Sunday, 23 September 2012

Educate your clients: Acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and design tips

I really did start off trying to find gripes by clients about their web design/iMedia companies. But I just kept finding moans (legitimate ones) about clients from iMedia colleagues.

It seems the tide has turned because, although recognised by all in the industry for many years, this was a pretty taboo subject - something about biting the hand that feeds you, maybe? It is a bit of a trap when your clients are driving you mad though they do grudgingly pay up, perhaps not regularly, or on time, or enough.

The more that these problems are shared openly, the better for the industry. Why not keep a file of moans and extract from it a summary of behaviour that is not acceptable and the reasons why. Then you can hand it to your clients as part of the pre-amble prior to a contract about the way you work. Yes, it might put them off. But that’s your decision. Do you want/need time and money wasters? We certainly know of companies that have got so fed up with their clients that they have deliberately given them a hard time and are delighted when they say they are leaving for another company. Sympathies to the ‘other’ company!

What do you think of, An Open Letter to All Clients On Behalf of Designers Everywhere, 12th September in the Tiger Monkey Creative blog? It rings so true. Then this is followed up by, 5 Rotten Things No One Else Has Told You About The Clients You’ll Work For, 18th September.

It seems that they are really getting it in the neck from some clients. I wonder what the other side of the story would be from the clients themselves.

Closer to my original intention is Andy Kilworth’s rant about annoying web design features, 24 Moans about Web Design and Usability from a Grumpy SEO, 17th September. This arose because he was trying to buy things online for himself and came across annoying features too often for his intention, his temper and his limited time. Perhaps you can use them positively with your clients to help you argue against these design elements if your clients want them. It always helps to have a professional third party say things that you would like to say yourself. That’s why there are ‘consultants’, you know!

Andy Kilworth goes through things like: intrusive Captchas, the efficiency of the transaction, clear/current pricing, no human intervention like sales calls/videos, ability to really buy online, constant registrations [one of our gripes too], asking for too much personal data, accessibility, intrusive multimedia, grammar and content issues, naff 404 error pages, interfering with recognised web-use conventions, unclear navigation, intrusive and inappropriate adverts, and so on. As an observation, I did find his post annoying myself because of its strange response to click-through! It may be just my machine/versioning/browser etc!

Overall it has always been hard to influence your clients in the way that they work with you and the way they relate to design issues. They do need to be educated and it is a shame that we have had to bear the burden of doing this. It should be part and parcel of their training now. Web and social media presence is the norm for business so let’s issue a wake-up call to the general training industry for business professionals – please.

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