Working with Clients

Jun 04
Working with Clients

In this industry (or any industry) is it ever acceptable to tell a client “no”?

Surely as professionals in our field, we should be given the credibility to advise/steer the client toward the correct path, but when gentle persuasion and nudging doesn’t work – should you give them an almighty shove in the right direction or is it time to cut your losses?

I’ve been recently asked to have a look at a website that I built back last summer. The client wants to ‘refresh’ some aspects of the site, so I opened the PNG that our designer built and it looked nothing like the ‘actual’ site.

Then I remembered all of the emails, phone calls and ‘meetings’ during the original project when the client basically changed about 95% of the design and functionality and made the site completely un-navigable, un-intuitive and quite frankly, horrid.

I’m sure I’m not alone – the client was eventually charged for all of the design/functionality changes that they made – however, should we simply accept that this is a way of life for us, or should we actually be saying No? and have some level of pride and quality in our work?

I always refer back to an analogy that was given to me by an employer many years ago and that was:

‘If you employ a builder to build you a conservatory – do you tell him what bricks to use, what colour cement to use, where to put the windows and then change your mind while he’s building?’

Of course you wouldn’t. I’m pretty sure the builder wouldn’t stand for it either.

So why do we?

I have in the past, denied to being involved on some projects on the basis of the appauling result that has come out of this ‘design/develop by committee’ process.

On one of my forums the other day, someone used the phrase Columbo factor for the ‘Just one more thing…’ occasions – As a designer/programmer, do we just accept that this is the norm rather than the exception?

Anyway, just a moan from my point of view – I’m hoping to stimulate some reader comments, I know you’re all out there – Google Analytics doesn’t lie :-)

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One Response to “Working with Clients”

  1. s0ulsurfing says:

    This post is spot on, but its the democratic nature of the web and all the wyswyg tools out there have created the idea that absolutely anybody can make a web site, well they can, and do, and its often a bad one! It’s a double-edged sword, i’m all for the freedom of expression, but it definitely sucks when you’re working as a web professional and every tom dick and harry feels qualified to tell you how to do it.

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