Clear communication is an essential element in any interior architecture project and one of the most useful skills for designers to develop. Interior architects are, after all, creating deeply personal spaces where individuals or businesses express who they are. Misunderstandings not only result in wasted time and money but can leave clients very upset too.
While there are always going to be challenges involved in sharing a vision, the good news is that this is becoming easier than ever thanks to new interior design tools.
Common interior architecture communication challenges
Whether your practice focuses on interior decoration, space management or renovation, interior architects often encounter recurring communication challenges:
- Interior decoration is emotional
The interior decoration in your client’s home or office is one of the most personal stages of the building process – many clients care far more about the interior than the shell itself. Communicating with the client to gauge their personal taste is difficult because many don’t necessarily know what they want. And, because this is often such an emotional task, it requires the interior architect to work very closely with them to elicit their vision.
- Meanings of words
What does ‘a bold colour theme’ mean to you? Would it be the use of one dark colour throughout? Is it an experimental approach? Is it the use of ‘in your face’ splashes?
When talking with clients, interior architects must work extra hard to ensure that they and the customer mean the same thing when talking about design.
- Clear lines of communication
When you are working on an interior decoration project, it is essential to have clear lines of communication between the client, the designer and the contractor. This ensures that information flows effectively. However, misunderstandings can easily arise if the different parties lack ways to ask questions and clarify uncertainties.
Because of these kinds of communication challenges, interior architects have developed several tools that ensure everyone is ‘on the same page’. These include mood boards, blueprints, and sketches. While these tools are useful, they still leave a lot of potential for miscommunication.
The good news is that there are several new technologies available which make communication about interior design much more effective.
4 tools for better interior architecture communication
Innovative technologies are transforming the construction industry, and many of them can help interior design professionals address communication challenges too. Here are four of the most promising communication technologies that interior architects can benefit from.
1. ‘Chat’ tools
Most designers today use email as their primary tool of communication. While it is effective for formal work, email has several limitations. Questions and queries can get lost in threads, and email overload means you can spend entire days replying to messages. Sometimes, you just need to ask a quick question about where to place a specific item in a room. No one wants to send or receive emails for such small queries!
And this is where a new generation of communication tools can help. Platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams allow everyone involved in an interior design project to discuss progress using immediate, short message communications. Similar to chat apps (like WhatsApp), these tools allow you to set up channels where you invite specific people.
You could have a channel for communicating with the client, another with the builder, another with your suppliers. Besides asking questions, these tools also let you search for conversations and stay on top of issues without having to write a formal email each time.
2. Digital design tools
CAD and BIM technology have revolutionised the construction industry, and they have enormous benefits for interior architecture too. These tools allow you to create detailed and accurate visual representations of what the final design will look like. That gives crucial information to the contractor and the client.
Being able to ‘see’ the final outcome is useful for a number of reasons. In particular, it means there is far less scope for error and misunderstandings than when depending on sketches and traditional blueprints.
3. Project management software
While the construction sector has long made use of project management tools, new platforms make the process much smoother for interior designers. With PlanRadar, you get a single hub for storing all site plans, a tool for discussing snags or tweaks that must be made and for creating tickets.
If, for instance, the interior architect sees a problem in the contractor’s work, they can mark the exact location on the blueprint and share it with them. This provides extremely clear communication which makes misunderstandings much less likely.
4. Virtual Reality
VR represents one of the most powerful new tools for interior designers. Using smart software, it is possible to create a realistic visual layout of the design you have in mind and share this with the client and contractor. This is a major step forward for communicating a concept, and far more powerful than drawings or even 3D models. The client can effectively experience the space management and choice of furnishings before the work has even begun.
By making use of different communications tools, interior architecture professionals can reduce the risk of misunderstandings. That helps them produce a final product which really meets the client’s expectations. They also help reduce the risk of costly reworks.
Committing to better communication
Communicating with clients and contractors is such a crucial skill for interior architecture professionals. And while using precise language, truly listening to what people are saying and working collaboratively are always at the core of good communication, the range of new tools now available make it much easier to do well.
To learn more about the latest advancements in architecture software, visit the PlanRadar blog or try the software free for 30 days.