How To Explain To Clients That They Are Wrong

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GIFs of spinning @s on the “Contact us” page. Common usability mistakes for the sake of visual appeal. Splash pages. Fancy search box. No whitespace. Music on page load. Home page banner of a jigsaw-puzzle globe with a piece missing. Sometimes you just know that what a client is requesting is wrong and that you have to find a way to tell them. But how?

Is The Client Wrong?

Before getting into how to explain to a client that they’re wrong, ask yourself, “Is the client wrong to begin with?” Just because you don’t approve of the direction they’re taking or of a request they’ve made doesn’t necessarily mean it is not a step in the right direction for the project. To be able to answer this question effectively, you need to train yourself to be completely objective and humble when dealing with client requests.

First of all, appreciate one critical thing: the client probably knows their target audience a lot better than you do. Just as web professionals quickly learn personality types among their own clients, your client interacts with their target audience on a daily basis and knows what makes them tick… and that may be just what makes you cringe.

You can begin to establish if the client is wrong simply by exploring why the client is making such a request and what the business case for it is. It could well be a situation in which they spoke to many people in the target audience demographic, and they all said that they were more likely to click an animated Flash banner link than a static one, or that they felt more engaged by a website that had stock images of smiling people everywhere.

It could be that the picture of the jigsaw-puzzle globe with a piece missing actually sums up the client’s sales pitch quite well and that similar messaging has proven to win over potential customers in the past.

A Rubix cube style graphic with a heart logo and one cube piece fallen off
Image source: Lady Madonna1

Of course, when faced with such a situation, a good web professional would understand the business driver and suggest alternative solutions that convey the same message and achieve the same goal but that are unique, original and creative.

Whatever the case though, always keep an open mind. Don’t assume the client is wrong before seeing the evidence. One guarantee in this business is that the more you design and develop websites, the more often you’ll find yourself in situations where, six months after a project’s launch, you hear that the most positive feedback from users wasn’t the cool bit of JavaScript you implemented using groundbreaking technology, but rather something that you considered boring and unoriginal but that excited the client during development. We deliver websites for the client’s target audience, not our peers in the web community: sometimes painful to swallow, but always true.

That scenario aside, let’s put our cool hats on again and assume that the request for the jigsaw-puzzle globe has come in, and that it clearly has nothing to do with the client’s business, and that it has made you curl up in a corner of the room, banging your head against the wall, muttering “Why? Why? Why?”

What approaches can you take to explain to the client that, in your professional opinion, they’re wrong?

Speak The Client’s Language

One of the most common problems, especially among freelancers, is an inability to speak the client’s language. Being able to speak in a way that relates to the client’s business sense is crucial at all stages of managing a web project, but never more so than when challenging a client’s decision.

If you’re trying to explain to a client that a rotating banner (or any other feature) may not be the most effective use of their budget, rather than say something like, “I just don’t think it will work,” or “I’m not sure you have the budget,” ask instead how they think implementing it will benefit their business, generate more quality leads or increase conversions.

Always emphasize the main goals, or KPIs (key performance indicators), of the project. You’d be surprised by how often such a question will result in a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, as the client realizes that they want the feature because they think it looks cool, when in fact they can’t connect it to a KPI.

Building a website or web application should be treated in the same way as growing a business:

  1. Know what you want to achieve.
  2. Define some measurable KPIs or goals.
  3. Develop a plan.
  4. Begin executing the plan.
  5. Evaluate every decision along the way to make sure it supports a KPI, thus taking repeated steps towards achieving the project’s goals.

By maintaining this approach, you will also radically change the client’s opinion of you, from that of a creative hippie-type to a business-savvy web designer or developer whom they should listen to if they want to stay focused on the purpose of the project.

A screenshot of a Buzzword Bingo board

Being able to speak the client’s language will undoubtedly help greatly when the time comes to tell the client that they’re wrong. Beyond using Buzzword Bingo2 words with confidence, you need to be able to back them up with valuable advice drawn from your area of specialization.

Establish Yourself As The Expert

One of the most important ways to make the ordeal of explaining to a client that they’re wrong as stress-free as possible for both parties is to establish yourself as the web expert. If you do this, the client will completely trust you and your recommendations without a moment’s hesitation. Perfick!

But even if you are a web expert, the position is not always easy to establish, because it usually only becomes apparent over time, after you’ve gotten a few successful decisions or projects under your belt with the client. It doesn’t help either that many clients still regard creative digital agencies and freelancers as either kids living in their parents’ basement or shady professionals out to take them for every last penny.

Though a challenge, you can establish your credibility quickly using a few methods, some of which are relatively simple to do.

Be Professional

Before they’re convinced that you’re a digital professional and that they should trust your recommendations, you must first demonstrate your professionalism by doing the basics well:

  • Be punctual at meetings and teleconferences.
  • Always speak in a professional manner.
  • Deliver pre-sales paperwork on time.
  • Present all documents and images on professionally branded templates.
  • Use correct grammar and punctuation in emails.

You’d be surprised by how quickly clients pick upon deficiencies in these basic business skills. Their perception of you and your recommendations will be immediately affected. Unless you come across as the consummate professional early on, shaking off this reputation will be difficult.

Don’t Be Shy About Citing High-Profile Clients

You could well be a digital guru who has spent years working in the industry and earned the respect of the web community, but most clients won’t understand what this means. They have never heard of websites such as Smashing Magazine or magazines such as .Net3, and they probably won’t grasp the gravitas that comes with being a speaker at web conferences such as SXSW4.

However, all clients tend to respond when you say you have worked on a high-profile brand website. When clients hear that you’ve been hired by a big name that they’ve heard of and whose products they perhaps use, they sit up like a meerkat and think they’ve hit the jackpot. Simples!

While some web folk aren’t always comfortable selling themselves, and while big brand experience is not always proof of ability, it almost always resonates with clients and makes them see you as more credible. This reinforces your position as an expert whose advice should be heeded. After all, if big brand X thought you were good, you must be, right?

Sometimes, of course, no matter how much credibility you demonstrate, a client may choose not to listen to your recommendations. But perhaps they’ll listen to others…

Back Up Recommendations With Evidence

How often in life have you volunteered your point of view to someone for months, only to be beaten down each time; and yet when someone else comes into the picture and says the exact same thing, their advice is seized upon as revolutionary. This is human nature and happens just as much when explaining to clients that they’re wrong.

If a client is, for whatever reason, unpersuaded by your arguments, you might want to consider going all CSI on them and producing evidence that backs up your recommendations.

This evidence can come in many forms. For example:

  • Blog posts from world-respected web experts.
  • Statistics from large usability studies.
  • Well-known cases where the same thing was tried and had negative results.

A screenshot of the Five Second Test website header5

This kind of evidence is obvious. But sometimes, the less obvious kind can be just as effective:

  • Guerrilla usability testing, by asking the client to obtain feedback from employees within the company.
  • Using free tools like Five Second Test6 (or dozens of other tools7) to flash test designs.
  • Submitting designs to communities dedicated to providing design feedback, for example Feedback Army8.
  • Feedback from customers with whom the client has a good relationship.
  • Setting up a poll on the website that presents both ideas.
  • Web analytics from the current website.

Common points of contention will be which browsers to support, which screen resolutions to optimize for and where to put the fold. But no matter the debate, backing up your point of view with trusted third parties can sometimes tip the balance in your favor and improve how the client perceives your dedication, enthusiasm and passion for getting it right.

Sometimes, Being Direct Works

When all else fails, you could always tell the client flat out that they’re wrong. This is always a risky move, because clients will react differently. Some will appreciate it, while others will find it disrespectful or personally insulting. But if you feel strongly about it and you’ve tried every other method, being direct might do the trick.

Personally, I’ve been in situations in which I’ve had no alternative but to tell a client that their request is “naff9.” To my surprise, despite the ferocity with which the client initially defended their opinion, they backed down immediately and thanked me, saying that this is what they were paying me for: to be strong and stubborn and to tell them things like this. However, merely saying that something is naff and nothing more is not ideal; you have to offer an alternative solution.

Use this approach with caution. Take into account your rapport with the client, and be passive in your tone of voice. Also, choose your method of communication wisely; for example, being so direct by email is usually a big mistake because of the possibility of misinterpretation.

A close image of the Hulk character with an angry face
Image source: Darren Hester10

If possible, be direct with the client face to face or by telephone. This allows you to deliver the message directly and set the right tone. You will also be able to observe the client’s body language or hear their response instantly and then quickly adjust your approach if needed. Generally, if a client turns green with fury, their nostrils emit a trace of steam and their clothes rip at the seams, you may want to back down and move swiftly to the next item on the agenda… or call an ambulance because they may be ill.

Of course, sometimes no matter what you say or do, a client will overrule and insist that you follow their request. You know what? That’s okay. It happens. That’s life.

But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the end of the debate!

Know When And How To Admit Defeat

Occasionally you’ll try every known method of explaining to a client that they’re wrong, and nothing works. They’ll continue insisting that you design or develop whatever they want or else they’ll go to someone who will. And yet you feel with complete sincerity that they’re making a mistake that will have a negative impact on their business. This is never a good situation to be in.

There really are no hard and fast rules on what to do in such a situation. Each case should be treated on its own basis. But with experience comes the instinct of knowing when to admit defeat and do as you’re told.

This feeling is never nice, but sometimes that’s how it is. And if you have to sit in the corner and be quiet, do it professionally and politely. Under no circumstances should you throw your toys out of the pram and give the client attitude. Simply explain to them that you have put forward your recommendations and given your reasons. At the end of the day, it’s their business and their decision. It stings, but you’ve done all you can, and your dignity remains intact. But don’t give up yet!

Treat Defeat as an Opportunity

Saying that good entrepreneurs view every defeat as an opportunity is almost a cliché these days. But it’s true, and these situations are no different. There’s admitting defeat, and then there’s pretending to admit defeat! Once you’ve been beaten down by a client, accept it, get over it and think positively about how you can turn defeat into a win/win for everyone.

For example, suggest to the client that if they choose to press ahead against your recommendation, then your next recommendation will be to implement some custom web analytics to monitor the outcome of the decision.

A screenshot of Google Analytics graphs and figures showing positive results

For example, if a client insists on giving the home page banner a small call to action that, in your opinion, is difficult to read or not prominent enough, persuade them to let you implement some A/B testing11: one month with their banner and one month with your proposed solution, and let the statistics do the talking. No client on earth would continue to insist on their solution if yours delivered a better return on investment.

If you’re thinking, “What the heck is A/B testing?” even better! This is an ideal opportunity to learn a valuable skill while getting paid and giving your client excellent service!

Summary

Explaining to a client that they’re wrong is never easy. It could blow up in your face and damage what was a good relationship. But everyone is wrong sometimes, and clients are no different. Always start by asking yourself if the client is, in fact, wrong. Or are you trying to impose your opinion (based on a narrow web-only view) on what is ultimately a business decision that affects the client’s entire strategy, both online and offline.

If you conclude that their direction is still misguided, open a dialogue with them in language they relate too: business language. Rather than say it won’t work, ask them what goals or return on investment they think the direction will help achieve. Establish yourself as the digital expert from the moment you make contact with the client by conducting all aspects of your work with professionalism. Do everything you can to position yourself as someone who has the experience to suggest alternative solutions. And where possible, back up your recommendations with third-party material and user feedback.

If all else fails, be direct with the client. But know which clients you can be direct with and when you will have to back down. Finally, don’t let being overruled be the end of the debate. Suggest testing periods, and let the web analytics do the talking. All clients respond when they see important metrics go up rather than down!

What are your favorite ways of telling clients that they’re wrong?

Related Posts

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lady-madonna/147065021
  2. 2 http://bingo.adactio.com
  3. 3 http://www.netmag.co.uk
  4. 4 http://sxsw.com
  5. 5 http://fivesecondtest.com
  6. 6 http://fivesecondtest.com
  7. 7 http://www.noupe.com/how-tos/usability-testing-toolkit-resources-articles-and-techniques.html
  8. 8 http://feedbackarmy.com
  9. 9 http://www.thefreedictionary.com/naff
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/darrenhester/3934149502
  11. 11 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A/B_testing
  12. 12 http://ramonaiftode.com/blog/what-do-you-do-when-your-client-is-wrong
  13. 13 http://www.admixweb.com/2009/06/08/10-tips-to-improve-interaction-with-clients
  14. 14 http://www.headscape.co.uk/head
  15. 15 http://clientsfromhell.tumblr.com
  16. 16 http://designm.ag/freelance/communication-with-clients
  17. 17 http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/design-process/communication-tips
  18. 18 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/07/22/how-to-communicate-design-decisions-to-clients

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Sam Barnes is a Development Team Manager at Global Personals. Although a little short for a Stormtrooper, he can be found posting articles at thesambarnes.com, a blog dedicated to the subject of Web Project Management.

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  1. 1

    Great article!!

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  2. 52

    I’ve found that a lot of times and explanation into why such and such isn’t a good idea is often enough to deter a client. Many simply don’t know what can or should be done on the web. I had a client who wanted music on their site, and just by explaining that it’s bad usuability and often annoying enough to visitors to make them leave, she’d agreed not to do it.

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  3. 103

    You know what? This might be the most important post on Smashing Magazine that we read. Dealing with this kind of stuff is relevant to all of us.

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  4. 154

    Now that was a very cool post I’ve seen lately.. Everybody was just writing about “client is always right” and stuff like that.. This is something I really wanted to read about..
    Great stuff, thanks ! :)

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  5. 205

    First of all this is a great post and it absolutely fits this week. New client, bad redesign coming up, had some recommendations, were completely turned down.

    The problem is not that my recommendations were not accepted but rather that I was really annoyed of them not accepting my “professional” opinion. I was so secure that everything I said was absolutely correct that I completely stopped listening. With all the posts about how awful some clients can be (Clients From Hell, etc.) my ego was pushed too far. I was thinking that I was part of the “really cool guys developing websites” and that the client has no idea what he was talking about.

    I was wrong to think like that. I am not part of “the uber awesome web developers” and by thinking I would be I had proven that I wasn’t.

    Rather than making a total idiot of myself I should have acted professionally and find out if my help wasn’t needed / wanted / good enough / presented well and then deal with it.

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  6. 256

    The thing that I see in the comments is a lot of people who are dismissing their clients. This is a very dangerous game to play. Turning down a client in a huff because they are idiots or bad clients can cost you a lot of credibility. My personal rule on getting rid of a client is if they are affecting my ability to help other clients.

    I do however play the cat-mouse game. I dont design currently, but when I used to get the “Well so and so is willing to build my website for $50.00″ I would say “well my price for what you are looking for is XXX, but you are free to go for the $50.00 guy if you want. I will archive what we discussed.”. Then gauge their response and respond reaffirming your sales pitch and why your better. I have had many people go pay for the $50.00 site, and then come back begging for me to work on their site because the kid wasn’t professional and didn’t finish the job and took the $50.00. I have the original information still, I then re-asses it with them and get to work. They love that, I also have had them leave and not return. They obviously wanted the $50.00 website and I dont do that, so they got what they ultimately wanted, while I got customers who payed much more then that.

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  7. 307

    Not banging my own drum here but after 20 years in the industry you learn to pick your battles with certain clients. You also become wise enough to spot the trouble makers a mile off too. Sometimes you get fortunate enough to have loyal long term clients who appreciate your expertise and advise – the door does swing both ways though. Don’t always assume the client is thick and you are right. Horses for courses at the end of the day and so don’t approach each client with the same mantra. I have found that more difficult clients require different methods. And most of all remember at the end of the day you are trying to realise the best solution for them … not what will satisfy your own creative ego.

    Peace out :-)

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  8. 358

    I like that !

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  9. 409

    Sometimes client’s are beyond salvation.

    Cases like:

    Dad who wants to please his spoiled daughter, and says “yes” when she draws on my mockups.
    Then he comes to me and ask me to write what she came up with… the results are terrifying and look as if we are about 10 years back … the period 1997-2000.

    Or the client which wife has so many years of designing experience (of spreadsheets) that I am no match for her skills with tables and animated clip art.

    There are just so many ways for someone to be wrong. But the most interesting thing is that these clients love their sites, and even brought me more customers. Sometimes they are even coming back with some terrible ideas, but after all, what makes us professionals is that, no matter the what the job is, we can make both sides happy – after all “it is all about the money”.

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    • 460

      If my job was about making the client happy, and make money for me; then ill be a clown not a Graphic Designer.

      1
  10. 511
  11. 562

    This article is pretty much consistent with my experience, but there are a few grey areas of contention. Sometimes the client is clueless and adamant, sometimes I really need the the work. The article to write when these 2 come together is, ‘Remediating Disputes With Irrational Clients So They Don’t Blame You When you Deliver What They Demanded’

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  12. 613

    Sometimes i wish i had a Jedi ‘mind trick’ force ability ; (

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  13. 664

    Thanks for the article!

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  14. 715

    Thanks. This is indeed a wonderful article. Surely will help me a great deal.

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  15. 766

    Kenneth Ciszewski

    December 11, 2009 8:58 am

    If what the client asks for is ethically, legally, morally, physically, or technically impossible, then you need to say “no” in a nice way, and tell them why you have to say no.

    If you simply think they won’t like the result once they have it, then you might say:

    “I understand what you are asking, but I’m concerned that you will not like the result once you see it when it’s complete, at which point we will have to redo the work, and that may incur extra cost and take extra time. However, if you think this is what you really want and will sign off on it, then we will make it happen.”

    I once had a client who wanted an unusual feature on a system. It cost more than the more standard arrangement, and I tried to talk him out of it (gently) three times. After he stood his ground, I provided what he asked for, and he was satisfied, so satisfied, that, later on, when the system needed expansion, he paid for that also, and we used the same method, even though it was more costly.

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  16. 817

    There is an interesting article found on artlebedev concerning this.

    § 140. Designers and design

    A designer is often easily baffled by a question: “And what if your customer is smarter than you?”

    Designers tend to possess a strong belief that they are artists and their creative ideas are not subject to criticism. Most web designers known to the author mistake their craft for an art. To make it worse, they consider whatever they’ve done valuable just because they’ve hatched it out.

    A bottle—one of the ideal objects—is shaped like that not because some designer suddenly felt his left ball itching and had a creative urge to make a bottleneck narrow, but due to the fact that cork was expensive and had to be used wisely.

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  17. 868

    Thanks for the great article. It’s a fine line between being a professional who offers great advice and someone who comes off as the “I’m always right” type of guy. You’ve offered some excellent tips on how to address a very delicate situation rather than tip-toe around it… which I’m sure many of us are guilty of.

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  18. 919

    I think you did a really great job dealing with this subject and there’s been some really awesome discussion. It’s like thinking of a job as a design school assignment– you’re presented with a “problem”, which comes with its own set of specification, and you need to find the solution, which will work within those constraints. You wouldn’t just throw out the specs and do whatever you want. The same goes for a client. Of course, if you have a client that fights you every step of the way, the problem is probably one of trust and this is not a client you want to work with in the future. So you finish the job as professionally as possible and move on. Something I think we all learn the hard way.

    A friend of mine and my former creative director Bobby Martin used to say that the user will ask for a result (say, making the logo bigger) instead of pointing out the problem (the logo needs to be more prominent in the design). It’s your job as a designer to decode what the client asks for and provide them with the best solution (maybe it’s placing more whitespace around the logo instead of making it bigger). I think that’s the best philosophy, and if you think of it that way, you’ll never have to turn away a client.

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  19. 970

    Great Blog

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  20. 1021

    Sheldon (Marketing Consultant, NZ)

    December 12, 2009 6:19 pm

    Nice work Sam!

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  21. 1072

    Thanks for the article, very interesting!

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  22. 1123

    Guys.

    Isn’t it a bad, bad practice to just swipe images without properly crediting them?

    Not only is the image from a threadless t-shirt and it would be good form to mention it somewhere but it seems you’ve decided to get another person’s photo of it (I won’t assume it’s to avoid crediting threadless, but the thought crossed my mind) and post it without credit, either.

    You didn’t even link to the actual photo but saved a local copy of it.

    Now, considering you’re all experts here, you’re writing an article about how to tell people they’re wrong, how you mention the importance of directness and you consider admitting defeat a trait, how about properly crediting that picture?

    Or must I link to the user’s photo in Flickr?

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  23. 1174

    Thanks for all your comments!

    It seems many of you are very quick to dump a client who refuses to see things your way. All I can say is, although I discuss it, it’s a rare thing when a client can’t be bought around to your way of thinking, and you guys must have great cashflow and loads of new work always lined up to be able to dump a client so easily :) I salute you!

    I believe a good commercial approach is that some things you do for portfolio pieces, and others to pay the bills – you choose what to put your name on and what you don’t – and don’t forget, sometimes these clashes with clients happen during a project, not at the beginning!

    @Design Informer, agreed. I will always look to tell the client that the colors clash, if they resist, I’ll point them in the direction of some color theory resources and get my design team to speak to them – this approach has been 100% successful to date.

    @Peter, you’re right when you say adding your test banner for free doesn’t get you paid, but for such a small job, depending on your feeling about future budget from the same client, I’d say it’s worth it. Not only does it keep you talking to the client, if you turn out to be right, that client will listen to you in the future.

    @Carlos, typo corrected, thanks for pointing it out.

    @Tapper, I bow to the excellent Grange Hill reference ;)

    @Simon Urbina, I see your point, but this section is more to do with keeping an open mind and first considering the client’s request from all angles before recommeding against it. I come across too many people in the web business who think they know best, which is fine and often true, but when they don’t combine that with being a little humble, it really comes across as arrogance to the client rather than collaborative working and education.

    @Brandy @jake @eduo, I’ve now added the image sources. Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

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  24. 1225

    I do the site but dont include it on my cv, my boss refuses to let any developers in the meeting with the client so we have no input. we just charged a client 14grand to plug in a free xml webservice.

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  25. 1276

    Three Scenarios:

    Nobody’s mentioned this. What happens when you do it the way the client asks for and 3 months later they start blaming you for giving them a bad website?

    Sometimes the designer has little or no contact with the client and has no choice. This kind of thing happens a lot in agency work where designers aren’t included in the sales process and the account reps don’t understand the web (especially if the agency was once primarily print driven). Sales people generally will promise whatever it takes to make the sale. Then you get stuck holding a bag full of bad ideas.

    Freelancers often face a different problem. They really can’t afford to be turning away clients. It’s easy to say doing something you’re not proud of will hurt you in the long run. When you’re trying to scrape up some money to feed your family, sometimes you have to. Unfortunately, Utopia doesn’t exist.

    Good communication with clients is the key to making better sites, but sometimes you just have to do what you’re told and live to fight another day.

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  26. 1327

    Thats why I complain here ww.ourclientsays.com/beta

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  27. 1378

    Those meerkats are totaly cute !! xD

    Anyway, nice article. I really think that this is a hot topic, there is nothing more irritating than to explain to a client that he/she is wrong, and the client just don’t get that you have more experience, and you are the pro…

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  28. 1429

    Sometimes you gotta cram your whole hand up your ass.

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  29. 1480

    The trick is to make the client believe your ideas are their ideas, then you congratulate them on how good they are and charge them! simple. Clients are always right even when they are wrong.

    There is another trick which I call needs analysis rather the requirements analysis. It goes something like this. To create a requirement a client goes through 4 steps.
    1. They perceive there is an issue which needs addressing.
    2. They need to quantity that issue in their mind first – (they use their domain model to do this(past experiences))
    3. Then they need to describe the issue as a requirement which usually means they want to copy something they perceive already meets their issue.
    4. They then need to communicate the issue to you which becomes a requirement you should meet.

    Most of the time the client makes a bad job of this process because they’re not designers! Its our job to understand steps 1 to 4 and then re-frame the clients solution based on step 1, the original issue.

    Sometimes you can’t do this so you should walk away

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  30. 1531

    Here’s what I’ve found while trying to protect clients from themselves:

    Clients get confused by my passion for usability, they lose the ability to tell whether you’re giving them essential information (40% of your users squint) and opinion (your text is small).

    I’ve tried showing clients user studies and best practices articles, both to educate and gain trust, but it backfires every time. They feel insulted because they think I’m trying to push it.

    I’ve tried not thinking about the end user experience, and being at peace with getting paid to “hurt” the internet. It’s a huge relief to suspend all objective thought and just make crap, until somebody asks me what I’ve been working on, and I feel like a prostitute. I don’t want to say “ugh it’s such bullshit” and I don’t want to show them, and I don’t want to say “I don’t want to say” either.

    My new solution is to pass the pain back to the client in the form of withdrawn discounts:

    I make a list and say “deviation from these best practices into these worst practices takes your site out of my portfolio, cutting its value to me in half, and I’m charging half the agency standard as a discount for not making me do stuff I can’t show to other prospectives.”

    Web designers are more like house builders and architects than hairdressers and cake decorators. Even clothing alterations people get more respect than we do. Are pixels dirty? I don’t get it.

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  31. 1582

    credibility of experts

    June 22, 2010 8:24 pm

    Hello. I like your post �. Full of practical ideas.

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  32. 1633

    But HOW do you ask a client, “…how they think implementing it will benefit their business, generate more quality leads or increase conversions” without sounding condescending? Their answer will most likely be: “I don’t know – just put it there.”

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    • 1684

      It all goes back to how you set the project up in the first place with the client. From the outset you should explain that the best way (your way) of working is to make sure as many decisions throughout the project should be based on project goals decided upon at the start – project goals that are business focussed rather than design or technically focussed.

      If you lay down this foundation early on, and constantly refer back to it during decision making times (without sounding like a stuck record) then when it comes to this situation it shouldnt sound condescending.

      Of course there are times when the client doesnt care about the original goals, or is getting extreme pressure from elsewhere in their organisation – in situtaions like this you should know when to back down and just do what they say. As long as you have communicated your feelings on the matter then you’be done all you can – pick your battles!

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  33. 1735

    I’ve always thought the only thing missing in everything is a little understanding. I find this is the best way to approach these situations. If we diligently try to understand the clients perspective, then sometimes these requests don’t seem so off putting.

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