If you explain so clearly that nobody can misunderstand, somebody will. I dare to propose a corollary to this Murphy’s law: Asking clarifying questions is crucial. In web design, as in any creative project, misunderstanding between a customer and a designer can lead to longer project duration and a website with many “crutches” and “patches.”
Through trial and error, many designers understand why a website design questionnaire is a must-have. But googling “questionnaire template” gives way too wordy explanations.
Most guides boil down to asking as many questions as possible. The main problem here is that it is too dull, and clients will close these questionnaires. Therefore, I would like to clarify how to create a universal and straightforward website design questionnaire that will help web designers collect only relevant information from their clients.
What Is a Web Design Questionnaire?
Formally, this is a list of questions with information describing the client’s vision of the site, the results the client would like to achieve, and the designer’s possibilities. In fact, it is a client-designer interaction tool effective for marketing and management purposes. The web design questionnaire is a double-edged sword that filters unsuitable designers and clients.
Web design questionnaires have the following benefits.
- They save time by identifying the main theses, helpful information, clients’ needs, and preferable designs.
- Make it easier to assess the scope of work, timing, cost, etc.
- Decrease the number of edits and possible disputes.
- Compare the intended designs to competitors and identify business weaknesses.
- They can save time by discussing details.
- It is possible to judge the design and technological capabilities of the developer’s studio.
- Give a fresh look at business and, therefore, new ideas.
- The final result will meet the expectations and ideas.
Web Design Questionnaire Structure
Standard questionnaires have dozens of questions. I grouped them into several blocks:
- information about the company;
- purpose of the site;
- target audience;
- preferable design;
- the budget needed to create and develop the website;
- customer contacts (mail, messengers, phone);
- additional information (you need to allow the client to add something important).
You can use any format you find convenient:
- Google Document or Google Form;
- survey platforms such as SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, SurveyTown, or Typeform;
- a ready-made questionnaire template from Paperform or Web Design Questionnaire.
From my own experience, PDF questionnaire templates are not convenient. Survey platforms offer limited free functionality. Google Forms look too simple. That’s why building query forms and implementing them on your site is a good idea.
Mastering the Website Questionnaire Creation
You can ask a lot to impress the client’s project. But too many questions are the best way to scare off clients, and they will close the questionnaire. In this section, I’d like to balance the number of questions and their efficiency.
Look at the list below. I tried to explain the purpose of every question.
- Information about the company and products/services:
- name, address, phone, e-mail, social networks, specific services to use, distinctive design elements, and focus keywords because different products/services envisage particular design features (i.e., eco-friendly products 一 green colors);
- branding style to know the branding elements of the company.
Traditionally, official sites or social network accounts present data about the company, so make it is possible to upload a file or provide the link to this data.
2. Purpose of the site (i.e., informative, advertising, a landing page):
- What is the purpose of the website? – to understand a concept of the site to be developed;
- What are the business tasks? – to develop a structure and functionality tentatively;
- Do you have a previously developed site that needs a redesign? – to estimate the scope of redesigning works;
- What are the expected results? – to understand which site elements matter the most to the client;
- What metrics will evaluate your work? – to know what web analytics tools you need.
Show the best design examples from your collection for different types of sites. Make it possible to leave a voice message to save time.
3. Target audience:
- What is your target audience (age, location, gender, education, occupation, etc.)? – to know what design elements (colors, images, and fonts) to use on the website;
- What keywords will your audience use to find your site? – to know the positioning of the text blocks and their sizes.
Use Google Analytics to get the current data on the actual target audience.
4. Preferable design:
- Add a few links to referenced sites – to know what features are the best and to adopt the best ideas;
- Show your preference in web design (i.e., forms, cards,
- social media buttons, call buttons, online order/e-commerce, search, portfolio/gallery, price tables, forum, tutorials, etc.) – to understand what styles the client likes, provide examples of features that might be hard to describe, and propose websites design samples;
- What do you like about the referenced site? – to know what design elements (colors, images, and fonts) to use on the website and suggest the grounded terms for every stage and the site as a whole.
Use the bulleted lists for the clients to mark the needed design elements. Use images as much as possible to show the design element (i.e., forms, buttons, etc.) and their possible modifications because it is much easier for people to choose from ready-made options.
- Specify a few key competitors and include links to their sites – to learn the main trends and techniques used in the site’s development and decide whether to use similar elements or develop a radically opposite design.
- What are the deadlines to develop the site? – to determine if the client’s needs can be met by the deadline and provide a timeline to show what element development meets the deadline and what elements you can add later.
Present approximated terms to develop different site elements.
- What is the budget? – to know if the budget is realistic and can meet this project’s goals.
Every web design project should be clear and realistic. You should know what needs to be done, when, and how much it will cost. A website questionnaire is the best way to hit this goal.
Questionnaire Development: Best Practices
Unfortunately, good ideas often stumble over implementation, even if you discuss as much as possible at the initial stage.
I combed through the Internet and found the following tips and tricks in the field of website design questionnaire development:
- Do not annoy clients with many questions and place the most important questions first because clients can quickly close a lengthy questionnaire.
- Start the questionnaire with opening sentences to clarify the goal of the questionnaire and specify the approximate time they take to answer.
- Use best examples from your portfolio or collections, such as websites built with Elementor and Crocoblock.
- Use neutral language and short, clear sentences.
- Do not annoy your clients with professional terms.
- If the questionnaire is long, show a progress bar.
The development of the website is not the final point of your cooperation with the client. Post factum web designing questions matter for long-term collaboration.
I propose you not focus on the interpersonal communication but ask:
- Do you want me/the studio to do further maintenance? – like creating new pages and sections, updating information, checking the relevance of information, setting up Google Analytics and web analytics, and creating backups.
- Can I give you a reference for a hosting provider?
- Can I include your site in my collection and share it in other collections? (i.e., Awwwards).
There are no requirements, but the main thing is the client’s convenience, and the completeness of the information received.
There is no strict structure, but developing the general form shows all stages of project development correctly.
Yes, you can use any service, in particular mentioned below.
Designers will create an individual price list for you with only the necessary work to develop your site.
The clients are not always ready to fill out the questionnaires independently. In this case, you can meet with them or call them to fill out the questionnaire together. If there are difficulties, ask the clients for the contact details of the trustees to discuss all issues with them.
The best ideas start with well-defined goals. The specific needs and restrictions do not limit your fantasy but give the general vision of the future design. Ask the right questions, but do not make the questionnaire too long and tedious.
When creating a web design questionnaire, you should ponder the questions and their presentation. Thus, your questionnaire could turn out exciting and picturesque. It should be another hook to attract clients’ attention and start a long-term cooperation.