Smashing Magazine Missed the Mark
We at Wagger Designs read a lot of Smashing Magazine to keep up with the comings and goings in the business we work in. But, when Jake brought this article to my attention – How To Convince The Client That Your Design Is Perfect → by Robert Bowen – I was absolutely flabbergasted.
Mr Bowen seems to have forgotten that no one person or web design is ever perfect. Having been face to face with a perfect designer presenting a single perfect design, I am certain perfection, in an objective industry such as web design, is always in the eyes of the beholder. Nothing exudes inexperience like a web designer attempting to convince a customer that something that feels so wrong to the customer is right because the designer believes it is.
The first image caption in this article says “We have to be the lighthouse, guiding the clients to shore” under a picture of a lighthouse. My first thought was someone should let Mr Bowen know that his “perfect” design for the Lighthouse Manufacturers Association of New England was rejected by the customers because he failed to understand the core responsibility of lighthouses. Lighthouses do not guide ships to shore; they actually guide captains away from shore to avoid the rick rack that could cause trauma to their boats. While of course there is no Lighthouse Manufacturers Association of New England and I am sure Mr Bowen would have researched the purpose of a lighthouse had he done such a project, if one existed but this does point to the heart and soul of this article:
The website designer should defend a design that s/he sees as perfect because they know more than the client does.
Consulting 101 fail; this mentality is the reason why the movie Office Space was so successful with the concept of the dreaded “consultants.” And furthermore, why clients inherently feel so defensive of their ideas with consultants. Given the array of options a client has when choosing a web design and development firm in the Northern Virginia DC Metropolitan area, asserting personal perfection seems like a good way to decrease the number of clients you have.
Perhaps it is only our job to fill the gaps the customer’s expertise are unable to fill instead of assuming our outside view of their business process gains us more insight then they have from the inside?