Web Design Woes: Team Problem or Team Solution?

Web Design Woes: Team Problem or Team Solution?

Today I’d like to dig a little deeper into two web design truths that we deal with on nearly every project we contract.

Those truths:

  1. The customer is NOT always right
  2. The designer/developer is NOT always right

I often state that you have to “get the balance right,” and that holds true on web design and development projects.

In order for a website to succeed – and there are several levels of success, it must balance one or more (we suggest ALL) of the following:

  • form and function
  • sales and stories
  • questions and answers
  • professionalism and personality

Understanding and agreeing to create and maintain this balance must occur before the design/development process begins. It’s vital and far more important than choosing sliders or no sliders, sidebars or no sidebars. While those choices are important, they don’t make up the core of your website. The balance ABSOLUTELY does.

Almost every balance decision ties, to some degree, to content – this includes images. Content delivery is often the part of the web design project that causes the most delays. It’s imperative that designer and client agree on the details of creation and delivery of content from project start, so there are no surprises down the line.

Amazingly, not all web designers are brilliant copywriters. In fact, some can barely string a sentence together. And that’s A-OK. I’m guessing they didn’t portray themselves as such during initial discussions. Don’t assume your web design team includes content marketing expertise.

Most web design contracts include a clause or line item detailing the specifics and deadlines for content delivery, including images. If the design/development team is going to seek out images, often stock photography, it will be detailed in the contract. They’ll usually detail reimbursement fees for those images, too. But that’s another blog post.

Those contracts also detail the delivery and deadlines for written content, the backbone of your site project. Without that carefully crafted content your new site is just a pretty shell. Visually appealing, but lacking substance.

If you cannot, designer and client, come to an agreement on who delivers what, the project is going to meet obstacles early on. Problems at the outset often lead to continuing issues that cause the project to drag on, often causing missed due dates and even missed launches.

Web design projects often hit stumbling blocks. It’s nothing too alarming, as these kinds of things happen on all collaborative efforts. It’s important, though, to start as you mean to finish. Are you going to be part of Team Problem or Team Solution. Are you going to work together to help the project progress as easily as possible, or are you going to point fingers and lay blame. As one part of the web design team, I know which option I prefer.

How do you deal with differing opinions on creation and delivery of content as you work on collaborative projects? I’d love to discuss!

2 replies
  1. Adrienne
    Adrienne says:

    Hey Mallie,

    I think anyone who is a web designer must have a heck of a lot of patience.

    I’ve met a few people online now that do this for a living and I’ve heard some horror stories. One friend of mine shared some videos of a nightmare customer and how hard some of them are to please.

    I’ve never hired this kind of work out so I wouldn’t really have a clue what all this entails anyway. Having built my own blog I can assume but we all know what happens when we do that right!

    Great reminder though and hope all is going well with business these days.

    Have a great ending to your week now.

    ~Adrienne

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      Adrienne,

      I often wonder if I should share my woes on clientsfromhell.net. LOL.

      In all honesty, I think every business owner faces client/collaboration difficulties at some point. Mine just happen to happen when I’m collaborating on web design or graphic design projects.

      Your take on assumptions is especially apt. If either party of the collaboration chooses to assume rather than engage in effective communication, the project is bound to face difficulties.

      All projects that involve one or more party taking part can only benefit from careful communication and understanding throughout.

      So appreciate your carefully considered comments. They mean so much and create great conversation.

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