The website being accessible and responsive/cross platforms in my opinion is the given, what makes a great website is having the website to work as an extra employee for you with all the new automation possibilities this days, it should at the very least make your day to day life easier weather it is as simple as archiving clients/customers list or as complex as taking care of bookings for shared resources, stock management or enterprise management.
I normally ask them to send me links to the designs that they like and dislike so I can get more familiar with their taste and vision then if it's a website project I will ask: What they need from their website to do for them, If they are willing to change their old habbits to learn how to work with the new system to ultimately make their life easier like for the website to generate and send an invoice rather than printing and posting.
Well, after receiving the links to customers liked and disliked artworks as I explained in the previous question, I start with research, I look at the competition and start learning about the field and industry, I find every industry unique with a different list of do's and dont's. I'm a 37 years old designer so I'm still attached to my old ways which is pen and paper, I like sketching out the design first or to draw the design flow, I find it very useful to myself as it gives me a step by step plan to follow and it makes it much easier to explain an idea to the client before spending a lot of time on any software.
It has to do alot with the type of project, although I have been in this field long enough to know how to make it easier for the client, I understand that not everyone has everything figured out before hiring someone, if they are prepared that's great, and if they are not, I'm here to help and walk them through the next step rather than being demanding and holding a project becaus the client hasn't got an about us text written yet. I believe this is my job to help them with all that.
That everyday is a new challenge and everyday you learn something new, I must have worked with 20+ different fields from restaurants and coffee shops to all sorts of office based businesses to oil and gas company or a company who built spare parts for ferrari, every time I have a new client I have to learn their business inside out which broadens your horizon, I won the best website design award maybe 17-18 years ago and I remember I felt I know everything there is to know about website design, which then very soon after I realised how wrong I was and to this day I can say I'm still learning something new every single day in this job.
There is no OFF switch in my brain, I can't stop thinking about a project in hand at 18:00, I take every project to heart and treat every client like it's my own company, I never felt appreciated enough when working for someone else and knowing my own potential and capabilities it seemed like the only option to start my own business.
Because I will treat them like it is my own business, I make sure not only that the project be delivered on time but that if the project is reasonable and feasable for that company, I have lived and worked in 4 countries and I understand different backgrounds, I can work in a team as well as alone and having run my own businesses for years made me have a better understanding and more descipline for budgets and deadlines.
Yes absolutely, I have customers from a few countries right now and have always been very good with finding the time to do video calls oftenly and send regular reports even if they are in a different time zone.
Before the vaccination I have completely shut down then personal meetings and changed them all to skype/facetime/zoom video calls and after I had my two rounds of vaccination I visit them if it's absolutely neccessary, otherwise I implemented a system to my website which I give them access and they are able to send and receive files / chat / give feedback for every project that they can use.