How to get the most out of hiring a Design Agency
Updated: Sep 29, 2021
It’s hard to tell whether the agency you’re working with can deliver on the project. With long wait times before emails, it’s easy to feel like you’re left in the dark.
When browsing a website, be sure to check their process. As it gives you a sneak peek into all the key stages they follow and will give you a better idea of what to expect.
1. Open Communication Channels
The number one rule: good communication!
We live in an age that has a variety of tools, and while email is one fundamental tool for business. It’s not necessarily the best way to communicate with a team!
When working with your agency be sure to:
Attend Face-to-Face Meetings
You can’t beat a good old-fashioned conversation, having live meetings with your clients is the best way to communicate your ideas, and for them to show you’re the progress of the project.
Create a Slack Channel
Slack is a tool to communicate with teams and clients, it is fast, easy to use and secure. Below is the dashboard of Slack on the Desktop, with the UI on the mobile app alongside.
Create an Asana Channel
Asana is a web and mobile platform that provide service in Simplified team-based work management, designed to sort, track, and manage work online.
You can invite clients to private channels, you can keep up to date on the progress of more complicated tasks all via one platform.
2. Do some research!
Your agency isn’t going to understand the “tricks of the trade” as you do.
Let your agency know what to expect, who your competitors are, and some of the things that do or don’t work in the industry.
Some agencies will focus on meetings, but the team here at Rove enjoy running workshops… this is where the fun begins!
A customer persona represents a typical person that could make up a larger portion of a group of people. This persona has various needs, drives and preferred media channels.
You want to understand who your customers are and create a story for them.
The point is to create a realistic profile, that almost reminds you of someone you know!
Focus on the pain points, as identifying these drivers allows our clients to position their unique selling proposition to help market their message better!
Your agency will help you with the specifics.
Below is one of the Customer Personas we used for a client:
3. Juicy Content & Consistent Branding
It must be hard to verbalise exactly how you envision the idea that’s in your head. It seems like there something missing, or the colour scheme isn’t what you had hoped!
Workshops create an exciting work environment to be a part of.
A framework for developing a brand, simplify your message and place your customer persona in the centre of it all; is to build a StoryBrand.
There are 7 steps:
Your Customer is the Hero…
Who has a problem, also known as the pain points.
That meets a guide, who will provide them with the help they need (this is your company!)
The guide has a plan, explanation of how your company can support the hero.
Calls them to action, where the hero must rise to the occasion.
The guides plan helps them avoid failure.
Which succeeds, and the hero will realize that your company can improve their lives!
Think of any heroic movie plot, Star Wars… Lord of The Rings… Harry Potter… Spiderman…
They all follow this hero’s journey!
This will be used in the tone of voice, the look, and how your brand “feels” to your customer persona.
4. Failing to plan, is planning to fail!
By this point, your agency has plenty of resources, and now is ready to create a plan of attack!
If you have any ideas of specific features, or how you envision the platform to act be sure to bring these points up.
Working with clients and brainstorming is bound to have strokes of genius pop up and arise in the workspace.
The next step for the agency is to create wireframes and flows of how the product will work.
Wireframes are low fidelity sketches of what the website will look like, showing this to the client physically see what it may look like, and make and add changes.
Here is a wireframe from some work that we have done recently:
User flows are pathways that can be taken by the customer to complete tasks. This means the steps that a customer will take as they scroll through your platform.
It also ensures that everything goes to the right place in a way that matches the StoryBrand!
This content can be relayed and reworked with the client, as it is easier to draw a design than fully develop a website!
Miro is an online collaboration platform we use at Rove, that can provide elegant deliverables, here is an example of what a user flow might look like:
User Interface (UI) & User Experience (UX)
This is a design term that is a combination of two elements.
The interface is optimised in a way that is appealing to the eye and feels familiar.
While the experience is about creating something pleasurable to use and not overly difficult to find what you’re looking for.
Look at the below example of a heat map of how a user might use your platform and talk with your client on what you can offer that supports your customers.
Photo credit goes to Practical eCommerce
A Stylescape is created by your Designer, which is a collection of imagery, textures, typefaces, and colours that will define the visual direction of your brand.
These are better shown than explained, so check out the image for NuRange, taken from Flow State Branding
Stylescapes allow your agency to refine the direction of the project and move towards the final product.
5. Prepare to Launch!
This is the home stretch; all of this will be bundled into a brief for the team of developers.
Your platform will be created, bug tested and optimised for Search Engines.
It’s nearly time for you to take the reins, your agency still has a lot of work to do.
Google Analytics is one of the tools that will be set up that analyses information about the visitors on the platform.
With your business goals in mind and set up, you can see live data of how well your site is working. If you’re not the most tech-savvy, talk to your client about the implications.
The screenshot below is taken from Neil Patel's blog.
With all these new tools and applications, we’ve mentioned, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed!
Your agency can provide easy to follow reports, on what all the data means.
It’s not uncommon to be given a training manual too!
6. But wait… There’s more!
Don’t think that is the last you’ll hear from them, any good agency will check up to review the performance of the site, update the SEO, ensure your content is on-brand, and consider new trends.
So, there will be an ongoing plan to improve the platform once it’s done.
Have you been thinking about building a new platform; and like the idea of bespoke designs and innovative workshops.
If you have been thinking about building a new site or an app, and like the idea of bespoke designs and innovative workshops, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to meet for coffee or click here to book a call so we can start to put some ideas on paper.
Thanks for reading!