send your design off for the first round of revisions, state the fact that it’s the first round out of however many total rounds you allow. This is also a great time to include a little reminder of what types of things are and are not included in revisions.
While this again helps to set expectations, it also lets your client know that you’ll be firm about the things you’ve said previously. And most importantly, it removes their chances of claiming that they forgot or didn’t know about any limitations.
I like to do this through the description of my Asana task as well as in the very beginning of the presentation videos I send my clients. That way, I know it’s 100% clear and that they couldn’t have missed it.
4. Have them sign-off
Last, once your revisions are complete, have your clients physically sign-off saying that the designs are final. On the document they’re signing, state that everything at this point is final and what will be required if additional changes are needed after the sign-off. For example, things like additional fees, project delays, or adding a new project after the current one is complete.
This step is even more important when you’re working with a developer. That way, you know that once your client signs-off, you’ve got the green light to send your mockups to your developer and that any extra fees that come from development changes can be passed on to your client.
Many find this step intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. When getting this sign-off from your clients, use the excitement from the project and keep it casual. You can say something as simple as, “I love how this final design turned out! Since we’ve got our revisions taken care of you can sign-off using the link below and we’ll move on to the next step!”
Short and sweet.
How will you cut down on extra changes?
If extra changes and revisions are something you’ve struggled with, take a look through the above steps and decide which ones you can implement right away and get it taken care of. Comment below and let me know which new parts of your process you think will be the most helpful!
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