Tagged: clients

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What I learnt today: italian food and customer experience

Every three or four weeks we go to a little Italian shop to buy prosciutto, olives, pasta, different cheeses, focaccia and ciabatta. The owner is an Italian gentleman who has been living in Germany for over thirty years. He only sells products he likes to eat himself and he’s always got some anecdotes to tell about them. It’s unambiguously clear that he really cares about every single item on his shelves.

I just love this little shop. And I really like the experience of buying food there because it’s always funny and educating. Today on our way home, I thought about the unique way the owner is handling his business and if there was anything that I could learn from him in terms of dealing with my clients.

I believe on a certain level it doesn’t matter if you’re selling prosciutto, cars or websites. If you care about your product, people will pick up on that. Clients want to be involved, delighted and on a more fundamental basis simply be talked to. That’s what I learnt today.

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What I learnt today: small changes

Today I got an email from a client asking me to make small changes to their websites main navigation. What seemed to be a minor issue to the client turned out to be a rather fundamental change in their site’s structure.

I think very often clients don’t recognise how much effort we have to put into things they consider small. And who can blame them? After all it’s not their field of expertise. I guess it’s our responsibility to educate them and help them gain a better understanding of how things work on the web.

Maybe it’s worth working on site with a client in the same office throughout an entire project. I actually would really love to do that one day. At least that’s what I learnt today.

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What I learnt today: presenting responsive prototypes

Today I wanted to go over a prototype I’ve been working on with a client. Normally I prefer doing that in person but today was more like a quick status update and arranging a meeting would have been a bit too much. Instead I decided to pick up the phone.

The thing is: if I show a prototype to clients I’m pretty much in control. Sure, they will need to test it for themselves, but I can get my points across more easily if I guide them through my thought process. That usually involves me switching viewport sizes in the browser and explaining my approach.

Today I wanted to do it on the phone, so I needed a way for the client to access the prototype and very easily switch viewport sizes. There are some services out there that let you enter a URL and then show a preview of your site in various different viewport sizes, but none of them really suited my needs.

Then I thought about what would be necessary to build such a tool myself and I realised that it shouldn’t be too hard. So that’s what I decided to do because I think this situation will come up again. And that’s what I learnt today.

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What I learnt today: involving clients

I’m working on a redesign for one of my clients’ websites at the moment. Their website is not yet responsive and needs to be rethought in terms of structure and information hierarchy.

I’m in the very early stages of the process and the first thing I did was a quick mockup in HTML and CSS to outline the new content hierarchy of a page. Today I reviewed this prototype with the client, got valuable feedback and explained my thought process behind the new page structure.

I got the impression that the client was very pleased with being included at this early stage. Because there wasn’t anything fancy to show in terms of design yet, we focused primarily on the structure of the page. Considering the feedback I got today, I’m convinced that involving the client from the beginning is very important for any project. That’s what I learnt today.

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What I learnt today: asking why

I don’t remember where I read this, but today a quote came to mind that proved very true: “don’t work with people you’re afraid to say ‘no’ to”. As of today, I might even extend that to “don’t work with people you’re afraid to ask why”.

I think asking “Why?” is one of the most important questions when it comes to working with clients, or other people for that matter. Very often a client might ask me to do this, or to change that. And I always ask them “Why?”.

The question “Why?” almost always throws them off guard. That’s because they’re often solution focused instead of problem focused. If we ask them why, they’ll have to state the problem and chances are, we get to the root of the issue to come up with a solution ourselves. Eventually that’s what web designers are beeing paid for, right? I noticed that since I started asking “Why?”, I’ve had a lot less discussions with clients. That’s what I learnt today.

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What I learnt today: educating clients

I met with a client at their offices today where I gave small a presentation on how to structure the content on a web page properly. I prepared some slides but I also explained things using the CMS I set up for them.

The workshop went well. The participants asked some good questions and I got my points across very clearly. I made them aware of the fact that a properly structured HTML document is not only accessible to search engines but also to every single one of their users.

Although today was a very basic workshop, I realised that there were a lot of new things for my client’s team. I think we often forget that there are people outside our web design bubble that don’t know about those basic principles. And that it’s rather our responsibility to educate them than their fault. That’s what I learnt today.