Web Design Doesn’t Matter

Last Friday, I fired a new client. Today, I wonder if it’s time to ignore the finer points of web design and development that 20+ years of experience and continuing education have taught me.

Not important

I know. This isn’t a topic I’m supposed to talk about. It makes me look like I’m hard to work with. But the truth is, I do everything possible to satisfy my clients and consider it a blessing to serve them, no matter who they are.

But the challenges facing web designers today are as difficult to overcome as those our clients face when trying to hire the right contractor. After all, who can they trust?

Apparently, no one.

Need a good website? Get one for free, today, our clients are told. Website broken? Get it fixed for $5 by tomorrow morning. Want more traffic? Game Google and you’ll rise to the top. All this fancy talk about “information architecture”, “user personas”, “the user experience”, and “usability”? These are just fancy words designers use to charge you more and extend the deadline.

No, not really.

Remember Healthcare.gov? This site had more traffic than it could stand. But the experience visitors had was among the worst, and it serves as a perfect illustration of what bad design, bad development, and yes, a bad client are capable of doing.

Sometimes, you just have to let them go.

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  1. Jacqueline Sinex

    Tommy, thank you for posting this. Your simple example of the Healthcare.gov site is on point. We struggle with the same problem because of market saturation with so many free and cheap offers, but I am also seeing more clients come to us who were burned by those already.

  2. Richard Carter

    You’re not alone. We say no whenever it’s not a fit, either way.
    There are some that can be educated; and granted, they are for the most part, not in the biz, and can only go by what they have seen. When we get the drift that they don’t see the difference between what we do and that someone in India or China is going to do for them, it’s time to say, “Thanks for you time”, and go on to the next one. We now carry a comparative list and explain it point-by-point. It takes five minutes. We also pick out a couple of response on LinkedIn of response from devs in India and point-blank ask them, “How long are you going to put up with this?” Or, “Do you really think they are going to understand you, or you them, each and every time you have a problem? And you will have problems…”

    We certainly no longer fly to clients because of these issues. We Skype the first contacts, and go from there.

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