What is the most horrible story web designers share with each other? It’s like an urban legend that gets passed from one generation of designers to another. This terrifying story that always tickles your nerves is the one about a problem client. Every web design newbie has certainly heard plenty of scary stories from experienced web designers about clients who jarred on their nerves for being Messrs. I-Know-All. What’s more, every web design newbie thought it was simply a story to put them off; they always are idealists and think there are no problem clients, there are simply designers who cannot find a right approach to those clients. Newbies keep staying in that blissful ignorance till the time they face their first monster from web designers’ nightmares – a dreadful problem client in the flesh.

Now, let’s come to the point and find out everything we can about those monsters in order to be armed to the teeth in case you meet this monster again. And you will if you’re working in the sphere of web design.

First, let’s stop calling problem clients monsters and think of a nickname for them in general. Let’s call them Richards. Shortly – Ricks or Dicks, whatever you like.

Who do we call Richards?

Richard is a client who hinders web designers all the ways he can. He messes up with the whole process of designing simply because doesn’t understand the tasks and their peculiarities. In controversial issues, he gives such arguments like “Because I want so”, “Because I like so” and “My granny thinks this one is better”.

What is the algorithm of Richards’ train of thoughts?

Richard is like a kid who starts learning the world that surrounds him. Which is why, if Richard wants to play with fonts and colors of his future logo or its size, let him do it. Still, make sure he won’t be doing it alone and you will be playing with him. Otherwise, you will be left without any payments. Don’t worry, Richard will grasp the main principles of web design at the end of this game if you explain everything in a right way.

Where do Richards live?

Richards’ habitat is in those places where the line between “cool” and “horrible” is so vague it’s hard to be seen by non-professionals at the first sight. Which is why, if you deal with web designs and especially a logo design, you risk facing Richards quite a few times. However, Richards like being guided by the question “Why to pay more?” (not because they cannot pay more, simply because the difference between cheap and expensive designs doesn’t exist for them and they refuse to notice it). That’s why, if your prices of a logo design start with $350, you are less likely to face Richard than those designers who design logos at $100.

How to work with Richards?

Still, there are a few guidelines that can minimize your risks in case of working with Richards.

Get 50% of prepayment

This secures the fact that Richard will pay you at least something for your work. And yet, sometimes the speed of a post payments transfer is not so quick as the speed of a tortoise on the sand in a hot sunny day. Which is why, if you suspense your client may turn into Richard, get as much secured as you can in terms of these payments.

All the conditions of your work must be in a separate file

Richard needs to set all his wishes and desires in one brief (though most often he forgets to do it so that you have to redo everything the night before a deadline). What’s more, make sure you prepare a separate document for Richard where you also point out all the things you can do and all the things you can’t (or wouldn’t). Thus, should Richard have any troubles with the final result, you will have a document that confirms your rights.

Let Richard choose

The choice has to be a win-win one for both of you. For example, you may ask Richard, which background he likes more, a red one or a blue one. Before asking that, you need to make your question visual. Therefore, you need to show him two backgrounds you have in mind. The more Richard sees, the better he understands. His fantasy itself leaves a lot to be desired.

Never argue with Richard

In Richard’s eyes, those who argue with him are dumb; those who don’t argue with him are smart. If you want to prove something, just get back to our third issue and make your offer visual. This way, it will be easier for Richard to get your point and to agree to do the design your way.

Involve Richard into the process of web design

Communicate with him all the time; explain what is better and what is far better. If he doesn’t understand, once again, get back to point 3 and show him what you really mean. In order to do it, you may use a SQVID technique.

If Richard is deaf, pretend you’re blind

Sometimes, nothing really helps. All you need to do is to grab your ankles and create whatever web design Richard wants to have. Just do it and forget about it.

Have you ever faced such clients like Richard? Share your stories with DesignContest!