How to Be a Better Client: We Only Want it All

Do you know that behind every button, menu, and user screen on your (insert any) app/webpage is, usually at minimum, two people: a UX designer and developer/programmer who probably have many multiple combined years of experience, education, and expertise?

Think about your basic messaging app: Your image, and the image of your partner-in-chat may show up in a little circle, the conversation bubbles sporting a soft curve on the corners, maybe even a little “shine” graphic or drop shadow that makes it look three dimensional. There are icons that denote menus, options, settings, and everything else. The main screen that shows a list of your messages looks different across different messaging programs. Perhaps you have the ability to set an alarm  or custom noise for a specific person or persons. Maybe there’s a pop-up screen that allows you to choose multiple recipients. What does that pop up screen look like? What does the list look like? What font is chosen, and in what color is that font? What color is the background? Is it easy to read? Intuitive interface so you always know what’s where and how to get to x option?

All of that – ALL OF IT – has been designed and programmed. Someone sat down and said, “This is what I would like every screen to look like. I have written a style guide for my development team. I know how to communicate what I want because this is the language I have been speaking in the scope of career for the past decade.” That’s then handed off to a programmer, who is a separate person or persons who have taken the time and effort to learn the language and logic behind what is required to make that application run, and hopefully run smoothly enough that you don’t even have to think about it.

It’s interesting, in dealing with clients and their websites, how attaching a price tag to something they consider “super vital, we can’t live without it” makes a feature, after all, maybe not so important.

Even though it seems easy to do, since the end result might “only” be a popup, checkbox, or message…it’s not magic. Developers and designers spend real time and do real work to program, design, and implement those customizations.

And if you’re asking for these things and don’t agree with the price, please don’t ever say, “but all we want” – “but we’re just asking for”…as if I don’t understand the parameters of your request. I literally will never say, “Oh, that’s all? Now that you’ve explained how easy it will be for me, I will give you that huge customization for free.”

A client’s insistence on how easy it will be to implement a customization often leaves me feeling rather inclined to charge them much more than I normally would. Not with any malice whatsoever, of course; it’s simply the cost of having to put up with their relentless bullshit, because it eats up my time and it’s disrespectful. A restitution fee, if you will.

I am not complaining; this is part of my job. I just want you to know how to be the best client you can be. After all, I’m expected to do my best and be professional at all times.

It’s going to be a much better process for both of us when we cultivate a healthy, mutually respectful, collaborative relationship, instead of one in which you’re constantly telling me what’s easy for me to do and how, since it’s so easy, I should just go ahead and implement your ideas immediately.

Especially if you’re not willing to talk about that price tag.


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