When our clients come to us with an idea, chances are good they are imagining more than just "a website." Unline other industries, our customers do not come to us and simply say, "One website, please." The products we create are unique, and our clients have expectations for their website before they even meet us. They want it to look a certain way, do certain things, and interact with the user in a certain way.
Every business has its challenges, and Web development is no exception. More often than not, the thing that challenges us is balancing what our clients, their users, and we ourselves want for the sites we create.
Web development is a real balancing act. (Photo by Spring Dew).
Once we get to the bottom of our client's wants and needs, we also have to give consideration to the end user. In some respects, the client may have a much better grasp of what their users want than we do. For example, they might know that their users expect a high level of interactivity and generally have a short attention span. In other cases, we may have the better knowledge of what users expect, especially as it pertains to general Web usability.
Finally, we bring our own desires and preferences to the sites we create. Stated simply, we want the sites we build to be good. However, a certain portion of this judgement is subjective. With many of the design choices that we make, we have to ask ourselves if we are choosing what we would prefer to see, what the client wants to see, or in some cases, what the end user wants to see. It's enough to give someone a multiple personality disorder!
This balancing act can be a challenge. We're wise enough to realize that our clients sometimes know more than we do, but confident enough in our own Web expertise to sometimes trust our judgement. So what's a Web developer to do? Well, there are two ways to proceed. One would be to veto the client when we know we're right. We'll refer to this as the "wrong way." Our second option is to educate our clients when we disagree and create a relationship in which we can learn from each other, working together to create a final product that's best for all parties involved. We'll call this method the "right way." Our goal: Keep doing things the "right way."