20 reasons why a web designer drives you mad

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Sitting on a return trip flight home from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, I was sandwiched between a young mother and a business woman. I struck up a conversation with the young mother on my right who turned out to be a graphic designer. Speaking with the graphic designer about the type of work she does, the conversation was eventually directed to websites, which I am always interested in getting people’s opinions on. I asked, “Do you do much work with websites?”

Her response was a very blunt one. “Web designers are a pain in the ass!”

Wow, I thought. This will be an interesting flight …

The stressed-looking business lady seated to my left overheard this and coincidentally it turns out she was also struggling with her website at the time. Before I was able to get two words in she passionately professed, “I have had the WORST experience with web designers also!”

Intrigued, I let the two ladies continue to share their horror stories which consisted of being bitterly disappointed with unresponsive support, bad communication, slowness of delivery, crappy design and being locked into proprietary (closed) platforms.

Five minutes of back and forth passionate banter ensued while I sat silently in the middle biting my tongue, taking it all in. Once the business lady and graphic designer had finished venting, they turned to me and asked “What do you do?”

Hmmmm, do I tell them I am a Scientologist here to reveal the secrets of the universe?

No, instead I confessed I was a web designer and thought to myself, how has this profession been lumped in the same category of politicians and used car salesmen?

This prompted me to dig deeper to actually find out what are the FRUSTRATIONS that people face in an attempt to turn this on it head as a point of difference.

It was no surprise that when asked about their experience in working with other website designers, business owners were very forthcoming with feedback!

Here is what I discovered:

  1. No one actually asked me what I wanted!
  2. They don’t listen to me.
  3. I didn’t know how to brief a website designer correctly and was expecting someone to guide me through this process.
  4. What was delivered on what NOT what was promised.
  5. Not enough check-ins and communication along the way.
  6. WAY to slow to deliver.
  7. Not communicating in clear english (explain it so we can understand it).
  8. Too focused on design rather than results.
  9. Lack of attention to detail (not testing before sending through draft links).
  10. Having to ask to have the same issues fixed over and over again.
  11. Being reactive rather than proactive.
  12. Not showing enough initiative and having to explain everything in minute detail.
  13. No ongoing support after the website is launched.
  14. Difficult to reach on the phone.
  15. Way too slow to respond to emails.
  16. No intimate understanding of the clients business.
  17. Not enough testing of functionality of usability.
  18. No one central contact for the project and being hand-balled from one staff member to another.
  19. No clear understanding of the process and the expectations on the client.
  20. Having to chase up all the time to get the project finished

Now don’t get me wrong, I have been guilty of some of the above over the years.

This was a very revealing process for me to go through. I now have an action plan for our web development process to ensure that we can put in additional steps and checks to counteract these irritations.

In fact, to flip these on their head, I added this page to all our proposals:

Web Design Frustrations
Got any more issues to add to the list? I would love to know about them below in the comments section.

About the author
Jon Hollenberg
With over 20 years experience within the web industry, Jon is an expert in online marketing and online growth strategies. Over the last ten years he has worked with iconic brands such as Qantas, Jeep and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary plus hundreds of other businesses Australia wide. Jon is a published author of "Love at first site - How to build the website of your dreams".
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