This is for all the hard working Web and Interactive designers and developers out there perfecting their craft. They face multiple projects, timelines, and personalities on a daily basis. I know it’s hard work, so this post is for you–hope it makes the road a little smoother.
Dealing With Mr. Micromanager
Prepare a document in advance that discusses what your production method is and include some information about Web advantages and limitations. This helps the client stay informed. If your attempts at education go ignored, gently but firmly explain the issues one additional time. Most importantly, give the client specific days and hours that are appropriate to contact you.
Also, it’s helpful to plan the design down to the last detail before starting your coding. Start with sketches and move on to mockups. Have the client sign off on each stage of planning. Then, when you’re building the site, there shouldn’t be any surprises.
Dealing With Ms. Penny-Pincher
Your best bet with her is to provide a detailed expense sheet and explain each item and have her sign the sheet after she clearly understands. Most importantly, tell her firmly that you are doing the best job for an agreed-upon price, and you’d like her to stop discussing monetary concerns.
Dealing With Mr. Content Interruptus
Explain the need for timely content up front, and set milestone responsibilities for both you and the client. Write those milestones into your contract, giving the client a legal responsibility to deliver content to you in order for a milestone to be met.
Dealing With Ms. No Pay
You can avoid problems with Ms. No Pay by ensuring that half of the project is paid for up front, with a contract clause explaining this fee is nonrefundable. You can then have the remainder of the money due upon the completion date. When you’re paid, the site goes up. And if a check bounces or is delayed, take the site down.
Dealing With Mr. On the Fence
If you are certain you are dealing with a personality type like this, don’t give this client decision-making power. Tell him, instead of asking him, what it is he needs and provide a site most appropriate to his needs. Rejoice if you find he is grateful you took control and delivered the goods without too much of his involvement.
Dealing With Ms. It’s Never Right
Ms. It’s Never Right is a rather intransigent problem. You can recommend that she seek out another designer, since she’s apparently not happy with you. Or you might suggest some book titles and developer Web sites for Ms. It’s Never Right so that she can design the site herself.
Dealing With Mr. Bad Vibe
Just say no. If you do get bad vibes from a client, simply don’t take on that client. If you’re in deep already, look for ways to pass the client onto another firm that has more buffers (such as client reps) to keep you safe.
Dealing With Ms. Cybernot
Clients don’t have to be ASP experts or HTML wizards: that’s why they hire you, right? But they should know some basic concepts about the Web. The best way to work efficiently with Ms. Cybernot is to explain the process from the beginning in very general terms. Try discussing what end result she wants and then determine what content or interaction you’ll need from her. Sometimes keeping the client in the loop about every little detail, from page load time to browser incompatibilities, isn’t such a good idea.
Note: I believe this first appeared sometime back on Builder.com and it is still appropriate for today. This article is no longer available in their archive, so if you know the author I would be happy to give credit.
Also, the genders used in this post are interchangeable, so don’t get insecure.