Woe Is I
You hired someone to make your new website, but things have gone so badly, and your site is either unfinished or awful. What happened?
As in any profession, web developers and designers may be deficient. Examples:
- They might simply not have the skills they need, or they’re inexperienced and don’t even know what skills are required. Worse, they may have lied about their qualifications to get the job.
- They may have booked too much work at once, so they take forever or mysteriously disappear.
- They don’t communicate well, so you never know what’s going on. They might not respond when you ask a question or make a request.
- They may do something that is not what you requested, or that even contradicts your request.
- Their personalities may not be to your liking.
- They may present you with a huge bill with no advance warning of the costs involved.
- They may be dishonest crooks who like to take your deposit and then vanish.
That’s awful, and I sympathize. Yet, as hard as it may be to accept, none of us are flawless, and it’s just possible that we, as clients, share some of the responsibility for projects gone awry.
I Beg to Defer
- I may have chosen the first developer/designer I saw.
- I made cheapness the highest priority, not quality. [This is very widespread]
- My developer made lots of suggestions, and I ignored every one of them. [In my experience, this is incredibly common, almost universal] I may have an alpha personality and won’t take advice, or my budget just can’t handle anything else.
- I gave them very vague requests/specs such as “The site looks terrible” and “Can you make it pop more?” I also expect the web person to read my mind, and to fully interpret the 1-liners I send from my phone.
- I may have an abrasive personality. That can’t be true, can it?
- I had a lot of work done on my site, and I didn’t pay for it.
- I had no idea what I actually wanted on the site when the project started. [This is huge] Alternatively, I may have exact ideas in my mind, but I can’t convey that idea to somebody else and I don’t know what things are called.
You will have noticed that some of these are just the flipside of items on the first list. A lot of it boils down to lack of communication, which can kill any type of project. Other things may be caused by having no budget – simple poverty, or just cheapness.
These examples are pretty extreme, but milder variations of each can (and do) happen in projects all the time. To coin a phrase, it takes two to tango, and if we communicate well, issues that come up can usually be resolved, even if some of the stuff above is going on. In my years of experience, I frequently meet people who have a horror story like the above, and they hope that I’ll come to the rescue. The tale is usually one-sided, seen only from one point of view – that’s human nature. As I get to know the person, I may find that it is indeed an innocent party vs. an injured party, but it’s usually more complex than that. Something to think about.
If you have any tales of woe, or even success, feel free to share them!