Friday, 23 September 2011

The commissioner perspective and website development problems

It's easy to criticise the clients from hell, but commissioners have many bad experiences with their developers too. Often, the criticisms over-lap as one blames the other about the mess they are in.

Lack of experience on both sides leads to confusion, bad definition of what is to be achieved, and delays from both. If either side is experienced then they are sensitised to risks so they can foresee what may happen and take early action to remedy the emerging problem. The clients still have the upper hand so experience within the clients is actually more important because they can initiate action far more easily than the developer.

Here's an article by skyje in January 2011 where he describes 12 Tips for Hiring and Working with your Web Design Company, and the second part about Working with your Web Design Company. In some of the points he emphasises the actions that the client needs to take such as having a good grasp of what they want from the website i.e. the specifications, not causing delays and being prompt with payments if the milestones are reached. That's the experience I was talking about.

Perhaps inexperience is evident in the plea from Dawer on the Graphic Design forum. He wants to know if he can get an upfront payment back from his developer now he has concerns about their work.

At the other end of the client-spend scale, earlier this month the politicalpress group despaired of the sums of money spent on the development of government websites. The figures should make your eyes smart unless you're one of 'those' companies developing them.

The premise is that the figures themselves point to an abuse of developer/client relationship. The expression taken for a ride comes to mind.

But instead of depressing you with such examples as the general news is so glum too, cheer yourselves up by looking at the self-proclaimed World's Worst Website and take heart that despite rooky relationships with your clients, you are doing some things right! Show it to your clients too!

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