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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot supermighty's Avatar
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    Client wants to bypass my process and see comps

    I am wondering if anyone has had experience with clients who want to bypass their process and just see mock up/comps of their new website.

    I am still crafting my web development process, but I have found that a lot of work goes before I even get to the design phase. I gather information and organize it. I interview the client and learn what their goals are. I create information architecture structures to form the site. After I gather everything I then develop a proposal. Only after the proposal has been revised and accepted do I move onto the design phase.

    It was very frustrating to me when I handed the client a proposal and they told me they didn't understand it and didn't know what it meant and that they wanted a site like ESPN. When I did get mock ups done and to them the said; "this is what I wanted in the first place."

    How do you deal with this?
    Supermighty's blog: Debian Virtualbox for local web development.
    Notes from the Walled City

  2. #2
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    I have not experienced that kind of thing myself (luckily, being a code-monkey means that people rarely ask me for a PSD of line upon line of gibberish), however, having read your post, I'd have a suggestion on how to handle this.

    Point out to them that the way you approach the design dictates the way the end result will operate (or not).

    If they simply want to see how it looks, then you will happily give them a site which looks good, but it may not work worth a damn from a usability/maintainability/searchability perspective.
    If they want a site which will fulfil their needs, as well as look good, then you have to build the bones first and then form the flesh around that.

    If they insist on doing it their way, I'd be trying to arrange the contract so that you are only providing the layout and not putting yourself in a position where they expect you to make it work as well as make it pretty.

    Just my (untested) opinion, but thought I'd share...
    // Luke Stevenson
    // Lucanos Solutions

  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot supermighty's Avatar
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    The situation is an odd one. I work for a university and the "client" is a unit department. If this were the real world I would probably pass on working with them, but I don't have a choice in the matter.
    Supermighty's blog: Debian Virtualbox for local web development.
    Notes from the Walled City

  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supermighty View Post
    The situation is an odd one. I work for a university and the "client" is a unit department. If this were the real world I would probably pass on working with them, but I don't have a choice in the matter.
    If the client is a university department, then they should understand the concept of "properly structuring the process of an assignment."
    M Blaze Miskulin
    President
    Geek Niche Web Hosting

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Youre doing the right thing by drawing up a proposal and wanting to follow a methodical approach. Simply asking for a site like "ESPN" isnt exactly clarifying scope or expectactions at all.

    Perhaps your proposal needs simplifying?

    RJ

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru Rob_D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supermighty View Post
    It was very frustrating to me when I handed the client a proposal and they told me they didn't understand it and didn't know what it meant and that they wanted a site like ESPN. When I did get mock ups done and to them the said; "this is what I wanted in the first place."
    Quote Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post
    Youre doing the right thing by drawing up a proposal and wanting to follow a methodical approach. Simply asking for a site like "ESPN" isnt exactly clarifying scope or expectactions at all.

    Perhaps your proposal needs simplifying?

    RJ
    The client must understand the proposal before they can act on it. I would concentrate on this aspect before making any more proposals...
    It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
    Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
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    I think your process is right on. It sickens me that most web designers will send the client a comp/mockup without sending a proposal.

    I like the fact that you are getting the information architecture first.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot supermighty's Avatar
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    The situation is bad for a lot of reasons. I've learned to not get too emotionally invested in the projects I have. One of my two bosses is such a people pleaser that he caves to their demands, especially moving up the time frame.

    But I still see this as an artificial project. The department isn't paying for the website, and I truly believe that it effects their impression of me and the work I do. All my freelance customers, who pay me, always treat me with respect.
    Supermighty's blog: Debian Virtualbox for local web development.
    Notes from the Walled City

  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    Hold your ground. If theyre not interested in following your process simply tell them that you feel you arent the right person for the job.

    If you do away with your business system, it will do nothing more than cause problems - hence why you follow it in the first place!

    RJ


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