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Anatomy of a Web Design Client

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Anatomy of a Web Design Client

We've all dealt with the typical web design client. At Top Web Design Schools, we thought it would be fun to take a tongue-in-cheek look at the people who pay the bills: the customers who drive us crazy.

Every business needs a website if they want to remain relevant which is why, in today's Internet drive world, the skill of web design and development is highly coveted. Of course, with this skill comes clients, which can be a great thing for one's pocket book, but not always the best for one's sanity.

Here's how we perceive the world of web design clients:

50% of web design clients only know what they don't want, and they don't know what that is until you design it for them.

100% of Clients Will Talk Like This:

  • I Love This! But my business partner feels like the entire color palette needs to change. That's easy though right? - Important note: He doesn't have a business partner. The mythical business partner allows any client to play good cop AND bad cop!
  • Make it POP!
  • I want something I can edit myself, but Wordpress is too hard to use
  • These colors are kind of drab and boring. i realized we picked them but still.
  • I love this, but can you give this section a bit more flare and pizazz?

20% of Clients Will Be This Guy:

  • Day 1: You've landed the client and everyone is excited
  • Day 2: The client pays you 50% upfront & signs a contract agreeing to the scope of the project and deadlines - Don't start anything until this happens!
  • Day 3: You've sent the client 3 mockups, one of which you know is the best and one that is pretty awful but you promised 3 mockups so you rushed to create a 3rd
  • Day 4: The client picks the mockup you hate
  • Day 7: You have a proof page coded
  • Day 10: Yes, the client took 3 days to respond, despite agreeing to give you feedback right away. The client LOVES it and wants only a few changes which he'll send tomorrow
  • Day 11: The client sends 10 pages of changes!
  • Day 15: You send all the changes and essentially a completely different design
  • Day 20: The client spent the weekend with friends and showed them your design. All of the friends chimed in and now the client hates the design and wants to start over.
  • Day 21: You tell the client that, to start over, he needs to pay more than your original quote, since your original quote was for the design he agreed on
  • Day 30: The client finally responds and is willing to pay 1/2 of your new quote only. You remind him of the contract he signed.
  • Day 35: The client has avoided you for 5 days and is finally ready to restart the project. This cycle begins again.

5% of Clients Will Be This Guy:

  • Day 1: The client sends you 20 websites they love to help guide you
  • Day 3: You send 3 mockups, all of which look exactly like the websites they love
  • Day 5: The client hates all of the mockups and decides to look for another web designer.

Rules to Protect Yourself:

While not all clients are bad, you should always protect yourself in the following ways:

  • Always get 50% upfront
  • Make the client sign a contract that states specific dates and deliverables for her as well as for you
  • Send the client wireframes before doing a mockup
  • Have the client send you examples of websites they like, detailing exactly what they like
  • Have them do the same for websites they don't like
  • Get any branding guidelines up front
  • Create 3 design mockups for them to choose from based on the info gathered from 3-6.
  • Once the client has agreed to a design, make them sign another contract stating they have agreed to the exact design and will pay a set hourly rate if they sway from that design.
  • Keep all the files on your own proof server NOT THEIRS
  • Do not put the files up on their server until they've paid you the remaining 50% of what they owe you