It seems that in each and everyone of us there is a designer that sleeps. At least thats what the majority of clients think. Many of them are convinced that they hold a hidden talent in website designing and good taste.
As a website designer you should take into account relevant factors that, of course, affect every decision you take when building a site. Some of them are accessibility, audience, authenticity, usability, simplicity, platform independence, seo etc. As a designer you do have to find an equilibrium to find the optimal design that fits in a given context and that is no small feat. You may take hours working on a concept that fits the bill.
Then comes the client, who can at one shot destroy the concept. Let me give a few examples:
I want a flash intro/logo/banner
Many clients like flash because multimedia creates an impact on the visitor. Maybe but it depends what type impact. Flash requires a plugin which is not accessible on some browsers. By using flash one can most certainly alienate a % of the audience. Imagine someone not being able to view your logo because they have no flash plugin installed. Imagine a visitor having to wait several minutes for the intro to load each time they visit a site. Flash sometimes is too flashy and can distract the visitor from the actual content of the site. Moreover flash does break the natural navigation flow of a browser.
I want comic sans ms font
There was client who was in love with comic sans ms and insisted to use that font on their website. In the early days of the world wide web, you could see thousands of websites here and there choosing fancy fonts to display their content. Such fonts do have a major shortcoming, they are not available on all platforms. Professionals try hard to make the website being designed look the same whichever platform a visitor is using be it Linux, Windows or a Mac. It is common practice to use standard fonts that are known to be available on these platforms. I want more and different colors on each page.
hehe… also very common in the early days of website design. The standard is to use at most 2-3 colors on a website and to keep that color scheme throughout the website. Why? The consistent look and feel of a website avoids the visitor to be confused and used as a navigation aid.
I want a video
Like flash it can alienate some users. Need to take care of the audience. Do they all have access to broadband connections? My best guess is no.
I want frames
Some clients saw nifty frames on a competitor’s website and want to emulate that. However little do they know about the issues with bookmarking, printing and being accessible to search engines.
Copy photos and content
Many clients are unaware of copyright issues and some are but ignore it. I am convinced about the principles of freedom and against restrictions but certainly that does not warrant going for illegality.
Some clients believe that a website can be built out of the blue. It is well know that the factor that truly determines the success of a website is the content. Repeat after me.. Content is king! … Again… Content is Kiiing! Its not the job of the designer to create the content but certainly designers can help structure the content to be accessible to the user.
Most people regard designers as simple implementers that build their designs. The client is the “designer”. To what extent is this acceptable? Need to ponder