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  1. #1
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    Cool Top 15 Ways to Offend a Web Designer

    Hello Fellow Web Folk,

    This has been a rough week for me as a designer, so I thought it would be therapeutic to put together my top 15 ways to offend a web designer--all sadly inspired by actual events.

    Do you have any to add?

    Kelli

    ----------------------------------------------------
    THE TOP 15 WAYS TO OFFEND A WEB DESIGNER:

    1.) Expect your design for free, because you know professional web designers aren’t really professionals.

    2.) Convince a designer to create a site for you at one fourth the going rate, then talk about the “gasp factor” of the expense anyway.

    3.) Request a service that requires your designer to hire an outside specialist. Then, after the work is completed, change your mind and demand your designer fire the specialist, and cover the expense themselves.

    4.) Request a web header design, receive your mock up, and promise to pay for the work. Then change your mind the next day and tell your designer you won’t need their services. Explain that you also won’t be paying for their time, but you will link to their web site.

    5.) Provide text content for your site that is riddled with typos, spelling errors, grammatical problems, and embarrassing faux pas. Then get angry at your designer when they suggest changes that would protect your image.

    6.) Tell your designer that web design is the same as word processing and therefore all design rates are grossly overpriced.

    7.) Insist that you are fully capable of maintaining your own web site. Then, once you’ve taken control of the site, destroy it, and accuse your web designer of causing the errors.

    8.) Find a designer who believes in you, gives you thousands of dollars in discounts, and serves you well for years. Then dump them the moment you find an intern who will manage your web site for free. Loyalty is so 15th century.

    9.) Tell your web designer about a problem with your site. While the designer throws themselves into fixing the problem, tell other designers and people in the industry about the problem, because giving your designer time to solve the issue before destroying their reputation is not your responsibility.

    10.) Fail to deliver your content to your designer by deadline, thereby pushing back the design company’s entire design calendar. Then convey your shock and disgust when you are told your site launch will be delayed.

    11.) Midway into the design process, tell your designer that your site must! be! launched! two weeks early to coordinate with a product release. After your designer works twenty four hours a day, seven days a week to accommodate your request, tell them you forgot to mention that the product release was delayed.

    12.) Get a top designer to create an initial site mock up for you, then steal the design, and go find a college kid to port the design into a web site for you.

    13.) Provide very specific instructions about the design you want, then, once the design is complete and the designer calls to see what you think, put them on speaker phone so they can hear your entire staff making fun of their work.

    14.) Insist on a firm quote before work begins, then demand eight different mock up designs, each requiring twenty hours of work, before you settle on a design you like. That way, your designer will make just enough money to pay the postage costs on the contract they mailed you.

    15.) Provide your designer with a copyright image from a greeting card for your web header. Then get angry when the designer says they cannot legally use the image. After all, you paid for the card, so you know you can use that image any way you want.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Ouch - sounds like you had a bad week, take a couple of days off and remember it will get better!

  3. #3
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    Calling one a "webmaster"

    Yeah...I really hate being called a "webmaster"!
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  4. #4
    Brevity is greatly overrated brandaggio's Avatar
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    Wow - that is a great list - soooo true.

    I feel your pain - I really do. Many seem to think it is OK to be exploitive because "everyone" seemingly does it and it has become quasi acceptable in spite of being totally unethical to engage in the kind of all to common behaviors you outline above. Why you ask? Because "they" will if they can (the business). There is nothing fair about it - it is inherently unfair and encourages abuse of workers.
    Last edited by brandaggio; Apr 29, 2007 at 12:56.

  5. #5
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    16.) With every change to the design, and every new feature you want to add, tell your web designer, "Oh, these are just minor changes, they'll be so easy for you, I'm sure they won't take you more than a few minutes."

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast moose85's Avatar
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    Damn, I've heard a lot of those...

    17) Get the designer to come up with a completely new site for your ageing design, and then not pay the bill for 5 months because your not sure it is what you want, then decide it is indeed what you want, and then make the designer wait another 3 months for their money (and get angry when the designer sends nasty reminders and won't upload the new site until they have been paid)...
    L8r,

    Moose

  7. #7
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    I was really shocked about number 6


    Tell your designer that web design is the same as word processing and therefore all design rates are grossly overpriced.
    really! some people have got no idea!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist artcoder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shamarkaleo View Post
    6.) Tell your designer that web design is the same as word processing and therefore all design rates are grossly overpriced.
    Number 6 is so true and so sad, that I actually laughed. Sometimes we are just not appreciated enough.

    Clarification: I mean, I do not think that #6 is true. I mean that it is true that some clients actually think that a web site just comes out of a word processor type of software or press a few buttons in Dreamweaver/Front page and you got a website (which obviously is not true).

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict drjones013's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artcoder View Post
    Number 6 is so true and so sad, that I actually laughed. Sometimes we are just not appreciated enough.

    Clarification: I mean, I do not think that #6 is true. I mean that it is true that some clients actually think that a web site just comes out of a word processor type of software or press a few buttons in Dreamweaver/Front page and you got a website (which obviously is not true).
    Dear Lord (wipes away tear), I've SEEN this happen with friends of mine; one built a site in MS Word, the other "made it pretty" by doing it in Dreamweaver.... I wish it wasn't funny, because it shouldn't be, but it is... it is....!
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  10. #10
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    You forgot one. Treating your Web designer as an employee instead of as an independent contractor. Man, I hate it when that happens.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast moose85's Avatar
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    One that really irks me, and has only happened to me once...

    Getting your web designer to build the site, and do everything you ask, then getting another designer to update it, who then wacks their logo on the bottom of your design... (and you have to get all legal on em)...
    L8r,

    Moose

  12. #12
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    It looks like Kelli either had a real bad week or picked up a couple of real poor clients. Most of these problems could have been eliminated before they occurred by just working smart instead of hard.

    1. In my experience, we are regarded as professionally as we first present ourselves. I get several inquiries each month where people want cheap or free work. I don't have a problem with sending them my rates. When they see them, they simply don't reply back and I am free to find clients who appreciate professional work.

    2. I don't negotiate on rates. I did just once and regretted it. Moreover, it isn't fair to my clients who pay top dollar to do work for less for another client. Most often, when I explain that to a prospect, they readily agree. If they don't, I just don't hear from them again and that's fine with me.

    3. Your contract should indicate the scope of your project so that both you and your client understand your project responsibilities and the limitations of your services. If you're going to need to outsource, you should be telling your client that these "extra services" will add extra expense to their project and get their agreement to pay for them in advance of hiring an outside expert, either by an addendum to your initial contract or a new contract covering the new services.

    4. Don't do mockups. It's just that easy. Direct your prospects to your portfolio and paid, completed work. That should be enough for them to judge whether you have the skills they need to complete their project. Get your contract signed. Get a deposit that will compensate you for your time and submit drafts of your work only then. If you need to do revisions to drafts, sobeit. Revisions are a fact of life, but at least you are paid for them. Mockups are a waste of time.

    5. Again, this goes to your presentation and your communication skills. I recently wrote copy for someone who wanted to emphasize the fabulous features of their locale. I suggested that their are dozens of travel sites that already do that job and that the client would be better off emphasizing how the products and services of the business help the customer enjoy the area rather than the benefits of the area itself. The project was completed, the client is happy and there is no problem.

    6. This could have been taken care of in #1.

    7. Maintenance charges should be addressed in your contract and should apply whether or not you are hired to do regular site maintenance or come in and make repairs. Communication is the key.

    8. Same as number two. I recently had this problem. The client is gone now. I fired him. However, the problem was in part of my own creation for not charging enough in the beginning and thereafter continually trying to be "Mrs. Nice Guy" instead of running my business responsibly and keeping all of my clients on a level playing field.

    Was it hard to lose this client? Yes, after working for him for four years, it was. However, I am much better off without him and although I was wrong to work at cut rates, I have four years of work to show in my portfolio and have learned a valuable lesson for future business with other clients. It isn't all bad.

    9. If a client ever berated my work publicly, I'd stop the car and push him out on the curb. However, I find that most folks treat me and my work with the same respect I display to them and their business.

    10. A few simple lines in your contract can take care of this. Here's what I use:

    "Changes outside of the scope of this project, as detailed in the project overview (above), require negotiation of a project extension and may also incur additional charges. Project extensions due to changes in scope additionally require negotiation of a new timeline, including both a future beginning date and a future end date and also may require an additional deposit."

    11. Head this problem off in your contract. See #10. If a client needs a rush, they need to pay for the rush-- in advance.

    12. See #4.

    13. See #9.

    14. Just how firm is a "firm quote" if you concede to demands outside the original scope of a project?

    15. Your contract should contain copyright disclaimers and warrants for both you and your client. Heres a variation of mine. You can substitute "Designer" with your name, title, or business name or add it after to clearly define who the "Designer" is.

    "The Designer warrants that all delivered Work is original and that the Designer, is the sole author and owner of the Work; that to the best of his/her knowledge, the Work does not infringe on any copyright, violate any property rights, or contain any scandalous, libelous, or unlawful matter. As such, the Designer additionally warrants that the Designer has complete authority to transfer any and all intellectual property rights associated with the Work to, the Client.

    The Client warrants that all material furnished to the Designer, is the sole intellectual property of the Client and does not infringe on any copyright, violate any property rights or contain any scandalous, libelous, or unlawful matter."

    I also need to note that this is my contract of my own creation. If you want to use it and need to be sure it's legal, you should run it past an attorney. I am not a lawyer.
    Last edited by Shyflower; Apr 29, 2007 at 07:47.
    Linda Jenkinson
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Tough week Kelli. Definitely feel for you. That's a great post by Shyflower as well. A lot of good points to help avoid such situations.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  14. #14
    Brevity is greatly overrated brandaggio's Avatar
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    I think the gist of the CRM aspect of freelancing is that be as skeptical about potential clients as they may be of you - meaning protect yourself and do so with a contract.

    I wish that people would take it upon themselves to be less inclined to take advantage of a situation (I won't be holding my breath) - it is the easy thing to do to exploit someone you feel you have captive and as you have found human nature is hard to counter. Best thing to do is take it step by step and make sure you are on the same page with a contract (as has been mentioned).

    I just can't help but feel a lot of the onus is on prospective clients that are for lack of better word "shifty" - nothing like knowing you are getting billed $75 bucks an hour to be indecisive - that payment clock ticking seems to really get the client focused!

    Bottom line, protect yourself with the best contract possible and only take work on if it will really have value to you (it is nice to help people and be altruistic but sooner or later you need to look out for yourself).

    Clients love to cry poverty - you won't be of much help to them if you are truly poverty stricken too!

    I say all of the above as a reminder to myself as much as anything - I am inclined to help anyone - but if you spread yourself to thin your work suffers - it's a constant balancing act.

  15. #15
    <code></code><WoW></WoW> nukeemusn's Avatar
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    Sorry about your week Kelli.
    But I just had a horrific glimpse into my own future if I don't start taking some (read: ALL) of Shyflowers advice. Fortunately, I'm early enough in my freelance career to set myself up. Now if I could just get around to doing it...
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    I particularly like the one where you do the initial designs (obviously charging for them) and then have the client decide that you're fees for actually building the site are too expensive and that they'll buy their 14 year old nephew a copy of FrontPage and get him to produce the site instead.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower
    1. In my experience, we are regarded as professionally as we first present ourselves.
    That right there sums up everything and leads into all the other issues you said you've had. I actually wrote an article on this subject, but seeing as how I'm in Afghanistan my work site isn't online and thus I can't publish it, but I digress...

    All of your 15 offenses seem to have one thing in common:

    1) Clients don't see you as professional.

    If they saw you as a professional, and they themselves are professionals (sounds like this is lacking too, but that's on you, too) then they wouldn't have treated you how they did. The web isn't the domain of nerds anymore, it's a place where there is a lot of money to be made and a lot of rules and techniques that define how much of that money a business can make through it.

    Are you a professional? Are you an expert in your field? Have you spent years studying and learning about the Web, what works, what doesn't, and why? If so, act like it! And even if you do act like it already and you're just dealing with horrible clients -- get rid of them. Think about how much money you're actually losing by catering to every little request, doing sites for far below market value, and dealing with downright bad clients. You're losing a lot more than you're making by "riding out" that contract.

    If you're just starting out, sure, do some cheap work to build contacts and a portfolio -- but make sure the contact and work is worth having. I have turned down plenty of clients who wanted something on the cheap or who seemed like they didn't know a thing about the Web and weren't willing to learn and understand that there's more to a professional, working, useful design than "word processing". Just remember, you are the master of your own destiny. If you don't want to go through hell like that again, there's no reason you have to -- that's part of the beauty of being your own boss -- you decide who to work for!

    Good luck and happy hunting

    Quote Originally Posted by Tailslide
    I particularly like the one where you do the initial designs (obviously charging for them) and then have the client decide that you're fees for actually building the site are too expensive and that they'll buy their 14 year old nephew a copy of FrontPage and get him to produce the site instead.
    I do actually love that, because when I check their site a few months from then I can (a) laugh my *** off and (b) charge them even more than the initial estimate to dig them out of their hole. Or watch them fail over and over again... either one is nice.

  18. #18
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    I hate when i do a graphic design for somebody then when its shown to them they want all these changes. After i've spent like half my time on it.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Member MrEggsalad's Avatar
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    Yeah, I always hate it when the clients want some extra things just tacked on there. What may look easy isn't always easy.
    .::Portfolio::.
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  20. #20
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    Outstanding post by Shyflower. Thanks, I hope people will remember when they start selling their work.
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  21. #21
    SitePoint Zealot Wynnefield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    1. In my experience, we are regarded as professionally as we first present ourselves. I get several inquiries each month where people want cheap or free work. I don't have a problem with sending them my rates. When they see them, they simply don't reply back and I am free to find clients who appreciate professional work.

    2. I don't negotiate on rates. I did just once and regretted it. Moreover, it isn't fair to my clients who pay top dollar to do work for less for another client. Most often, when I explain that to a prospect, they readily agree. If they don't, I just don't hear from them again and that's fine with me.

    3. Your contract should indicate the scope of your project so that both you and your client understand your project responsibilities and the limitations of your services. If you're going to need to outsource, you should be telling your client that these "extra services" will add extra expense to their project and get their agreement to pay for them in advance of hiring an outside expert, either by an addendum to your initial contract or a new contract covering the new services.
    i agree with Shyflower ... a professional self-image, pre-defined fair rates, and a solid contract should remedy most, if not all of your issues.

    good luck with future work. sounds like you have really had a few rough weeks.


  22. #22
    SitePoint Addict XiledWeb's Avatar
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    Great thread - duly bookmarked.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Addict singersower's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Oh Man!

    I'm so sorry, Kelli--

    I have definitely had my share of Doozies.

    17.) Call weekends and evenings expecting to receive an immediate answer.

    Thanx for the GREAT write up ShyFlower
    Singersower
    HopeSpring Design

  24. #24
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    And holidays too.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Addict StuckRUs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonfire View Post
    I was really shocked about number 6

    really! some people have got no idea!
    You're kidding me. You've never had that one thrown at you? I had one client who repeated that every time he wanted a change to the site. "but I could do it in 5 minutes in Word."
    SMILE! everyone will wonder what you're up to.
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