Why Your Web Design Clients are Just Like Little Kids (But Don’t Tell Them That)

Web Design Clients

Since my second kid was born (god bless beautiful Lily) there was this comparison that was building up in my head about the overwhelming similarities between my two kids and and my web design clients. Well, obviously my clients don’t drool and ask me to change their dirty diapers (yet…). But in many ways I noticed that I have to apply the same behavioral tactics to both of them in order to get a good response. So what is it that makes them so similar? Let’s start with the basics:

Attention

The fact that kids are real attention grabbers is quite well known but the fact that in order to keep your web design clients happy you have to show them a great amount of attention (regardless to the work process) is a less common fact. Most developers/designers I know will make the first couple of must talks with their client, understand what it is they want and then disappear into their lair until they got something good to show their clients. Well, the important thing to understand is that the client is not only paying you for the website you are making him, they are also paying for the experience. Building their company’s website is a meaningful process for them and one that they don’t do everyday. So while doing it they want to be a part of the project or at least be informed and kept up to date. It’s great showing the clients thoughts you had about the product even before you have a final piece to show them, references is always great to bounce and even just e-mailing them saying you’ve been working on their project and you will have stuff to show in a couple of days is great communication. Either way, giving attention is easy and will always amount to a happier client.

Structure

Every evening at about 7:00pm we have a ritual that I would assume many of you parents know in different variations. We start off having dinner, then we take Ben (my firstborn) to the shower, after that he has about 30 minutes of television time (his favorite part of the day) and then he is sent to bed. This is just one example of a lot of rituals that parents apply on their kids in order to give structure to their lives. In that sense clients are exactly the same. A client needs to know the different parts of the process and know exactly what to expect at every phase. When a client knows what he is suppose to get and when he is suppose to get it, he is much more relaxed and a lot less likely to bring up issues that are not relevant to the certain point of the process (no, that ‘lorem ipsum’ is not what it’s going to say there…). Plus, when you follow a structured process with the client from the beginning it is a lot less likely that your client will have different expectations from the final outcome then what you are planning to deliver. If that doesn’t work try giving them some candy. It works with Ben…

Education

As parents we always try to expose our kids to new things, thats because we understand that our kids don’t have the same amount of information about the world as we do. But what about when it comes to our web design clients? We often forget that our clients don’t know the technological world nearly as well as we do. How can they? We eat, drink and breath the digital world, We know about every new technology or new trend almost immediately because we love it and well, because it is our job to know it. Your clients don’t always know their digital options and what can be achieved with a bit of creativity. That’s where the you become a bit of a parent and start educating. Don’t patronize them, but instead introduce them to new technologies, beautiful designs and that a cow goes moo. Oh, sorry not that last one.

Leadership and boundaries

When educating your kids its important to show a sense of leadership and set boundaries. You want your kids to know who’s the boss ,follow you and listen to you but not because they fear you, but because the look up to you. When it comes to your clients its just as important to show that same sense of leadership. You have to own the process, client will be much more likely to follow you when you project confidence set boundaries and show a sense of leadership. Remember, you are the professional in this relationship, you are the authority and the fact that they are they one’s paying doesn’t change that.

So the next time your clients drive you crazy just remember, it’s not that they are bad or mean, it’s that they are just like little kids. But don’t tell them that.

Can think of some more ways clients and little kids are the same?

Don't Miss Out

Join our mailing list for more amazing content!