Web Designers and Watch Makers

Web designers ply an interesting trade. They are not just required to possess a continually expanding knowledge set, but are also required to educate their clients on the best approach for their website, explain reasons, and, when building a site powered by a content management system, try to ensure that the client carries those approaches through in the long run.

The web designer needs to keep in mind the client’s potential user base, the sort of market they want to capture, the wisest SEO approach, methods to channel users into a call to action and much more. It is a skill set that any good web designer has been honing for a long time, and will continue to improve and alter as long as they work in this area.

The point

The point being, when a client hires a web professional to create their website, the client should have a relatively minor amount of influence on the design process. Why? It is not the client’s skill set.

The analogy

Allow me to make a small analogy.

When you give a watch to be fixed by a watchmaker you don’t stand over his shoulder saying:

Ermmm, I don’t think it’s that cog mate, try the other one.

The proviso

It seems to me that it’s also required of the web designer to find the best way to handle client feedback, to explain in plain English their reasons for complicated choices in the design and function of a website, choices which are being made with a background of years of experience in designing websites, using websites, and researching best practice on ever-evolving technologies.

At the same time it is also necessary for the web designer to listen to the client to glean important information from their experience and skill set – namely how their business works and how to best appeal to their user base. This is something which the client should know intimately.

The exoneration

It might seem that, as I am a web designer, I am venting frustration. I do not see it that way.

I do feel that it is my job to handle client feedback. I must take it on board and, if I feel it will be detrimental to their end product, I must explain my reasons with language that is easy to understand for a non-technical person.

However, I also feel it is worthwhile sharing my little analogy above in the hope that someone might read this and, if they ever require the services of a web designer, might take an extra moment to consider the advice provided during the planning and construction of their new website.

Photo by Sergei Golyshev on Flickr