5 Tools That I Use To Manage Design Client Communication

I don’t usually write this kind of article. Because I am sure everybody has their own app preferences to manage the communication with design client.

I believe no one size fits all. For me, if you are happy with email or Slack. Why not?

If you are looking for some inspirations to improve the way you communicate in a design process. I hope you find this article useful.

I make Invision as a mood board to communicate my ideas, and get feedback.

Actually I have a few alternatives to make a mood board and communicate it with my client. Sometimes I did it with Pinterest. Sometimes with the bucket feature in Dribbble.

Invision is the best one so far, because I can put annotations right on the visual that I want to give explanations.
 
You can check out here to see how I make Invision as a moodboard:

Sample of my mood board in Invision.

I use Appear.in for a call and screen sharing.

Appear.in is just another video conference app. But I like it.

It works very simple, because we don’t need to register or download. We only need to create a room link and share the link to the client.

Very helpful one for those who are not always logged-in to Skype (like me) — And oh yeah… I often forget the password :p

Me & Matt from Hanno.co. He told me about Appear.in last year.

I record my screen and make a design update run-through with Quick Time Player.

How do you send a design update to your client?

Email? Yeah, So do I.

But sometimes I have a lengthy explanation, and it’s difficult to explain via an email. I also need to embed some of the visual in order to give a better explanation.

For me, if it’s only one or two updates then email is the simplest way.

Then what about if you want to send a full design and explain the whole concept?

I use Invision, just as my mood board. I love it because I can put some annotations on every part of the design. In other words, I don’t need to crop every single detail of my design and write explanations one by one on it.

In Invision, I put some annotations to explain my design.

Yet I am still not satisfied with Invision for some cases. Let say, if I want to explain an interaction concept or show some inspirations from other websites. That would be a bit of a hassle if I stick to use Invision.

Screen recording is the best answer (so far) for this. I only need to spend 5 to 10 minutes for making the video compared to writing a long update in email which can take 15–25 minutes.

I can easily switch from browser to sketch. From one website to another website. So I can tell the client more about the process, how my choice finally ended up to these colours or that layout.

Another app that makes this workflow even more perfect is Dropbox. I can simply upload the video to Dropbox then send the link to my client.

Voila…

My client can directly stream the video, no download required.

I put the the videos in Dropbox.

At the end of the day whatever the tools, if you make a design update, it should be as clear as possible. A clear understanding likely produces acceptance from the client.

I use Teamweek to always communicate the project timeline and progress.

I experienced some project delays because of my clients didn’t provide feedback on time. Usually the clients are startup founders, perhaps new. If you work with a project manager, you don’t need to worry because they usually take care of the schedule well.

I understand if the client is very busy, because they don’t think about design only. They have to juggle the business, finance, marketing and… everything. Hence I always make myself as flexible as possible. One to two days delay is still understandable. Moreover, my service is only a freelance-based. Not a company which has a very tight schedule on the agreement, maybe with a penalty if one of the parties was not on time.

That’s why to resolve this problem without adding a clause in the agreement, I always remind and report the timeline to my client. To make me and my client always on the same page about the schedule and progress. It becomes some sort of a commitment to be on time between me and the client.

Teamweek app

I love Teamweek simply because of the visual and the drag-and-drop interaction. Actually, my clients rarely open the application, in that case, I will take a screenshot and send it to him.

I use Dropbox Paper for writing documentation

Why Dropbox Paper?

Nothing, It’s just my personal preference. I like the clean and minimal look. You can use Google Docs anyway. Both works the same way.

The most important thing is you need to put all of your documents in one place(cloud storage), not scattered in your download folder or email attachment. It will save your time a lot from searching files later.

Dropbox Paper — Files

Besides, you can leave comments in the document. That makes you even easier to communicate with your client. You don’t need to attach the document and write the questions or answers in the email.

Dropbox Paper — Comment

Well, this is pretty much how I manage my design client communication. I am always excited to learn something new to enhance my design process.

Please drop a comment below, if you have any suggestion — Or questions? Thank you for reading!

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More articles from me:

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Every Designer Sucks In The Beginning. Well, That’s Fine.
Designing User Experience for Minimum Viable Product