So you’ve got a meeting with a client or colleague – maybe you’re there ready to take on a new job.
Perhaps a client is outlining what they need? The deliverables, the deadlines, the ideas. Now as easy, friendly and convenient as it is to smile, nod and agree with everything that’s said, what relevant knowledge are you contributing to the conversation? Absolutely NOTHING!
It is an essential part of any designer’s job to ask a multitude of questions. For some of us it comes as second nature, however sometimes we do think we’ll overcomplicate the process, or maybe we’re in a hurry, but questions should always be raised without exception.
Not only is it a sign of being an active listener, it will often lead to a more profound understanding of the task at hand for both parties. Most of the time, your questioning will lead to your client becoming more aware of the scope of work. Remember that you are the experienced one in your field, your client might have limited knowledge of the subject but you can bring experience to the table. Use your experience to raise relevant points as they come up, don’t shy away or be afraid of your suggestions being rejected.
I find that in order to understand the true needs and produce the best outcome, you consistently need to raise questions about the needs of the final user. Who are you targeting? What obstacle are they trying to overcome? What are they trying to achieve? By raising questions about the final user, both you and your client will be able to easily see through the target’s eyes as opposed to their own (Something which maybe hadn’t been considered before now!). This will ensure that you’re now much more prepared than you would’ve been had you not raised any questions.
Being more prepared and engaging with your client can give you a competitive edge, as it will lead to a more thorough approach. An approach which delivers better results.
It is a designer’s responsibility to find out as much as they can about a job before undertaking it, and there’s no better way to do this than by asking questions! Now, some people might get irritated by your constant barrage of questions, don’t fret, it’s part of your job to do this. If they want a great result, they’re going to have to get used to the questions! If they don’t know the answer (My turn to ask you a question) – Are you asking the right people?
Making this a habit will change and improve the way you do things – Become professional question askers and learn as much as you can before you approach any task.