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  1. #1
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    and associates. I started the website design for a musician and her band. I gave them a prototype for them to look at and I asked at least two times "is this what you're looking for?" Except for a few minor changes, we all agreed on the look of the site. Now in October, I recieve an email and the musician consulted with her friends and other musicians and THEY (including the client) agreed that I needed to change it. After all that hard work!

    But I also think that I'm working in a vaccuum, because (1) I am not doing the work at the musician's studio and I feel I didn't communicate enough with the client on the "design" because I thought things were OK. Instead whenever we talked it was about what type of material (photos, sound files, text) could be added to the site.
    As for her critique associates, I don't know them at all and I haven't heard from them directly on THEIR opinions. Why? Because I relied on my client's own opinion. That's the way it's supposed to be, right? Too many hands in a project can cause confusion when half of the people involved like the design when the other half doesn't.

    Designers, how do you handle this situation?
    Do you actually sit down with a client, and a client's professional critiquer for a scheduled review process? Or do you let the client call up her friends, and fellow musicians asking them "what do you think of the website?"
    I'm willing to compromise but at the same time I want to challenge this.

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  3. #2
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    this question deals with client/designer conflicts.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Jack000's Avatar
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    in the future set a firm contract with a specific timeline - when the layout should be finished, and when the site should be online. This might seem restrictive but it will make sure that you don't spend too much time on the project.

    Let them know that once the layout is done, it's done - and further revisions will incur extra charges. Both parties should completely understand the scope of the project before you start doing any work.

  5. #4
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    what about the client review process? I really think I should put in the contract that only the client and/or a professional design critiquer should review the site.
    I know what type of associates the client has and I'm quite sure none of them know the difference between what's good and what's not.

  6. #5
    Senior Member planetgman's Avatar
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    First, did you have a contract in place? If so, revert to the terms of that (this should be covered in your contract).
    If not, you don't have much recourse.
    Also, the client doesn't have a "professional critiquer". There is no such thing.........it is just someone throwing their 2 cents in (and believe me, that is all it is worth)......however, you will be paying a lot more than 2 cents when it comes to having to redesign the site.
    Your best bet is to set up a meeting with ALL of the people involved in the "decision making" process and come up with a final draft on the site and what they want.
    At that point, you then PUT IT IN WRITING and you deliver on those terms. If they are changed, then have terms in there to charge them for your time.
    Based on your question, it looks like you will be learning a valuable lesson for the future.
    You said you consulted the musician AND her band and then they came back and said they didn't like it (after her stating she liked it). The problem is you should have got feedback and input from the whole band (it is their website too).
    As for having too many people give you feedback, if they are all involved in the decision making process, then there is no such thing as too many people. You will have to accomodate them and incorporate the look, feel and style of the site they all want. It is easy to do, if they are part of the decision making process. Even if you think 1/2 of them won't like the design, that is just assuming on your part. You have to get ALL of their feedback, to be able to resolve the issue.
    As for the critiquers contacting you.......you said it yourself, you don't know them. They don't need to contact you, they have no reason to. They are giving feedback to the person who solicited their opinion.
    It is up to you to go back and see where the issue lies.
    If you challenge this, be prepared to lose. It never benefits you to challenge something without exhausting all avenues and resources. You appear to not have done this at this point.
    So, you need to go back and set up a meeting for everyone and set the expectation at the beginning of the meeting that the site's look and feel will be resolved before the end of the meeting (without alienating or upseting anyone).
    Don't be upset with someone getting feedback on a site and then having their friends or associates tell them they don't like it........then come back to you and tell you they want to change it.
    If you had a contract in place, you should have planned for this and can charge them accordingly. If not, well like I said.....lesson learned.
    Good luck.....
    GMan

  7. #6
    Senior Member planetgman's Avatar
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    Quit using the term professional critiquer if you know they aren't. If you feel the need to put in in there, go ahead.
    But tell me......What qualifies someone to be a professional critiquer?
    And how exactly do you put that in a contract?

    If you want to put that kind of thing in your contract, then you should have it where the "decision makers" will sign the contract.....and not worry about other opinions or outsiders giving their opinion on your work.
    The reality is that it is the person who signed the contract...period. If someone from the outside gets involved, the decision maker is the one to pay for it.
    GMan

  8. #7
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    A solid review process is critical to the professional designer. Here's the standard I'm used to:

    1. Create 2-3 variations for the client to review with perhaps a couple of different color/photo variations in those.
    2. Schedule a call, email session, basically a time for client to review. If possible, have them on the phone and go through each comp talking over the details. Tell them why you did what, and what they think of it.
    3. Have client chose one direction, and produce changes according to their tastes.
    4. Schedule a review. Repeat #3 and 4 a couple of times until they are happy with the design.
    5. Have the client sign off on the final design
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
    The blog | The poetry site | The Spore site

  9. #8
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    This is great! because you get to learn that this is a 'people' business. You have to be a sales'person' as well as the designer.

    Unfortunately, everyone is different. And although you can set timelines and guidlines and rules. There are loopholes. Unless you have the money in your hands, you are not getting paid for your work. Even if you do get the money, you can get an unhappy customer or a lawsuit on your hands.

    So this is always difficult and you will have to learn more about your clients.

    1) always be professional
    2) Now you can ask people if they have friends, family, or clients that they will be showing, before you start another project.
    3) It is always good to 'agree with everything the client says.' Unless under a verbal or contractual agreement, everything is game.

    I would tell the client that it is great that they actually got feedback. You should then discuss it with her. Go over which changes she would like. Also give your suggestions. You are the designer; tell her what works and what doesn't. Then let her know that it will cost extra if it does. "These are great ideas, if you would like to implement it, then it will cost an additional x amount of dollars and take x amount of time."

    If she says yes, then you just made more money. Always upsell!

    If she complains about the money you have to give her an alternative/options.

    "If you don't think you can afford it, then I think we should go ahead and go with the site that WE agreed upon" This will give you a chance to get feedback from your users and you will not have to spend more money."

    It is not her associates that matter, it is the people that it is intended for; her audience. And they cannot give feedback without something to review. Usually your client will understand BECAUSE IT MAKES SENSE.

    If she still complains, then you will just have to be honest. Honesty always wins. Don't be afraid if it means saying no. "To be honest, I cannot afford to do "free work" otherwise I would have gone out of business. Based on our agreement, the site is almost completed. I can make monor changes, but based on the changes we discuss, my time will go well over your budget."

    Never end with a complaint. Close the sale again!

    "So would you like to see how well the site does with your audience first? Then we can go over any new changes later, because you need real feedbck before you spend anymore time and money. You ready to do that?"

    Don't do anymore design work. Do more client work. Educate your client. Why waste your time doing more work that may not even make the site much better.

    Hopefully this helps. If you need to get more ideas, let me know.

  10. #9
    Senior Member extreavirgin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamestcs
    My opinions are :

    1) Upon confirm, sign an agreement for confirmation of prototype.

    2) Progress review is necessary if you are developing a big website

    3)What ever changes related to "structure change" (design looks and feel, template, etc) , is chargable.

    Then you will be less in trouble, otherwise, customers often like to change their mind if you do not set a firm agreement.

    __________________
    James Tan
    Malaysia Manufacturer and Supplier

    I so agree with you... some clients though are making asking too much revisions and additional features during the project thus prolonging the time frame... Sometimes, I am comfortable in closing deals with clients who are most interested in hiring a full time Programmer or Designer... (this is imo only but of course you are entitled to yours)
    http://WICKEDINNOVATIONS .com
    Website | Graphic | Programming | SEO | Data Entry

  11. #10
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    I have this problem with a few of my sites occassionally.

    Normally everything goes as planned, but you do get those who just keep coming back for changes to this and that. I try to accommodate them as much as possible and be flexible as that's what gets me business, but at some point you have to say enough is enough, and if they want changes, they have to pay extra for them.

    Out of interest does anyone have, or could point me in the right direction to a 'web contract' that I can modify for my own use.
    Paul Creedy
    Visit my community site at: www.rhonddacynontaff.com
    My hosting: www.rcthosting.com
    My Content Management product: www.dynamiccontenteditor.com


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