Being technically capable of completing your work is only half of the job for a web developer. You must take a client’s vision and translate it into a concrete product that accomplishes the desired business goals if you want to be a successful developer.
This is why it’s crucial to start a project by asking the proper discovery questions. Asking the correct questions will help you provide a higher-quality product that is more in line with your client’s needs while also ensuring that you grasp the project’s scope and deliverables.
A higher-quality product will probably result in a satisfied customer who will speak well about your offerings to other possible customers. In other words, by starting a project with the correct questions, you’re laying the groundwork for future business growth.
We will now look at 12 questions you might ask in your upcoming web development project keeping everything in mind. Let’s get going.
In this section, we’ll concentrate on the inquiries you can make of a customer to learn more about their operation, clients, and how these things may affect your project decisions.
1. How do you see this initiative assisting your company both now and in the future? Do you have any specific goals you’d like to accomplish?
This inquiry reveals the project’s underlying motivations from the perspective of the business. Businesses invest money for a purpose; they need to see a visible return on it, and we want to know what they hope to gain from doing so.
For instance, clients might wish to boost traffic to their blog posts, increase sales on their eCommerce platform, or raise the SEO rankings of their website. All of these objectives are legitimate business goals, and we must be aware of them up front in order to provide a product that will help us meet those objectives.
This time-boxing enables us to adopt strategies that meet both categories of objectives while also inspiring the client to consider them, if they haven’t done so before.
The short-term objective of increasing blog traffic is an excellent illustration. That’s a worthy objective, but we must comprehend the rationale behind our increased traffic. Is it a company’s reputation? Is the traffic being made profitable? Or is there another option entirely? Instead of coding ourselves into a corner, we may work together to build a solution that can be readily extended in the future to support the client’s long-term goals by helping them consider their goals and the timelines they want to reach them in.
In essence, we can together develop a better knowledge of the solution that needs to be delivered and then work on constructing that together by understanding our client’s goals and timescales.
2. Who will oversee the project’s business operations?
You need a single point of contact within the company who you can address any inquiries to, catch up with, and eventually get approvals from if you’re a developer. You may establish a rapport with the client and establish a collaborative partnership from the outset by inquiring up front about who will be in charge of the project before you begin working.
This inquiry may also lead to the firm selecting a project lead and, if they haven’t previously, giving that person responsibility and authority. As a developer, you might believe that you don’t need to worry about this, but if there isn’t a single person in charge to whom you can defer, it can be simple for a project’s specifications to alter as different corporate representatives offer their input.
Different individuals inside a company may have different ideas on how a project ought to be carried out, seem, or work. In the end, scope creep for you results if this isn’t handled or addressed by the business early on. If we’re not careful, a project can grow significantly and become much bigger than it was intended to be, which has its own set of issues.
This is why it’s crucial to decide who the project owner will be and to make sure that they approve of every new feature requests and scope adjustments. This guarantees that the scope remains reasonable and that one stakeholder has a unified vision for the finished result.
3. Who do they currently see as being their main rival(s) in their sector?
This may seem like an odd topic to ask at first, but knowing your client’s competitors will help you provide a better project. Once you know the names of your rivals, you can research their websites. What are they good at? What could they do better? What do they lack? What should we know about them?
Then, for your project, you can use the best suggestions from their rivals, add the details they omitted, and steer clear of the errors they made. Why is this crucial? Because your client and their competition are vying for the same customers, you can boost your client’s chances of stealing the market share from the rivals by building a website that users will love using more.
4. Describe the usual or typical user?
Customers are a company’s most vital component. There is no way to run a firm without customers. Because of this, it’s critical that we assist the client in creating a project that places a strong emphasis on users.
In order to make informed design and development decisions, we need to engage with the company to gather as much information as we can about the users of the website.
For instance, you would want to spend in making the mobile version of the website as full-featured as possible while still providing a smooth experience for visitors if the target demographic of the website is more prevalent on mobile than on desktop. Consider the UI layout as well. Does it require a simpler design to appeal to a less tech-savvy audience? Or, could it be more complex? These responses come to us when we consider the target audience.
It is more probable that you will produce a project that meets your client’s needs if you know who you are developing it for and why, and use that knowledge to guide the project’s design and development. We may ensure that we maximize user experiences by placing a strong emphasis on them. This will help us boost the possibility that users will complete a purchase or other action.
Consider two of the most popular websites in the world: Amazon and Google. Both prioritize the user experience. Searching for items is quick and simple with Google, and buying items on Amazon is quick and straightforward with recommendations based on previous purchases. People return to them because they’re made to make your life as simple as possible.
Any firm can and ought to prioritize its customers; it’s not just the biggest corporations in the world that should do this. Don’t allow a poor website user experience to drive customers to a rival.
In this section, we concentrate on project-specific queries and how they can influence your decisions.
5. How are you currently addressing the issues that this initiative is intended to address?
With this inquiry, we hope to learn more about how the client currently approaches the issue that they are asking you to resolve. Is this an old or new issue? Have they resolved it in any way? Here, we want you to highlight any additional issues that they could be facing that are unrelated to this project but could affect how they perceive your work. For example, let’s say a client wants to increase the sales of a product via their website, and they want you to redesign their online shop to achieve this. That is a valid project to undertake but we want to also check that the other portions of the sales pipeline are in place and working, how is their social media strategy? What about marketing? How about existing SEO?
How is the company managing them if these other pipeline segments aren’t in place? Are they looking for possible remedies right now? Or, have they never thought of these topics before?
As independent contractors, it is crucial that the project we are working on may be evaluated using KPIs that our project affects. We may adjust and get an agreement with the business on KPIs that are pertinent to the project by identifying these additional requirements and challenges early on.
Continuing with our example of the shop, updating the shop page might assist boost conversion rates for current traffic, but if they’re trying to boost sales, other things might have an impact on this measure. In this case, we may agree with the company that the shop page redesign project’s success will be determined more by the shop page conversion rate than by the overall volume of sales. By doing this, the statistic used to determine our performance will be directly tied to it and won’t be impacted by problems that are unrelated to it.
6. Will the company offer artwork, copy, and resources? Will resources be made available to address questions about these?
There is much more to creating a great website than just the code, whether the website is for a customer or not. Effective writing, a design that enforces the desired user journeys, and assets that highlight the company or its products are all necessary for a successful website.
This content should be considered while determining the scope of the project’s work. Are you going to have to offer these services? If so, do you possess the knowledge and expertise to deliver them to a caliber that will help your client accomplish their objectives? Or will you have to contract this work out?
Or does the client supply these resources on their own? If so, to whom should inquiries be directed? Are they accessible to address adjustments or issues as the process progresses?
When estimating a project’s cost and creating a schedule, all of this should be considered.
7. What kind of information will be shown on the website? Does the website need to connect to current systems or procedures?
Very few websites in the contemporary world we live in contain only text; instead, the majority now contain a variety of media and material, including photographs, videos, live streaming, and embedded social media posts. All of these content kinds are legitimate client requests, therefore we need to be aware of them up front.
Videos can sometimes be more difficult to handle in contemporary web frameworks than photos.
Do they require a specially created solution for this? Will they instead integrate open-access videos from already-established platforms? We need to factor in the extra time and specialized knowledge needed to create a custom solution in the project.
But there are other factors that we need look at and be aware of as well. Many organizations already have systems and processes in place that must communicate with their websites. Take a clothing retailer as an example. If the website is unable to connect to the warehouse and store inventory systems, it will never be able to meet the needs of the company.
Before a project starts, it is essential to comprehend the client’s content needs as well as the systems and processes that govern their company. We require this data in order to make informed decisions on the project’s technology, services, and solution options. Instead than rushing into a project and discovering halfway through that the wrong service was hired and that everything needs to be altered, adding more expense and delays, it is better to take more time up front to investigate the best service(s) for the job.
8. Who will continue to maintain the website? Who will be in charge of administering, uploading, and amending the content there?
Who will be responsible for maintaining the website is another important topic. In the future, who will be uploading and producing fresh content? The way you handle information on the website will be greatly influenced by the answers to these questions.
If the users are non-technical, you should choose a CMS like WordPress that provides a graphical user interface (GUI) for them to use so they don’t have to worry about the technical elements of doing it. Alternately, if the project’s consumers are developers or other highly technical people, you might look into different services and solutions to employ.
However, creating a solution that satisfies the requirements of both the business and the users of the project you create is crucial. At all costs, we want to avoid developing a project that fully satisfies the needs of the client but that they won’t be able to utilize in the future.
9. Is this a brand-new project or an adaption of one that already exists?
This query is intended to assist you in comprehending the volume of work necessary and any technical expertise you might be required to possess. You must determine whether you currently possess the necessary skills to work on it if the customer tells you they have an existing codebase and wish to preserve it for some reason. What if it is encoded in a language you aren’t familiar with? Alternatively, are you utilizing a new technology?
Of course, presenting a migration to a new solution is a viable course of action in this circumstance, but you must account for this additional effort in your timetables and price to make sure they include everything your customer needs and desires from the old solution in the new one.
For many developers, having the client tell them they want a fresh project created from scratch would be the ideal end of this project. This indicates that you are free to select the tech stack and services of your choosing, but the significance of this choice should not be minimized.
You want to avoid using experimental technology that might become obsolete overnight because the choice you make now will probably affect this client for a while. When selecting the technology for a new project, consider the long term as well as your immediate needs.
10. Which element of this project is, for you and the company, the most crucial? What causes you the most concern?
We want the client to answer this question by stating what is crucial to them, the project, and the company. Most project managers want the project to be successful so they may benefit personally and the company as a whole. Using this question will help you determine what is most essential to each party and how to address it.
For instance, the company’s objective might be to increase visitors to their shop pages, whilst the project manager’s objective might be to complete this project on schedule. By having this knowledge up front, you can take these needs into consideration when estimating the amount of work to be done and as the project develops.
In this case, as the project moves forward, you are aware that the project manager is concerned with deadlines, so you want to keep them informed of any potential delays in delivery as well as the project’s progress and expected completion dates. You can establish a good rapport with the project manager and get their support by helping them accomplish their own objectives as well as the objectives of the entire company.
11. What is the project’s budget? What are the initial and ongoing allowances you receive?
One of the key factors in determining a project’s success is its budget. We must be aware of the project’s initial and ongoing budgets before we can begin devising a solution for the issue the company is experiencing.
The two budgets are crucial. The business will probably have to bear higher upfront costs when setting up the technology, goods, and services for the project, but the ongoing budget is equally crucial.
The client won’t be able to afford the solution in the long run if we locate a solution that meets their needs but is much outside of their budget. We must make sure the solutions we pick for the project are inexpensive in the long run to ensure customer success as many services and products are moving to a pay-monthly basis.
12. When should the project be completed? When do they hope to see outcomes?
Both you and the company are at stake in this. The customer should be aware of the outcomes they anticipate from the project, as well as when they anticipate seeing them.
To ensure that we can finish the project on time, we must ensure that the timetables are realistic. But we must also establish realistic deadlines for the client to witness the project’s accomplishments.
For instance, it would be unreasonable to anticipate a significant boost in traffic from SEO after just three months if the objective was to overhaul a marketing website. Since SEO is a lengthy game that requires regular effort over time rather than a one-time project, it is more acceptable to set the expectation of 6 to 12 months.
To avoid potential problems later in the project, it is crucial to make sure the client is fully informed of these timelines and that communication with them is open and honest.
Setting reasonable and achievable expectations for the client to see outcomes is just as important as managing the timeframes and deadlines for a project.
In this article, we’ve examined 12 various questions, their importance to ask, and how they eventually help us give clients final items of greater quality.
We should approach a freelance web development assignment as an opportunity to assist a business grow and achieve its goals rather than just another website to construct because doing so will ultimately be much more satisfying for us.
Last but not least, if you ever worry if you have enough questions regarding a project, ask more. It is impossible to have too much project knowledge. We can produce a better product if we have more knowledge about the company, the project, and its target market.