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Three things to do before you design anything

You need to know how to pitch! It’s hard to determine what your client wants when it’s as if they don’t even know what they want.


At the beginning of every pitch, you’ll start with a creative kickoff with your potential client. Your objective in this first meeting is to gather information, distill it down, and blend, almost harmonize it to present an effective design solution.


These three things will help you meet the client's expectations.You will spend less time determining what the client wants and more time focusing on what matters to them.


Define the goal

Can you in one sentence tell what the project is and what it needs to do?

Example: This online UX Bootcamp will teach designers how to follow a User Centered Design approach.


Define the goal as simply as possible. Avoid opportunities for ambiguity and mis-alignment on the outcome.


Diagnose the problem

Figure out what is preventing the client's goal from becoming a reality. Figure out the who, the what and the how of the problem.


Who: The target audience.

What: What message is to be communicated and how should the audience feel after the UX Bootcamp?

How: How will they be helped or taught to follow a user centered design approach?


Diagnose! Don't come up with solutions just yet. It's like going to a doctor: ask the patient questions. Listen. Ask more questions, let them explain. Listen some more. A doctor can't tell what's wrong with the patient if she hasn't asked questions nor listened to the patient's story.


Narrow down your design research

Solving problems through design takes a lot of time and effort. If you work with the client to narrow down what’s of value to explore upfront, you’re going to save a lot of time and focus your efforts on things that matter. And, you won’t have to waste time guessing what the client wants.


Here are some key questions to ask:

What are the creative parameters?

Be on the lookout for key indicators like "elegant", "epic", “saving time”, "out of this world" or "user friendly". Then ask "what does user friendly mean?". The client will tell you the most important thing they need to see or hear to make their decision, and you can construct your pitch around this.


To conclude: defining the goal, diagnosing the problem and narrowing down the research will keep you from running in circles and lesson stress when you prepare your pitch. You can gain a clear perspective of what your potential client wants. Pitching can seem difficult, but by making sure you fully understand what the client wants and why they want it will help you to create winning solutions and pitches!