Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The 8 types of bad creative critics

I've been a web designer and developer for over 10 years now, and during that time I've come across many awesome clients. They are generally the ones who have a good idea about what they want and are able to express that clearly. I particularly value the ones who are also open-minded about alternative ideas, willing to listen to what others have to say, and who are willing to incorporate at least some suggestions for improvement into their website.

Once in a (long) while, though, you get a not-so-great client. I think the most challenging are the ones who change their minds 57 million times during the design and development process, and then expect to not have to pay you any extra for all the extra time you've spent on their website. I've only met a couple of these in 10 years, which shows that they are pretty unusual, but perhaps you'll understand why I found this cartoon so funny:

The 8 types of bad creative critics.
Click on the pic to see a bigger version.

I should add that whether a client turns out to be great or not-so-great is very much up to me. It's important, for example, that I explain the process as fully as I can before we begin, so that they know what to expect, and understand what I will need from them in order to do the best job possible. It's unlikely that my client will have the range of web experience that I have - over the past 10 years I've been responsible for the design and development of more than 100 websites - and in fact quite often their website will be the first one they've ever dealt with.

It's obvious that I should explain clearly at the start of the job where the milestones are, how many changes are budgeted for, and what the consequences are (in terms of time and budget) for mind-changes after milestones have been signed off. If I do that, I'm much less likely to have a client who changes their mind 57 million times. And if I do, at least they will be forewarned that this will constitute a change request and therefore an adjustment of the timeline and costings.

It's a great thing, experience. Because, thinking about it, I haven't had a not-so-great client in a very long while. I must be doing something right!

Technorati tags: , , , , , , .