A clear 'sign-off' is important, but what does it actually mean?
At Minted Box we love to collaborate with our clients to achieve the best results and get the most out of what they're investing into their online presence! We know how important it is that the solutions we design and build don't just look great, they also need to work exactly as your organisation requires.
For this reason we take our clients ideas and feedback very seriously, paying close attention to what is being asked for but also drawing on our expertise to offer advice and best practice tips where needed. Inevitably there comes a point where a design is agreed before it goes into build, this is called 'sign-off' and is a crucial procedure to ensure an effective, box-ticking final product without unwanted costs and time-delays to get there.
So what is 'signing-off' on a design and why is it important?
To 'sign-off' on a design typically means a design is final and no further adjustments can be made within the agreed quote. It is important to know how to correctly and efficiently sign-off on projects, to make sure you save money where possible and end up with the digital system you have dreamed of for your company!
It doesn't have to be scary!
At Minted Box, we want you to feel like you are working with a team you can trust and sign-off on a design you love! This process may feel a bit too 'legal' at times, but we always want our clients to feel they can share their ideas and adjustments without any nasty surprises. We strive to cater for requests wherever possible, but will always be transparent with additional costs up-front if any requests fall outside of the agreed brief. There is an ideal time to request these changes for both parties, read on to find out where.
What do the different stages throughout a project look like at Minted Box and where might you have to 'sign-off'?
This is where we talk about your ideas and aspirations for the project. We want to hear about your plans and get creative about how we at Minted Box can help you to reach your goals. Sign-off won't happen at this point, but this consultation forms the basis of a brief.
If you haven't written a brief, we will write one for you to sign-off on. From here, a quote can take shape and a scope for the project can be agreed. This then forms the backbone for the project, so it's really important that we all start off on the right track. We'll put together journeys, wireframes and prototypes depending on the brief, so you can start to picture your final design.
Hint: This is the best stage to clarify anything that's unclear or worrying you in the brief, or anything you might want to add/remove from the quote based on your budget.
Journeys and design
We'll produce a fully branded demo prototype to be signed-off before the clever developers add a line of code; this will look and function almost identically to the final site and is still part of the design phase.
Anything that cannot be replicated at this design stage but has been agreed to be included in the final product will be confirmed in writing. Our development team build according to the signed-off brief and branded prototype, so it's really important the designs contain everything you're expecting to see in the final product.
Hint: The design phase is the best time to request any minor or major changes that you would like to see in the final product. It may be worth considering user-testing with the fully branded prototype we provide to highlight any areas for improvement before we begin to build. We cater for changes within your budget wherever possible, but once code has been added, changes are far more likely to incur unwanted costs and time-extensions.
Build and launch
Once the designs have been signed-off, the build begins. Don't worry, we always show our clients the built product before anything is launched. We'll give you great support if you need to tweak any text or images, and tie up the loose ends. Although this stage doesn't require a sign-off as such, we will keep in close communication with you to ensure your digital product is launched exactly how and when you'd like.
Top tips for a smooth sailing sign-off
- Involve ALL key stakeholders from day one and all conversations thereafter. We're passionate about talking to our clients, hearing their insights, visions and goals and working with them to get to the best solution. Our most successful projects are the ones where all key stakeholder's requests are acknowledged and included right from the get-go.
- We encourage an initial meeting to discuss the brief in detail and clarify exactly what the final product needs to deliver.
- Raise concerns, requests and amends within the design phase. This is where changes can be implemented easily. If you don't see it in the designs or written down in an agreed document, raise it with us ASAP - don't wait until it has been built to clarify.
- Get the big decisions agreed in writing. Agreements over the phone won't suffice if there has been a miscommunication or misunderstanding. We want to make sure you're happy with the plan of action.
Our approach as an agency is to work with you, drawing on your knowledge to deliver a product which ticks all of the boxes. The mutual goal is to boost your efficiency and elevate you head and shoulders above competitors, so we aim to make the process of working with us as smooth as it can be. We hope this snippet of insight has clarified the term 'sign-off' and the important role it plays, and provided reassurance that working with us means you can be as creative as your budget allows!