As a kid, I remember bargaining with my parents for those few extra minutes of television before bed. The time was already decided, but I would always try to receive more than I was allotted because I knew what strings to pull – “just five minutes more!” Even though this example may be dated, it still happens in client relationships. Here are some pointers on how to get to that white light at the end of the tunnel, while walking that tightrope of courtesy and compliance.
1. Know the examples. Ok, so they like abcdefg.com’s background style, but hate its navigation. Do they want to merge abcdefg.com’s background with 98765.com’s navigation? Offering examples of work may seem like an unoriginal approach, but, the truth is that examples of work help both parties share the vision.
2. Know the goal. This is the crux of the whole article. Do they want side navigation or top navigation? Do they want center or left alignment? Know what’s wanted, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This will help the designer get closer to what the client wants the first time without doing thirty revisions.
3. Stand your ground. Contracts are in place to protect both parties. If the contract states that the client is to receive no more than five revisions, don’t do sixteen for them. There’s a fine line between flexibility and future vulnerability.
4. Be courteous. This usually goes without saying, but it’s easy to stray off the beaten path. A person with distaste for the other can sabotage the project with a plethora of methods, either consciously or subconsciously. “Unless you work in demolition, don’t burn bridges.”
The fallout from not having a clear path to the goal can be minimal or colossal, depending on the compliance of both sides. These things may seem like common sense, but no one’s impervious to scope creep, which can kill a project before it even gets off the ground.