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Avoid Design Difficulties - Have An Explicit Web Design Contract!

     In the business world, leaving things to chance is not the most efficient way to operate. Doing so leaves too many opportunities for transactions between a business and the other parties to deviate from the initial goals and agreements that were planned. Communication between a web designer and client is essential in order for both parties to be satisfied with the result. Having a well-written contract that includes important key points is one of the best ways to ensure a happy website outcome.

Basic Contract Tips

When tackling the task of writing a good contract for web design services, there are many specifics to be included to protect both parties, although the base contract should be as simple as possible. Discussing web design with a client is difficult enough, so it is recommended to keep contracts as simple and straightforward as possible. Avoid the overuse of technical terms and long definitions that can be confusing to anyone who may not understand internet language and its meaning.

Plainly spell out the conditions for the work that is being requested and the payment that is expected for such work. Include other details like project goals and agreement on the final project. By providing little reason for misunderstandings, both client and designer should be able to see eye-to-eye on the project without any issues. Keep contracts as short as possible while including the necessities, bearing in mind that a contract with less text can be more easily understood. Don't let the contract sound over-professional or overbearing, which can turn away clients.

Important Contract Inclusions

Beyond the basic contract, there are some specific details that need to be included regarding each individual job. To keep communication smooth and ensure that all parties involved are in agreement, design contracts should include the following:

  • Confidentiality Clause - If any website information is sensitive or confidential, adding a confidentiality clause outlines the privacy demanded by client or designer. This is especially useful in situations where a client is working on a new project or product and does not want any information to go public yet.

  • Work and Delivery Time Line - Since any failure in communication happens during this stage, it is essential for a good design contract to carefully explain all parts of the work process and what both designer and client expect as finished products. Document general goals as well as the exact processes that will be involved to attain such goals. Include a time line for delivery of the different parts of the process, from beginning to end.

  • Determine Copyright Owner - Copyright ownership can vary depending upon the designer, the job, items used in the job such as images, scripts, etc., and use of the website. To avoid infringement issues, there needs to be agreement on who owns the right to what content and how each party may use those elements, whether speaking of the entire website design or only a corner graphic. Above all, be clear on re-use, since identifying copyright owner and determining allowed usage can be confusing.

  • Revisions and Warranties - It is normal for designers to offer revisions to the final project after it is presented for approval; however, the number of edits to be included in the main fee should be agreed upon ahead of time. Such a clause can avoid situations where project goals have been fulfilled, yet clients keep finding new changes to make. At a certain point, it should be expected that more edits will involve extra cost, so this needs to be spelled out in detail.

  • Act of God Clause - Like insurance policies, web design contracts should include an Act of God clause since it is never possible to predict when natural events could prevent deadlines from being met. Time lines and deadlines are very important to clients; however, this clause protects the designer in the event of natural events that prevent completion of the work as contracted.

  • Payment - Since design work is frequently paid in multiple increments throughout the process, it is a good idea to document such expectations. Designers should record fees and what the fees include as part of the finished project. Most contracts begin with a down payment and continue with agreed-upon amounts at certain reviewing points in the project. Defining when the project needs to be paid in full is essential as well.

Well-worded contracts that include the above points are an important part of doing business for any client and web designer. Client's ideas often look different on a monitor than how they were described and understood. Having a simple, clear document that outlines all aspects of the what, how and when of the entire project will keep both parties communicating easily and prevent disappointments or surprises in the end!

Article Source:

Chris Hunter is an expert in Web Design, Search Engine Marketing, and Reputation Management. To find out more about SEO in Houston, go to the main website at:

Posted on 2013-06-20, By: *

* Click on the author's name to view their profile and articles!!!

Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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