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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict
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    When approached by a "client" who is looking or us to build them the website of their dreams, what exactly does that entail?

    What i mean is, what are we offering them as a "web designer"?

    Some of us have good graphics ability, others dont. Some of us are creative as hell while others dont have a creative bone in their body... But we all can code (whether using a WYSIWYG or not)

    So, when someone comes at you with a site in mind, how much work should they have done and ready for you?

    Are we, as designers, suppose to know how to advertise effectively? or be good text/grammatical editors, or even typists for that matter?

    Or are they suppose to come to us and say simply "I want this text here, that text there, and this image in the background with this logo at the top etc etc etc"

    Or do they simply say... "i want a nice site, ummm maybe yellow and white... gimmie what ya got!"

    My real question is, as a web designer, what exactly is our job description?
    Can anyone fill me in on this?
    Maybe give me some "War Stories" of their dealings with clients in the past?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I personally think that our 'job description' really depends on the client.

    Some clients will come to you having already drawn their website out perfectly on paper and know exactly what they want for their site. Other clients will really have no idea..they will just have the words "I need a website" in their minds; as well as design, these clients need good advice.

    The same applies for advertising and typing etc...if the client already got some ideas then you need to be able to build on those ideas and help the client find something that they like...if the client has no idea at all then you need to be able to come up with some ideas for them, and if the client has their heart set on, for example, a particlar ad campaign, then you need to be able to do that too.

    So, basically a webmaster needs to be able to adapt to each individual client's needs and way of working...you need to be able to be completely flexible.


    [This message has been edited by James (edited July 30, 2000).]

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    James has it nailed...web designers have no singular role other than to always satisfy the client for the agreed upon price.

    I've got a client I'm with now who likes to see my progress now and then and make suggestions, but for the most part he gave me a copy of their old logo (not using it anyway... ) and told me he'd like me to use dark green and dark blue, since those colors were already representing his organization...I've kind of gone from there and now I need to ASK him for more info...

    Other clients of course want to control every detail...you just have to accomodate them whenever possible, and let them down easily if they get carried away and start asking for either things you cannot do, or things that are a bit too elaborate or unprofessional for the site.

    Like James said: just do what they want and offer advice...obviously if they want a neon green background you should speak out against if, but when it comes down to it they're the boss!


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  4. #4
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    I have quite strong feelings about this issue.

    It is true that as the professional we have to offer advice and make sure that we lead our clients down the right track. However, I don't think that just because the client is paying our wages we should do what they say. I would rather go against a client's wishes than do something that I am against.

    For example, I went to meet with a potential client not long ago and they wanted a singing all dancing site. They were a construction company and did not even have email (which I set up for them for free whilst I was there). Their clients are regular, and most of them do not have computer access either.

    Now this client wanted something "cheap". So I suggested a couple of pages just to let people out there know that the company existed. They said hat they wanted ALL photographs of the staff on the site and also they wanted an animated picture of a construction lorry which would take up about a third of the page on ALL the pages. I suggested against this and explained why. I also suggested that if they wanted cheap they should go and ask a student to produce their site. Needless to say I was not contacted again.

    Yet, I use this honest approach with all my clients and most of them are grateful to me for that. In fact, I think that I have got repeat work from clients I would not have otherwise obtained because of this honesty. I am what is know as an HTML purist, and a purist I shall stay!

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  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot
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    I think that we are to use our expertise, whatever that may be, to the best outcome of the client.

    I mean, most everyone who comes to us for we-work knows little about what it entails! Many of them do not have a finger on the current design pulse and want things that went out of style two or three years ago. I cannot take a clients money while giving them something less than my best and feel good about it. It also reflects on me!

    I had a client recently ask if I were able to create a spinning animated globe for their site. I said "I know how, I could, and I used to do it all the time. But now, I will not." I then explained that this would be bad design and that I will not do it, nicely of course.

    I let 'em know up front that they came to me because they want a good site that will reflect well on their company and will be in line with current trends. So, they should be sure to rely on me for the reason I was hired, relax, and let me make them look good. I then get approval on everything as I do it, explaining why it was done.

    So, what is a web designer? Everything! We are artists, consultants, copy-writers, programmers and executives.

    ~Daniel

  6. #6
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    This one is indeed a learning experience. Let me tell you one of my mistakes, so you can benefit.

    I've got a customer that hired to design a site (about $4k over a year's time, hosting included). I went out and did a template, using all the right stuff as far as keyword density maximization goes. It was rejected and the customer directed the site design himself.

    This wasn't so bad except that his idea didn't maximize any search engine strategies, and now he can't figure out why he isn't listed in the top 10 in an extremely competitive field on any major search engine.

    Be up front w/your clients/customers!

    I tell my clients that my job is take their vision, needs, and desires to mold them into something that gives them want they want and can afford. Sometimes what you want may cost 10's of thousands of dollars and sometimes it may only cost a few hundred. I always remind them that I've been around the block a few times, am constantly keeping up on the web's trends, and have tried stuff that works and stuff that doesn't. That's what they pay me for!

    Mike

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