Clients From Hell

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What’s a wireframe?

When you a get a client who asks you that, who needs a website designed and developed, you know you’re in deep shit. Really deep shit.

As it is delivering a design engagement to a client is tough because they have their own ideas. And when the designer has to teach them their own shit then it becomes one of those arduously long journeys that one takes either because the client’s paying top dollar or because the designer’s dying of starvation.

I have spent more than six hours over a period of two days explaining to the client how important it is to have a spec document that allows the designer to envision the final product as well as give a sensible quote. But the dude doesn’t even know what a wireframe is. And he runs a web hosting company.

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Filed under: from HELL

2 Responses

  1. Lisa says:

    I don’t have a clue what a wireframe is. If I were to hire someone to do work for me I would expect them to explain it to me. I also don’t think I understand why there would be a problem with a customer who is paying you for services NOT to have their own input as to how the final product should look.

    Would you hire a painter to paint your house and let them paint any color they wanted? Oh and if you don’t know the ratios of titanium oxide to latex you are up for public scrutiny.

    I don’t know anything about paint either.

  2. Hey Lisa, Thanks for stopping by.

    Sure I would explain it to a client – a client doesn’t need to know the technology/jargon that goes into the backend of the deliverable I will be delivering. For them it’s a simple “it should work the way I want it to”. But not when they themselves are in the same business. And I did explain to this client what the hell a wireframe is, with an example.

    If I was a painter, I might not know the exact ratio of the oxide and the latex but if the clien’t requirement is that the latex should be minimal or non existent because his family is allergic to latex, it will be my business to ensure that. If the client himself owns a paint company and shows ignorance about the basics [ assuming that the oxide/latex ratio is basic information ], then I will laugh at him.

    In web design and development, knowledge about a wireframe is absolutely necessary if a person really is a web designer – if they’re someone who just wants to make a fast buck while ripping off other designer’s work then maybe they wouldn’t know what a wireframe is. So if the client needs a good website then wireframe really needs to be out of the way before I start.

    The client I am talking about here OWNS and RUNS a web development company. He has been in business since 1991. If he doesn’t know what a wireframe is then he really shouldn’t be in this business. So yeah, he’s a client from hell!

    More about wireframes on Boxes and Arrows.

    Of course the client will know what his website will look like before I deliver the final thing to him. There’s a whole iterative process that happens before the final delivery. Sketches/Wireframes/semi-finish/testing/final. Like the painter will show me swatches of colors and various color combinations that will go with the new wallpaper that I’ve picked.

    And oh, web design and development is SO VERY different from a paint job 🙂

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