Do clients have to ‘like’ their website?

When we are designing a website for a client, I try to always keep a sharp focus on the client’s target audience(s) – the people to whom the website needs to engage with – as that is the star we need to sail by.

This is especially important when discussing initial website designs with the client as without the frame of reference of this ‘target audience‘ the client will (quite rightly) fall back on something else – their personal preference.

That’s not to say clients don’t need to like their websites – they do (despite the clickbait title!) – it’s just that if we agree that the basic purpose of a website is to move a defined online audience from one state to another, then a client’s unqualified*, individual preferences should not be the primary driver in the design process.

(*by ‘unqualified’ I do not mean the client is not qualified to give feedback – I mean that the feedback itself needs to be qualified). 

In short: we need to justify the elements of the design and explain the rationale of why something has been included.


Reading the above you could be excused for thinking that the act of presenting and getting feedback on designs with clients is a very confrontational process – it’s not like that at all! I’m just trying to convey that I think it is the purpose of the designer/agency to use their experience to steer the design in the right direction – one that solves an online problem – not just to do whatever ‘keeps the client’ happy.

Does it make sense to the target audience?

When processing feedback on visual designs, a key question is whether it makes sense to the target audience? Does the change, or the inclusion of the element make their life easier when using the website?

If I, from the design agency perspective, feels like the suggestion doesn’t help, then I’ll say so – and give justifications. If, after I have explained to the client our reasoning, the client still wishes to do so – fine – the client is the client at the end of the day. As long as I am happy we have done our best to explain the pros and cons, then I feel we have done our job.

So, there we go, a short and sweet post today :) Feel free to share your experiences below or, better still, jump over to our Facebook Group where we can more easily discuss.




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