What do YOU MEAN by 'a page' in a static site

A recent ‘discussion’ with a series of potential clients have left me waxing philosophically about the lexicon used by web designers to communicate their services. Consider this:

Site package #X.
Price: $XXXX.00
Deliverables: Up to 15 pages, at $XX.00 per extra page.

  1. I have always loathed this convention, as I have observed many clients trying to lump as much content into the ‘label’ of ‘one page’ as they can get away with, in order to be able to fall under the cheapest terms of the cheapest package; imagine an ‘about me’ page with: a personal summary, business history, personal interest, family photos, some portfolio samples, address and other contact info. This doesnt actually add that much extra (remunerated) work, so only part of my dislike comes from principle, the LARGER part comes from the fact that this hurts visitors as it leads to a site that is poorly optimized and hard to scan though.

Still that was not what the latest rash of quabbles are about.

When I say a page I mean: “1(one) outputted HTML document based on a single design, from a single concept, and supported by a single, common, set of supporting files”. I am lucky that by coincidence, not planning, this is how I had my contracts phrased from the start. Normally, I do 1(one) design (a landing page), and simplified version of the that layout/graphics for inside pages.

So when I run into clients who apparently doesnt understand good branding practices ( I say this for the client’s benefit) , and ask for 15 different layout/ graphics for each page in his site, that it would be billed as 15 independent ‘landing’ pages and not as a site package, since essentially you are causing me to create 15 different PSD (all with different stock photos/art , even slicing grid), 15 extensive alterations to the CSS, even the js functionality different in each page! While my contract terms are clear, he did say that, advertisingwise , saying a “15 PAGE website” design package implies, 15 unique art direction concepts, 15 layouts, 15 html docs, and as many php, css, and js scripts as needed to support said site all billed at the aforementioned price.

My decision to take this person on has been made, but it has made me question how I communicate my rates and services. So am asking this question specifically to other web professionals out there: what is your INTENDED meaning when you use the term ‘page’ as far as a ‘deliverable’ for your clients?

That’s my understanding, too, with the assumption that the same layout can be used on subsequent pages. Tricky if they expect a substantially different layout on each page. I guess this assumption of the one essential layout for all pages part needs to be stated explicitly so that there’s no confusion.

Ralph, there isn’t any confusion, contract wise. Essentially what I am being told by at least 4 different entities so far is “how can this be?” “we want so many pages” and “this is how the pages should be”. So the confusion doesnt come from a misstated contract, but by (what am guessing to be) the ‘popular’ conception what a ‘page’ is.

I would run into similar misconceptions when I did PHP based sites. Of course, that would work out as a pleasant surprise for clients; they would say: " why is does each page cost $XXX, we can’t afford $XXX per page!!! We have 100+ product pages!!" But then I could educate them and say how the template page generates all the other pages so they were actually only having to buy 3 or 4 total pages at $XXX, and thus their site could have a nearly unlimited number of ‘pages’.

Even so you can see how at the end of the conversation the client still had no idea what is meant by ‘a page’.

My actual concern is how people responding to my marketing; it’s not so much work-in progress disputess as it is hearing 'that’s not what your ad says". Since my service literature is slightly more specific than most people ( eg.:I make EXPLICIT distinction between static and dynamic sites… where as I generally only other people say “5 page site”, “10 page site”)

Maybe a page should be described as a “unique design” or “unique layout”?

In addition to specifying a number of pages I also specify how much space the the pages are allowed to use when printed (three single sided sheets). That way they can’t put all the information on a single page to get around the page limit and the pages don’t end up having to be scrolled too far so that the content is more likely to actually be seen.

you can tell theme a page is different from a new design. You can use a book for example. It has many pages but only one design for its cover. that way they can’t try to “lump content into label”.

A page in a static website is, like the contact page, same main layout as homepage, and the content changed. Of course it can also have a different design, but normally we have a template for all website, with just minor changes fpr different pages.

So does that mean that you would accept someone supplying a copy of “War and Peace” as the content for one page of the site you are creating for them and “The Bible” for the second page and the complete works of Agatha Christie for page three when creating a three page web site for someone? I am sure that if that amount of content were supplied for each page that there would be more than just minor changes required to each page every month.

So does that mean that you would accept someone supplying a copy of “War and Peace” as the content for one page of the site you are creating for them and “The Bible” for the second page and the complete works of Agatha Christie for page three when creating a three page web site for someone? I am sure that if that amount of content were supplied for each page that there would be more than just minor changes required to each page every month.

Am strongly agree with you here Stephen. Not only that, but as I stated before, navigation, clarity, SEO, and d/l time would suffer ( so client would lose what he thinks he’d gain anyway).

A page in a static website is, like the contact page, same main layout as homepage, and the content changed. Of course it can also have a different design, but normally we have a template for all website, with just minor changes fpr different pages. 

I fear the point of my OP was misinterpreted. I know what to consider a ‘page’ (from a (my) business point of view and more importantly from an information architecture point of view) and , from what see here, it generally concurs with most of what has been mentioned in this thread. Also, he contract I give out is very explicit ( tho some NICE points in have been made in this thread) and it has quelled many ACTUAL client concerns/ disputes long before they got out of hand.

My issue stems from people who are not yet clients, but potential clients, people who saw an ad, or previous work, or talked to a client and decided to place an inquiry about my services . Seriously, if I ‘ruled’ the world… work would be determine solely on an hourly basis. The client can have whatever he asks for ( tho for best results it would be wise to listen to counsel of the professional ) and the cost would be determined by the hourly rate times # of hour the job takes to complete (which of course is a function of the efficiency of the professional and the complexity of the job). There is after all a differing amount of complexity between a page with 300 word of content content and having a solid color bg and a page with also 300 words of content but laid around Seurat ‘Sunday afternoon at the park’.

But you know how many clients understand the last part of that sentence? Roughly, 0. So generally offers are phrased with “pre standardized” terms: “1 site, 12pages, $XXX”… “1 site, 6pages, + contact form $XXX”… even ( as Stephen says, tho in an advert this fails to roll of the tongue) … “1 site, 8pages of no more than ## words and up to # images , + contact form $XXX”.

That used to keep the quibbling to a minimum and in teh end projects averaged out. But there is really more to web design /coding that. So I am now coming across an inordinate # of potential clients who get vocally miffed to learn that “1 site, 6pages” does not include 6 different background illustrations, + 6 different layouts, 6 or more set of distinct functionality ( it gets worse, actually, some assume responsive design is included by default and so expect additional illustrations for each page at each responsive breakpoints, etc). Remember I am telling you what a notable number potential clients are expecting as they walk through the door , not after the initial meeting, or project discussion , or what I call client counseling… or after reading the contract.