When Designer and Customer Clash

No, this isn’t the new replacement for “Shark Week” on Discovery Channel.   In my 20+ years of being in application development and website design I have worked with customers of all types.  Some customers just want to know when it is going to be done and want nothing to do with the design itself.  Other customers want to be intimately involved in every aspect of the design process.  There is no right or wrong with either, of course.

Where it gets interesting is when the customer and the designer have a differing opinion on something.  The customer is always right (duh!) but as an IT professional and their advocate it is my duty to express to the customer that maybe something else would look or work better.   While I can’t succeed if my customer can’t succeed I also have a direct interest in the result.  One of the things that I tell my customers in our first meeting is that my goal is not just their satisfaction.  I need to make an awesome site so that other customers will see “Powered by Grand Island Design” at the bottom of the site and want to work with me.

Truth be told there have been times that I’ve walked away a little frustrated.  After many occasions  something kind of magical happened:  when I saw the finished work I realized that the customer was right after all and that their idea looked/worked better.  It reminds me of something Christopher Hitchens once said:

Picture all experts as if they were mammals.

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