On My Own

A Personal Journal
by Davood Denavi

Clients Should Understand Their Obligations

Yesterday I offered readers and visitors the opportunity to ask questions. This week I will answer the top three questions mixed in with a couple other topics.

I am going to start with a question from Paul Taubmen, who actually asked two. I am answering my favorite of those two questions today and the other one later this week.

Who is the best client you enjoy working with?

This may seem like an easy question to answer. However, it is not because I enjoy developing websites of all sorts. I only enjoy designing and developing websites for clients who understand what their obligations are in order for me to get the work done.

When a client is having a developer build their website from scratch the client required to approve wireframes as part of the first phase or pick a design from a library of designs. When they are picking from a library of designs to speed the project up there might be times where the client likes parts of two or three designs. In those cases as long as they tell the developer what they like the developer needs to be able to mix and match all of those parts.

There are also the times where you have a client who gets overwhelmed by the design library and says something to the effect of, “I expected you to do some research and design something for me based on my competitors.” These clients are the hardest to work with and I try to stay as far away from them as possible unless they were referred to me by a long time client.

Clients are also obligated to provide the content for their website. For instance, if you are building a new e-commerce website for someone who wants to stop using a platform that is specific to their industry then they are required to provide you an export of their product list so that you can import it into the website you are building for them. Where they get that product list from does not matter as long as they provide it to you as the developer.

If the platform such as Ebay or Etsy they are moving away from provides a way to get that product list in the form of a spreadsheet it is okay for them to give you their login info to get it. That assumes the platforms export feature is working though. Therefore, if the platform they are moving away from does not have a working export feature it is their job to find someone to do the data entry within a budget they are willing to pay or do the data entry themselves.

The data entry is never the job of the developer in any capacity and the developer should never be responsible for creating a spreadsheet with the products or acting as the middle man between the client and the contractor doing the data entry.

Lastly, the client is always obligated to give feedback on the work that has been done. In saying that, they should not be telling the developer how to do what they are an expert at doing. No, they should be telling the developer what changes they want to see made to approve the work move to the next phase of the project or launch the website.

4 Responses

  1. When it comes to websites, the client definitely has many obligations! I don’t quite get how anyone can think otherwise, I mean, it’s their website. I know how hard it can be to put one’s own vision into words though, so I guess that’s where the problems arise!

    1. Yes, Joanna. That is one place where the problems can arise. Also, not focusing in meetings can lead to miscommunication or bad communication and cause a website to never get built.

  2. It is helpful, whatever the field, when clients come in with curiosity and awareness!
    As a massage therapist, it helps when the client can identify if they simply desire relaxation, or if a few spots need more attention.

    I designed our first website, focusing on Who, what, when, where and prices, and which served us for a decade.
    My coworker fell for hype about formatting for cell phones, and ‘needing’ their service … and went with a company that was slow to update (and I didn’t have access to edit 😢 )… they chose a poorly draped ‘spa’ setting main photo – we share space with a doctor, and don’t offer spa treatments! We eventually dropped it altogether!

    1. Everything Nadya said about designing her first website plays into what made me answer Paul’s question from yesterday. I’ve had a few clients in the last two years where the deal fell apart because they were so focused on SEO for their business when they had no website.

      Without a website SEO does not matter. I do not care if you are using another platform or not… SEO is not going to mean anything if you do not have a website that uses your domain for the pages of the website. Some platforms do not let you use your own domain for the website therefore making the SEO help their website not yours.