Why you should listen to your developer even if you have a design in mind
As always, I write my articles based on things that come to mind in my everyday life as a freelancer. This article is no exception. When people look to me to create their website one of two things usually happen. Either the person or company has a design in mind they require me to implement or they have nothing, and they just say things like “I want it to be modern” and maybe just maybe they throw out their buzzword “Oh be sure to make it responsive”.
Let’s look at the situation where the client has a design in mind. In most cases when people say they have a design in mind they mean that they googled a couple of websites that may or may not be from their niche and they want one of two things:
- Duplicate that site exactly and swap out the content with the clients’ content
- Make something like this using the content the client provides
I am a developer that believes in the customer service motto “The client is always right”. Since I share this philosophy I will find a way to satisfy my clients. That said, I consider it my obligation to help the client reach their goals. Sometimes client show me a sample website that is “dated” in terms of the techniques it uses to engage their customers or just the technology used to represent animations and graphics. In that respect I always try explaining a few things to my clients when they request a duplication or similar site. Here is a list of some of the things I try and explain:
- You need to make sure you have the photos/artwork for each specific item at those sizes or at least a larger size. My point here is to explain that a client that wants a similar site to example.com needs to have their own unique artwork and graphics at the same or larger sized assets.
- When thinking about textual content it’s paramount that the content is totally unique and unseen anywhere else on the internet. This talks more to an SEO standpoint but unfortunately there are people out there using content from other websites. Google will penalize you for that in terms of ranking but more importantly as a business you should be able to describe your services and products using your own words
- Assuming points 1 and 2 are covered I usually make sure that clients understand duplicating a site of a well-known cooperation or brand may lead to unwanted legal problems regarding copyright, so I don’t recommend it. Taking some design ideas from multiple sources is fine assuming you put your own spin on them.
- Another big thing with clients I try and discuss is the fact that when I design and develop a site the reason for example I might only add four items in a specific row for example might be because adding all eleven items you as a client may want in that one row might cause issues in terms or responsiveness which basically means that on a smartphone your content may look squashed or on a 15” laptop display you might see four and a half items in that row and the rest automatically wraps to the next line.
There are a million more things I explain which may or may not be in accordance with the latest web standards which I steer my clients away from like flashing text that says, “Click here” like those sites from the 90s.
Mentioning all this had a very specific point to it. You should listen to your developer he/she should be able to ensure your site follows industry standards. If your developer seems to be explaining stuff in a complicated way tell him/her to dumb it down. All developers that make any kind of suggestions should be able to back up and support their claims. If you feel unsure ask for a second opinion there are many of us out there.
If you feel like dropping me a line go ahead at firstname.lastname@example.org