Questions about getting a website’s content from the client

Robert_82

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Some background information regarding my questions:

I studies graphic design at university and one of our classes throughout the years was website design. Here we were taught to design the layouts of websites, and after we learned to develop them in Wordpress. We also studied HTML and CSS and JavaScript so that we can customise Wordpress sites. We never used pre built themes. For the school projects we had to find bad design websites on the internet, make a presentation on why they are bad, and redesign the layout of the sites, after build them using Wordpress. For the content we had to use imagery from stock photo libraries and for the text we used placeholder text. So the content for these school projects was sourced by us. We learned that in real life projects content which is imagery and text is always provided by the client.

This is where it gets confusing to me, and I would like to ask experienced designers some questions regarding this. This is the reason I’m asking the following questions, because I would like to do freelance website design in the future, and the getting the content part of the design process is unclear and confusing to me. I would like to ask the following questions regarding this. I apologise for the lengthy post. I appreciate all the answers provided. Thank you for your time and effort.


1.

Who decides what images are used in a website’s layout design, the client or the designer ?

Hypothetically I have to design a website for an Italian restaurant, do I have to give very specific instructions to the client about each image that he needs to send me. For example instruct the client to send me an image for the hero header section of the website, which should be 1280px by 720px and has to display a pizza which is on the right hand side of a brown wooden table with some tomatoes scattered around it and some white flour sprinkled around it, makes sure there is nothing on the left side because this is where the title and sub title will be located. Then repeat this process for all of the other images required for the website?

Or do I use any image the client provides me for the hero image, and also for the rest of the images?

Or do we decide what the images look like and their composition together with the client?

Do I make this decision entirely on my own, choosing all of the imagery from stock photography?

Does the client hire a photographer who shoots the images? In this case do I just use the images sent to me by the photographer, or do I have to work together with the photographer instructing the photographer what I need, giving him specific instructions about what each images should look like and display?


2.

Who decides what is the written text or the body copy in the website, the text which is in the titles, sub-titles, paragraphs, and in the call to action buttons?

Does the client decide what all of the written text will be?

Does the client have to hire a copywriter who will create all of this?

Do I the designer have to create all of this?


3.

At which stage of the website design process we have to have all of the content (text and imagery) ready from the client? At school we learned that content has to be ready before we start making the website’s UI design, because we will use the text and imagery sent by the client at this stage. These final designs will be 100% accurate and represent how the developed website will look in the browser once online. We learned that before doing all of this, first we have to do some low-fidelity sketches with pen and paper, these show the structure, layout of each web page, and all of the page elements. Next based on the sketches we made, we make wireframes using software like UX Pin or Balsamiq. These wireframes are very basic, monochrome in colour, they use dummy text and the images are represented by a rectangle with a cross through it. We learned that once the client approves these wireframes and we received all the content from them, we start the final UI design, in school we used Adobe XD for this process.

My question regarding this is, should we have all of the content ready from our client before we start the sketching process ?

I am confused about this because I researched on the internet and so far found information that states you should have all content ready at the very beginning, even before you start making the website layout sketches. But I remember the teacher telling us in school, that once the wireframes created with UX Pin or Balsamiq are approved by the client, we then send the client a list of content needed based on those wireframes, and once we receive all of the content we use that to make the final UI designs with Adobe XD.

Based on what do you decide the type and amount of content (text and imagery) needed to be gathered from the client?
 

hipcat

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Usually it's a process where you and your client work together to build it the way the client wants it.

It starts with the client giving you an idea of how they want it to look and you do a mock up/initial layout design of the site with stock images and placeholder text. Then the client either approves the layout or suggests revisions until it is to their satisfaction.

As the designer you do NOT need to provide the final text or images, as that is very specific to each client and needs to be provided by them, not you. Your job is to design the website, not provide the specific content.

The client should give you the text and images to use, or add it later themselves, depending on the CMS used.

Good luck on your projects!!
 

Robert_82

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Thank you very much for the reply. I really appreciate it, and everything makes more sense now.
You mentioned that : you do a mock up/initial layout design of the site with stock images and placeholder text.
If the client likes the stock images, then do I just purchase the approved imagery and later on charge them in the final invoice?
Or are these stock images for art direction purpose, meaning the client has to supply me an image which resembles the stock image?
 

hipcat

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hipcat
There are a few ways it can go...

If the website is made for a client with their own images they want used (for example, an artist, painting contractor, realtor portfolio, car dealer, etc), then they will give you their images to replace the stock photos. The stock ones would only be used to show the client the general layout of how the site will look.

If the website is for a client where privacy is important, such as a therapist, doctor, lawyer, certain businesses, etc., then stock photos of happy, smiling people in an office setting and some general equipment images would be used.

If that's the case then you have 3 options:

1. Pay for the commercial rights to use the specific stock images you use, after they have been approved by the client as suitable to their needs. Do this as needed for each website you make.

2. Pay for an agency or developer account with a stock footage company so that you can use ANY image they have whenever you need it.

3. Use a royalty-free image from a website that allows their images to be used for commercial purposes.

Your final invoice should reflect the overall cost according to whichever of the above 3 options you used.

Over the past 17 years of building more than 200 websites I've used every option there is for every type of client and I keep a master list of resources that I can draw upon to suit each individual client's needs. If you plan to make a career out of it then you have to make sure you are well organized to face every conceivable website concept.
 
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