Does anyone here know where I might find a document for clients to sign off on when they give us approval and acceptance of the layout(PSD file) for their website?
We've been confirming this with clients via email up until now. However, we've recently run across a few clients that did not seem to comprehend that approving the layout meant that they were approving the actual layout (!) So, we'd like to make it a more formal process and get their actual signature on a document before we actual begin building the site.
1) Numbers listed 1-5 with extra lines to write the changes in. 2) A statement below these lines that says something like this: "Above changes will be made and the mockup layout will be complete. Any other changes after this will require an additional amount. Please sign below if you agree with this"
My business partner and I were just discussing this very problem on Friday. We have a client who approved the design/layout in early July by email. We then notified them that, since the design and layout was approved, we would move forward with developing their database using the approved design.
We gave them the URL on Sept. 2 to test the database and their only feedback was in regard to the design and layout of the web pages and how they might like to change them...
Thanks for the idea of a design approval form and what the content should be, we will definitely put one into place since we have four new designs up for review!
This is a very common situation. One way to avoid it is to put some time into documenting your processes and presenting your internal processes and what a sign-off actually means to the client after you have won the business and before you have started work.
If you do this too late you can risk ruining the relationship. It is our onus to explain this to the client as early into the work relationship as possible.
I've used a mixture of print-and-sign (especially when client is averse to technology) and then aim to work them up to email sign offs from staging servers, but using the staging servers to keep the client history available at all times (ie sitemap, creative briefs, copy decks, tech specs, mockup1, mockup2, mockup3).
It's also important to communicate as part of the process document the number of rounds of amendments you will permit at each stage and specifying things such as you will only implement signed off copy.
Clarity and transparency are two things that will help mitigate falling out with a client. All our responsibility.
We explain the process to clients in detail before we actually win their business. We also outline the workflow in great detail in our contract and also discuss at length "Client Requests/ Modification" in the contract. The problem for us is that once clients have approved the layout, they are just not grasping the fact that the completed site is built around the final approved layout and that changes are not always easy (or free).
It is not a problem with most clients. Most of them do "get it". And to be honest, I have no problem making minor tweaks in a later phase of the project. It is just a handful of folks that do not bother to read or ask questions about what they have read in the contract.
So, I am thinking that a more "formal" approval than email confirmation may drive the point home to those few that have difficulty with the process.
What I do is create a client page that tells the client where we are at in the process. If they approved of the layout, then it says something like, "Layout approved: The layout has been approved by you and I am working on creating the rest of the pages. Any changes made to the layout will result in an additional fee."
I use a simple 2-page document. The first page reads:
I confirm that I have reviewed and approved the design mockup of the [Company Name] web site as designed by [My Company Name], located at [.....]
The screen capture graphic on Page 2 of this document is a true representation of the approved design. I acknowledge and accept that significant page modifications to the approved design as detailed will...
[Insert whatever clause is in your contract, such as "incur additional charges." I basiscally repeat whatever part of my contract that applies.]
The second page is a screen shot of the .psd file. I e-mail them a PDF file and request that they sign both pages and return it to me.