I always find it interesting as a web designer to note the vast differences between clients, not just in terms of personality and culture, but in terms of responsiveness, urgency, concern and adaptability. Of course, any competent web designer must have the latter in abundance. Clients are known to change ideas, targets and opinions often; and why not, it’s their business and if a web designer is providing a service, he or she is expected to be able to change what they are willing to deliver.
From my experience, there are two distinct ends of the spectrum. There are the clients who are very businesslike; they use phrases like ‘please advise’ and ‘going forwards’. These are the kind of clients who will probably set out a very structured specification and that is exactly what they want you to deliver. They have high expectations in terms of turnaround- and- although not necessarily quick to provide responses and feedback, they definitely expect you to be on the ball as you are providing the service.
On the other side of the fence are the more casual, homely clients. Probably the owner of a local business and a bit more outgoing. I have had experiences where I’ve been invited in to meet the family and such, good stuff – as long as it doesn’t get too cosy!
The real test of a web designer is when things don’t go to plan. The client rejects a design, has a new idea, decides they want something extra – the list goes on. This is really when a web designer earns their money. The client isn’t an expert, you are and they are literally thinking about what is best for their business. What may seem a quick list of simple requests to them may in actual fact turn out to be ridiculously hard. But this isn’t the time to throw a strop or begin to cut corners. It’s a time to realise that a good client relationship is one where the client knows that the web designer can fulfill all their of requirements. The funny thing is, the clients which love you and recommend you the most are exactly these sort of clients.