Why is the client request nearly always:
Can you put this on the homepage for us please?
We have some new content ready for our website that we would like to feature, where do you suggest is the best place to put it?
Typically, we designers are hired in the first place because of our design and user experience expertise. Why does it always seem like, over time, this relationship deteriorates, and that original respect is lost.
Ultimately, I think it’s because the vast majority of clients have some sort of repressed wish to be a designer themselves. They just have this really strong urge to show you “who’s boss”, and they need to feel that they’re the ones who are in control for every step of the process. God forbid they would trust us Web Designers to do our job! I wonder if they exercise such control in all areas of their business… Somehow I doubt it, I mean it’s not like I’d suggest to my dentist the best way for them to pull a tooth out or for a mechanic how they should fix my car.
The reason I’m paying them in the first place is because they’re both trained professionals in their specific fields and as such I expect them to be able to do a far better job than I could do myself. There’s also a certain element of trust involved with this as I don’t demand to see what qualifications they have before letting them get to work. I naturally assume that if they have a professional looking workplace and happy clients that they are a trustworthy professional. Obviously there is a few other things involved that strengthens my trust, such as the language they use and how they talk me through the procedure they’re going to be carrying out and the tools/parts they’re going to be using, but these are only helping to reaffirm my trust. I’m not doubting them from the instant they start work – If I did then I wouldn’t have chosen them to start the work in the first place so when choosing a designer your trust should be the same.
However this is not how the world we live in works (yet), and as I highlighted at the start of this post, clients often doubt designers, so it’s up to us as web professionals, to help our clients by not always taking the easy way out and caving into their demands and instead helping them by suggesting the right way to present information. It might feel scary/risky saying that you disagree with a clients demands, but as long as you ensure that you do it tactfully and by making sure you back up your opinion with reasoning and logic, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised about the reactions you’ll get, as many clients will find it easier to respect your decision making and opinion if what you’re telling them is something you can stand behind, support and feel confident about.