It’s human nature. People often try to provide solutions rather than define goals but with a little practice, you can communicate your objectives and get a design that best serves your needs. When you take your car to the shop, you probably don’t say “Please replace the alternator” you say “When I turn the key, the engine won’t turn over”. Maybe you do need a new alternator, or maybe it’s the battery, generator, solenoid, etc. If the mechanic follows your directions, you’ll get a new alternator but your car still may not start!
The How and Why
The thing is, it’s really difficult to address how to do something without understanding why you’re doing it. It’s the difference between fulfilling a task and providing a comprehensive solution. After all, how can your designer address all your needs if they don’t know what those needs are?
OK, What Should I Say then?
So, you might ask what’s the difference, how do I communicate strategically as opposed to tactically? In a nutshell, it’s talking about your objectives and challenges rather than providing potential solutions. For example, you might say “I want users to notice products that are on special at my Web site” rather than “Make the store button bigger and red”. Maybe adding a featured product to the home page would serve that purpose better. You could be missing out on the best solutions, even with the best intentions.
Tap Into Your Designer’s Creativity
Graphic designers and Web developers specialize in finding tactical solutions for strategic objectives, that’s their expertise. When a client suggests a tactical solution, an experienced designer will ask the client strategic followup questions to make sure they fulfill that need. A good designer will provide alternate solutions that may not have occurred to you. They might even come up with a totally new approach that’s better. Rely on the talent, experience and expertise of your designers and developers. Communicate your objectives and you’ll be sure to end up with a design that meets your goals.