Design through your client's perspective

Yesterday I heard a great story of a piece of advice a school consultant gave to a 2nd grade teacher. They were discussing the positioning of alphabet letters and other educational imagery around the classroom. His advice was for the teacher to walk around the classroom on her knees—at the same eye-level of her 7 year old students. Her perception of the classroom totally changed as she saw her surroundings from a different perspective, and she made changes accordingly.

This seems like such an obvious concept from a marketing angle, yet many small businesses and start-ups struggle when conveying their product or service to potential paying customers. Some companies know their marketplace well but tend to forget who they are marketing to and those potential clients’ expertise.

Ok, so now the comparison has been drawn, how does this relate to design and messaging? I can preach all day about what people are doing “wrong” in my opinion, but it wouldn’t be good for me to talk about this subject without addressing a few ways to tackle a new web project or improve an existing brochure. From a visual branding standpoint, there are a few questions to ask before you go about a new design or evaluate an existing layout.

  • Is the product or service in plain site?
  • If a product, can you show a person using the product?
  • If a service, is there a way you can show people interacting or the end result?
  • Is the text easy to read, and for that matter understand in the client’s mind?
  • Is there a clear call-to-action?

Answering simple questions like these and taking appropriate action will have your landing page or brochure headed in the right direction. Of course, there are many more. For the most part, I’m merely talking about taking a step back and trying to approach your web site or marketing collateral project from the perspective of your customer. Sound like a novel idea? More like Marketing 101—which for most of us was a long time ago! And how soon we tend to forget.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. You might even want to walk around on your knees!

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