This is probably the most difficult thing to do when starting a new project. Everyone has a different way of expressing things and sometimes it can be a bit difficult to understand exactly what it is the client wants.
Sometimes the client has images, drawings, plans, layouts and everything planned exactly how they want. It’s rare, but it does happen. When it does the whole project goes amazingly smoothly and everything falls into place very quickly.
The next level is when the client has a specific idea in mind but no actual plans written or drawn out. This is still extremely useful and helpful and we at ASIT Group have found it most beneficial to quickly draw up a few different possibilities based on what we understood from the client and ask them which one is closest or for them to mix and match the possibilities. Eventually the client does get what they want but it may take a little bit longer.
The final level is when a client has nothing. Literally nothing to give you. They might be able to give you a word, like ‘inspiring’ and that’s all. It then becomes extremely difficult to understand what the client wants their product to look, act and feel. It becomes necessary to approach the project more like an artist than an engineer and the whole process becomes very iterative.
The final issue to consider is how much input you should have. The client may have a very specific image in their mind but, it might be bad. It might be really bad. So bad that the internet should never see it. What can you do? You can advise the client not to proceed with that idea, you can present other possibilities to them but if they are stuck on their train of thought then they will want their idea to be produced, no matter how hideous. The best you can do is offer the alternatives but in the end you will develop the product and the client will be happy and that’s all that matters.