How To Explain To Web Design Clients That They Are Wrong
Music on page load, Flash intro, no white space, etc.
Sometimes, you just know the client’s requests for the web design project are wrong but you do not know how to convey to them.
Is The Client Really Wrong?
Before accusing the client that they are wrong, you need to ask yourself, “is the client really wrong to begin with?”
Just because you do not approve their way of thinking doesn’t always mean it is not the right direction to take for the website. Sometimes, we, as designers, are blinded by our ego and believe whatever we do are the best direction to take for the website. However, we cannot deny that the client probably knows a lot more about their target audience than we do.
You need to first ask why the client is making such a request and the rationale behind it. It could be that the client has spoken to many people in his or her target audience and the feedback is that they prefer an animated Flash banner than a static one. Once you get the driver behind the client’s request, you can then suggest alternative solutions that can achieve the same goal but with better implementation.
Keep An Open Mind
Regardless what the client says, you need to keep an open mind all the time. Do not assume that the client is wrong without seeing the evidence. We know, as web designers, we tend to feel excited about the groundbreaking technology or the latest web design trends, but usually the positive feedbacks received are the “standard” boring part of your design. So you should focus on the section that your client is interested in and not what you think your client should be interested in.
You should also refrain from being defensive over your approach and deny all other approaches recommended by the client. Ultimately, we are delivering websites for the client’s target audience and not our peers in the web design community.
Talk Business Terms
One of the problems with designers is that they are able to relate their points in business sense. If you are able to convince the client that your approach is better in a business sense, it will be much easier for the client to agree with you.
For example, a Flash banner may not be the most effective manner to attract the target audience. You should not just say “I think this will not work”, instead you should ask how will this Flash banner benefit their business or generate more quality leads.
Always fall back to the main goals or purpose of the website project. You will be surprised most of the time, the cool features your client wants are not able to connect with the business goals. So next time, just evaluate every request from the client with the project’s goals and your client will also start to see you differently and respect your decision.
Don’t Be Shy To Cite High Profile Clients
The truth is that clients tend to notice when you say you have worked on high-profile company’s website before. You have to let your clients know that you have worked with big brands and, better still, reference your approaches from those big brands project that you did. After all, if big brand like Brand X thought you were good, you must be, right?
While big brand experience might not always be proof of your ability, it usually resonates with clients and make them see you as a more credible.
Back Up Recommendations With Evidence
We can bet that most of the comments the client gave are backed up by what he or she had seen or read before. So, the best way to convince your client is to show him or her that your approach has been implemented before. Evidence can come in a few forms like:
- Blog posts by world-respected web design experts
- Websites with the same approach as what you want to convey.
- Case studies that has implemented the same as client’s change request to show that they are wrong
Trying to talk sense to the client is never easy. It could easily damage a good relationship. But no one is perfect, including us. So before you go ahead and accuse your clients, make sure it is not based on your narrow point of view. If all else fails, you can also consider doing A/B testing to prove to the client that your approach is better.