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The Enquiry Cheat Sheet

Your answers introduce us to your project, help determine if we are a good fit and go on to establish the foundation of our collaboration. It is important that the answers are helpful and serve the (above) purpose.

Be

Avoid

  • Hyperbole.
  • Obvious requirements. Everyone wants aesthetically pleasing, joyful and intuitive websites. Needless to say, we strive for that in everything we create. We also strive for universal accessibility, fast performance and standards compliance, amongst others. Right now we want to know what we cannot presume.
  • Technical details. Not yet. We are more interested in understanding the problem you want to hire us for, not the theoretical solution.

In Particular

Q. Your project and where we come in. (140 characters or less)

Example: “Redesign the company website for our chain of coffee shops”, or “We are launching a cab service and would like you to design and develop the online booking interface”.

Q. Describe your primary and secondary target audiences.

The smaller the set and the better we know them, the better equipped we will be to take decisions. Avoid vague, high level descriptions such as “our corporate customers” or “every single person who shops online”. Instead tell us the characteristics / demographic information about your corporate customers or the online shoppers that you hope are visiting your website.

Q. What are the 3 most important outcomes that you wish to drive your users towards? Outcomes could either be actions that the user performs on your website (e.g. buys tickets) or any specific information or message as a takeaway (e.g. save water).

More actionable examples: books a cab, downloads an app, contacts you. Message takeaway examples: go vote, know our history, freedom of speech is under threat.

Avoid goals that are intangible or universal and non-unique to your website, such as “user leaves the site impressed” or “high engagement, strong conversion” or “good design” or “informative”.

Q. What are your time (when do you need the project to be out) and budget constraints?

Without knowing your release plans and your budget (or at least an approximation), we can neither determine feasibility nor work out a realistic strategy.

Avoid terms such as “flexible”, “as much time/money as it takes”, “negotiable”, “reasonable”, “bootstrapped”, “startup”, “ASAP” and “yesterday”. We all work under time and budget constraints, and being upfront will help us both avoid unnecessary back-and-forth.