Web design is one of the few careers I know of where the client dictates so much of a project’s end result. On the one hand, it’s great to allow copious client input and really tailor the process to fit their preferences. At the same time, hiring a web firm should not require the client to be or become an internet guru.
I think one issue is the lack of profession separation. In most cases, it is safe to assume these two things about the client:
- Their profession is not in web work, otherwise they would have made their own site.
- They are succeeding in their non-web career. If not, then they probably wouldn’t have been shopping for a website in the first place. Most people in an active profession have their own job related tasks to think about and do not have time to educate themselves about web design.
One practical solution would be for potential clients to fill out a simple questionnaire, or something similar, describing their company and product. From there, a trust is given to the chosen web firm to accurately determine, analyze, and meet the client’s specific needs.
There is a stretch of road on the way to my internship that has undergone construction all summer long. Essentially, the road is being maintained for the public automobile operator, the same person who has no say in how the job is ran. It would make little sense for a local citizen to roll down their window and lend advice because that is not their job or area of expertise. We, the daily drivers, trust that the road crews know what they’re doing and simply use the product, no questions asked.
I don’t see why web design should be very different. Let the designers and developers use their years of training to do what they’re good at. After a client supplies the proper information such as company description, style, budget, etc., a good web firm should be able to create a sensible website solution. Imagine a world without pointless flash intros or pixelated photos that the client just knew they had to have.
Bottomline: a lot of clients don’t want to be web experts just to get a site. Explain the company details, pay the fee, get a site designed for your needs. Simple.