Question: How do you prevent a situation where you have to produce work-product work first and get client feedback before getting on the right track to meet their needs?
Are there techniques to help the client and us get a clearer sense of what the client wants?
Background on what we usually deal with:
We often develop (customize) CMS for clients. First and before any information structure is the "look and feel" of the website, the whole "identity", we could even say branding.
Beyond the fact that we are wire-framing the home page with tools like Balsamiq, and ask a lot of questions like:
All of this later on in our costumers case most of the time is out of "their true vision of product / company / service design".
What is more one of our customers when we started to ask questions answered: "I need artist that will with himself find proper colours and prepare design. If he is truly artist when he will understand what mission we provide, the design will manifest from inside of him..."
So we also arranged meeting with both client and graphic that would remove any "chain factor", however client using world like: unique, prestigious, life saving, and giving also marketing materials provided totally other vision that graphic understood.
Graphic prepared nice modern design, that showed joy of life, product and company as happy place... As opposite to client vision (that he claimed after he saw project) as this institution has a machine that treats people and rescue life it should be: grey, sad, with attitude like at the funeral / church...
I know that we can adapt "after" he will provide us feedback, however this is tremendous waste of time, money and very often indicates frustration.
There is no easy answer to this. When you are working in this area, there is always a risk that a client will not like the design(s) developed. Here are some suggestions to mitigate risk and lost time:
Hope this helps.