We all have had troublesome Web design clients. Clients who drive us a little nuts by making bad decisions and choosing poor projects, just to name a few.
But Paul Boag, co-founder of design and development firm Headscape, says having an attitude that clients will be tolerated for the sole purpose of keeping the money flowing in to pay bills while you to dig into your passion projects, or build your apps on the side, is a wrong attitude.
In his book, “Client Centric Web Design,” Boag broke down the successful contractor-client relationship to three principles:
- We provide a service. Sending clients away happy is a fundamental part of our job. Building websites designed to our liking is not part of our job.
- The client has to be involved: The client is essential for creating a successful website. They’re not an obstacle to overcome.
- It’s about the client, not the user: User-centric design exists only to serve client-centric design. Boag knows that many may think this is a ridiculous thing to claim. While he recognizes that users are massively important, they really are only important in what they bring to the business. If they don’t bring benefit to the business, then they’re not valuable, so therefore the client is more important.
Boag continued to summarize his book’s findings in his presentation “Happier Clients, Better Websites, and Job Satisfaction” at the Future Insights Live conference in Las Vegas.
While Boag works for a design firm, and his presentation was targeted towards designers, I found his advice to be universal for anyone dealing with clients.Watch the video where I ask Boag, “How do you dig yourself out of a bad client relationship?”
Never ask the client, “What do you think?”
Boag’s final advice is to never ask an open-ended non-directed question such as “What do you think?” Instead, Boag recommends you ask structured questions, such as “Do you believe the site is filling objectives?” or “Do you think the site will achieve the goals of the user?” or “Are we fulfilling the model of the wireframe?”
Are you like Boag? Is your work client-centric or do you have an adversarial relationship with your clients?
- Client Centric Web Design [Paul Boag]