You’re about to enter into a game of Top Trumps in which you’re woefully outgunned in every department.

Here’s why you should sometimes take a more pragmatic view on how you work with particular clients.

I’ve seen a few articles flying around suggesting that the client isn’t always right. It’s a worthy notion and I agree with a number of points about how you should try to educate a client and provide a solution that works for everyone. However, as I’m sure a number of people reading will have experienced, the client holds the ultimate power and is much like that top trumps card you know is in your opponents hand that will beat anything you have.

It starts well enough

You’ve got the detailed project brief and scope document, you’ve supplied the wireframes, you’ve explained the benefits of a well structured and thought out site and how it would be great if we all worked to a streamlined process to meet deadlines, budget and objectives and I’m guessing like most diligent designers and developers, you do everything to try and adhere to best practice.

Sometimes though, there’s a big spanner in the works – it’s almost always the client.

The rogue client who’s better than you

The latest design meeting wasn't even well attended

la la la la … add this, change that … la la la b .. b .. but

You can’t help it, if you work in the “creative industry” long enough you’ll come across a  client who, it turns out is a better designer or developer than you.

They’re the one who can amazingly send you mockups they’ve done in Word or can estimate how long a bit of functionality will take to code (clue – it’s always 5 minutes).

I’ve worked on a wide range of projects from little one person companies who want something simple just to promote their service to big international companies selling millions of pounds worth of products a month and I’ve always tried to discuss with the client how my background and experience would lead me to recommend a course of action different to their suggested route but sometimes, just sometimes, you can’t win.

Remember that top trumps thing – they have a greater top speed, more horsepower, higher value, more wheels – in short, they have the “I’m paying you, I’m choosing to ignore your best advice so do it” line.

It’s their decision in the end – Not yours

I write this blog from a less ideallistic point of view than others you might read and as such, the advice is based on my experience and background and a more pragmatic sense of getting the job done. In some cases you will run into a client who simply won’t listen to a word you say.
This is roughly how design by commitee works
You’ll take on the client for any one of a number of reasons – normally money – and you’ll try to work with them.

They will ignore everything, you may not end up with something for the portfolio but you can still remain professional and offer your expert opinions and try to work to best practice but ultimately if they decide to ignore all that, they’re not wrong – it’s their decision, not yours.

I’d be interested to hear other people’s opinions on this, it’s easy to push the “client education” line but it simply doesn’t work 100% of the time so what do you do when someone doesn’t respond to logic, budget burn or any sort of sensible opinion presented that isn’t their own? Answers in the comments or via @welcomebrand if you prefer.

* Pics from Google Image search.

James Young

Written by James Young

I'm always looking for interesting work opportunities, if you'd like to work together please get in touch.

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