Is The Client Always Right? No, No, No

“Will I be allowed by the lion tamer to play with the nice kitty cat?”

The question I’ve asked here a number of times - is the money always right? Is economic common sense a fair partner with technical expertise? Or more simply - do you produce crap when the client obviously has no idea about this stuff.

Some analogies. If I go with our car to the mechanic and insist that its the distributor even though he knows its something else - will he agree its the distributor and let me back on the road with bad brakes?

If I go to the circus and insist I’ve paid my 20 dollars so the lions won’t eat me will I be allowed by the lion tamer to play with the nice kitty cat?

If I employ an electrician to work on our house and I tell him not to worry about insulation - well what do you reckon?

OK these are semi-ridiculous and somewhat fictional examples but I’m hoping to make a point. Do you have technical expertise? Do you understand search engine optimisation? Information architecture? User behaviour? Design trends? Semantics? Web standards? Databases? Programming languages?

The fact is that if you’re employed in a professional capacity a large part of your moral obligation to any client is to try to provide them with the best product possible for them. If they insist on some animated gif of two swallows doing circles at either end of the site name then say NO THE FRIGGIN’ WAY DUDE.

Now I know the business people and the survivalist small business owners just broke a nail hitting the keyboard to email me hate messages - the client has the money, we need the money, we prostitute ourselves every single day as web technologists to exchange our skillset for money. Family must eat, car requires petrol, children wear clothes. And I get that I really do.

But if you really expect the client to understand web technologies and web development simply because of a few thousand bucks in their pocket then why didn’t it work for you? Why did you have to study and labour away the early morning hours to get this smart at this stuff? What you’re saying is you aren’t worth it and that these skillsets are meaningless. Dumb grunt work. If you don’t believe in your value why would the client?

I think the client has a major input into the design and development process and as financer of the whole shebang they have the fingers on the scope of what can be achieved. But don’t let them believe they understand your side of the business. Be the electrician and tell them you have some professional integrity.

Because lets face it if you’re not doing the best you can for your client you aren’t a professional regardless of your income.

As a small disclaimer here you need to also weigh up the small battles from the larger ones. Realistically some things are more important than others. But when someone is telling you how to achieve technical or design solutions you maybe want to be asking for their qualifications.

[Nobody expects every developer to know every thing but when you do less than you can then you’re doing less than your client deserves - some food for thought]

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