Questions about getting a website’s content from the client

Some background information regarding my questions:

I studies graphic design at university and one of our classes throughout the years was website design. Here we were taught to design the layouts of websites, and after we learned to develop them in Wordpress. We also studied HTML and CSS and JavaScript so that we can customise Wordpress sites. We never used pre built themes. For the school projects we had to find bad design websites on the internet, make a presentation on why they are bad, and redesign the layout of the sites, after build them using Wordpress. For the content we had to use imagery from stock photo libraries and for the text we used placeholder text. So the content for these school projects was sourced by us. We learned that in real life projects content which is imagery and text is always provided by the client.

This is where it gets confusing to me, and I would like to ask experienced designers some questions regarding this. This is the reason I’m asking the following questions, because I would like to do freelance website design in the future, and the getting the content part of the design process is unclear and confusing to me. I would like to ask the following questions regarding this. I apologise for the lengthy post. I appreciate all the answers provided. Thank you for your time and effort.


Who decides what images are used in a website’s layout design, the client or the designer ?

Hypothetically I have to design a website for an Italian restaurant, do I have to give very specific instructions to the client about each image that he needs to send me. For example instruct the client to send me an image for the hero header section of the website, which should be 1280px by 720px and has to display a pizza which is on the right hand side of a brown wooden table with some tomatoes scattered around it and some white flour sprinkled around it, makes sure there is nothing on the left side because this is where the title and sub title will be located. Then repeat this process for all of the other images required for the website?

Or do I use any image the client provides me for the hero image, and also for the rest of the images?

Or do we decide what the images look like and their composition together with the client?

Do I make this decision entirely on my own, choosing all of the imagery from stock photography?

Does the client hire a photographer who shoots the images? In this case do I just use the images sent to me by the photographer, or do I have to work together with the photographer instructing the photographer what I need, giving him specific instructions about what each images should look like and display?


Who decides what is the written text or the body copy in the website, the text which is in the titles, sub-titles, paragraphs, and in the call to action buttons?

Does the client decide what all of the written text will be?

Does the client have to hire a copywriter who will create all of this?

Do I the designer have to create all of this?


At which stage of the website design process we have to have all of the content (text and imagery) ready from the client? At school we learned that content has to be ready before we start making the website’s UI design, because we will use the text and imagery sent by the client at this stage. These final designs will be 100% accurate and represent how the developed website will look in the browser once online. We learned that before doing all of this, first we have to do some low-fidelity sketches with pen and paper, these show the structure, layout of each web page, and all of the page elements. Next based on the sketches we made, we make wireframes using software like UX Pin or Balsamiq. These wireframes are very basic, monochrome in colour, they use dummy text and the images are represented by a rectangle with a cross through it. We learned that once the client approves these wireframes and we received all the content from them, we start the final UI design, in school we used Adobe XD for this process.

My question regarding this is, should we have all of the content ready from our client before we start the sketching process ?

I am confused about this because I researched on the internet and so far found information that states you should have all content ready at the very beginning, even before you start making the website layout sketches. But I remember the teacher telling us in school, that once the wireframes created with UX Pin or Balsamiq are approved by the client, we then send the client a list of content needed based on those wireframes, and once we receive all of the content we use that to make the final UI designs with Adobe XD.

Based on what do you decide the type and amount of content (text and imagery) needed to be gathered from the client?

There are no fixed rules. Sometimes the designer present a dummy based on the input from the client in order to get started. Often there is a cooperation between the designer and the client. The more technical stuff the more is the client involved.

It depends. The customers, circumstances and websites are different.

Web sites surely have been developed at both extremes of your examples, from the client providing all content, beforehand, neatly written and spell checked with professional photos all sized into multiple sizes for different browser sizes before the development even starts, to a client simply wanting “a pizza shop web site” with no further input.

In my case, I would never take the latter flavor, but expecting and requiring the former is quite the ask of the client. So I usually ended up somewhere in the middle, after some initial discussions. It all comes down to what is comfortable to both, and then of course what they formally agree to in the contract.

Thank you very much for the reply :slight_smile:

Thank you very much for the reply :slight_smile:
Based on your experience, who makes the decisions regarding the images used on a website?
I think images really affect the look and feel of a website. So do I the designer call the shots on what each images should display and look like, or just go ahead and use whatever images the client send me ?

From my experience it’s usually the client who handles images that specifically pertain to their business (ie, pictures of a steaming cheese pizza, their shop, a smiling waitress, etc), whereas you would expect to provide things like arrows, buttons, and big splashy “get your pizza here” icons. If you are formally “the designer” then I would assume that role includes some say in what pages might be needed and what images might be appropriate on each page. Many of my clients would, with some coaxing from me, already have ideas in this area, so I’d let them take charge of it, sort of handing them the responsibility for design of the site.

Be very specific in the contract as to these kinds of deliverables, and how you will handle various alpha versions of the site before calling it once and for all done.

Website developers often use the term web app or something similar because websites can be as complex as business applications that are not websites. I think a good university would teach students to develop web applications using methodologies used for developing other applications. There are very many books on the subject and the university should have taught the subject. Search for terms such as system development methodology.