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My clients really are great!  Most of them have a huge respect for my work as well as for my time.  Every now and then I have a run-ins with clients who don't know how to deal with their designer.  They start off saying that they don't know anything about graphic design or web development but end up telling me the size, position and functionality they want for everything.  This delima often arises because so many parties have different ideas and roles to play in the development of a website.  There are basically three people(s) to be made happy with a website, but you can't always get what you want.

Three People(s) to Make Happy

Business Owner
(Content)

The good owner of a company knows his business better than anyone.  He knows it better than the designer.  He knows it better than the competitors.  He knows it better than the employees.  The owner (or a point person appointed by the owner) should be made happy.

However, the owner can't always get what he wants.

The owners should get what he wants when it comes to what the site does and does not include.  He should decide how many pages there are and what those pages contain.  He should focus himself (in regard to the website) solely on what information and education he wishes to covey to his clientele.

Website Developer
(Design)

The good graphic designer knows a bit about every industry for which she designs, but she is no expert on your company.  If you've hired her, though, she had better be an expert on web design.  She knows how to best convey your information.  Herein she should be made happy.

However, the designer can't always get what she wants.

The designer should get what she wants when it comes to how the site looks and feels.  She should decide sizes and positions, fonts and colors, emphasis and ambiance.  She should focus herself (in regard to the website) on the synoptic as well as the salient while never getting hung-up on petty preferences.

Potential Clients
(Functionality)

In the end it is the clients and potential clients that need to receive and perceive the information and education offered by the owner, displayed by the designer.  Truth be told, the customer is not always right, but that makes the proper functionality of your website all the more necessary.

However, clients can't always get what they want.

Often clients know what they want but have no idea what they need.  Good marketing will involve tests and analytics to make sure that clients are following the path to get them from A to B, but on the outset it is a joint effort of owner and developer to hew out that path.  It is the owner's job to know where points A and B are.  It is the designer's job to move the visitors.

In Conclusion

  • Owners, if you've hired a designer, don't try to do their job.
  • Developers, if you've taken on a client, don't try to marginalize their role.
  • Clients, if you've visited a website and can't make heads or tails of it, let someone know!
You can't always get what you want, but with a good design you get what you need.