All great designs need a certain degree of understanding between the designer and the client. Many a times the understanding is either lacking or does not exist at all. Even though a web design company may do its best to evaluate potential clients before taking them on, however, there are always instances when the relationship can go wrong. There are many checks and balances that a design company may take as a precaution to avoid such nasty instances, but whatever you do, there will be instances when there is disagreement and confrontations. For example, a design company must make sure that the design contract is discussed, understood and signed before taking on the prospective client. But would you really like to take the legal route in case of a dispute, or would you rather come to some sort of compromise and move on. After all, you have to evaluate what you stand to gain and loose out of it. Then you may say, what was the purpose of the contract in the first place? A contract is important, however, you may be surprised to know how many clients do not take the contract seriously at all, they take it as a mere formality and nothing else.
So I am going to jot down a few types of trouble clients and their annoying habits that a web designer may come across.
1. Wanting Too Much For Too Little.
The worst and the most frequent ones are where the client has a very low budget but wants everything included. They can be usually identified during initial stages of contact, and fortunately avoided. However, many a times, you may not be able to read the signs properly and take them on as clients. That is when the problem starts. I feel it is usually because the client does not fully understand the value of the work you do. They are of the opinion that they are paying too much and getting too less and that the job could have been done by anybody with some knowledge of Photoshop. So to get the maximum value for money, they want everything included. We have had prospective clients wanting to have websites similar to Facebook and Twitter for a mere few thousand dollars.
2. Designer Clients
These are clients who have some knowledge of Photoshop and consider themselves as designers. They would want to dictate to you how every piece of object on the canvas must be placed irrespective of whether it is feasible online on not. They don’t have any idea of the difference between the print and the web media, however, will continue to dictate how they have envisioned the design for their site. They usually will let you come up with the initial designs, then scrap them, and email you their own designs. It would usually be a combination of the designs and functions from the best websites in their industry. They are the type of clients who would want their logo to be 2 pixels bigger; want the background black, then tell you it is too black, try a lighter shade of black. This could end up into an endless cycle of revisions if not stopped in time.
3. Confused Client
The best way to know them is when they show you two totally different types of websites and tell you, “I want something like this.” Before signing them up, you explain to them exactly what it is that you are offering and what all is included and what is not. They will tell you they understand and you start the project happily. The moment you show them the initial design, they tell you how disappointed they are with the designs and that it is nowhere near to their requirement. They almost always don’t know what is wrong with the design or how it could be made better. They would probably say something like, “Design is very important to us, we need something very unique. What is unique about this design?” Whatever you show them, it will never be like how they see it in their mind.
You try to reason with the client telling them that they should not look at the website from a personal point of view; that they should leave their personal bias aside; the website is for the end user, after all they are the ones for whom the site should be built! It is important the end user likes the site; however, all this would just fall on deaf ears. Then they would start demanding features that were never included in the project. These types of clients are just confused and don’t know what they want and therefore, obviously cannot tell you what is wrong with any of the designs you show them.
4. Requiring Mock Up Designs Prior To Awarding Projects
You should never ever agree to design mock ups for clients before the project has been approved or initial deposit paid to you. Whenever a client asks you to design for free, it usually means that he does not trust your work and thinks that you have enough free time to work for free. These type of clients believe that they are doing you are favor by giving you work. You will be doing yourself a favor by avoiding them.
It is almost impossible to deal with such clients and the best suggestion I have is to avoid them from the beginning as it becomes difficult to get out of a contract in the middle of a project. One may feel tempted to take them on as clients, however, later on you may feel that you lost more than you gained in the process. Fortunately for us, majority of our clients do not fall into the above categories and usually we enjoy a healthy working relationship with them.