client quotes thread
December 6, 2001 7:03 PM   Subscribe

client quotes thread from the now defunct dreamless.org web design forum, hours of crazy client related hilarity. a stellar moment from a sorely missed site.
thanks to Wevah of derailer.org
posted by eyere (28 comments total)
 
Perhaps this post in the thread (only the fourth one):

There's a thread about this thread going on over at MetaFilter.

http://www.metafilter.com/comments.mefi/4679


...might have clued you in that this is a double post?
posted by jpoulos at 7:14 PM on December 6, 2001


Not really jpoulos, considering the original dreamless thread is gone and this lets you serve up single posts 'o fun at random.
posted by alan at 7:24 PM on December 6, 2001


This highlights so many common sense things people lack about the internet. I don't understand why people don't trust web designers. I mean, people don't go to architects and say "does that supporting column really need to be there?"
posted by geoff. at 8:24 PM on December 6, 2001


"why can't you cut that pixel in half?"

love the interwebnet. :)
posted by elphTeq at 8:32 PM on December 6, 2001


I am laughing at these quotes, but I'm also crying inside.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:38 PM on December 6, 2001


I MISS DREAMLESS.
posted by atom128 at 8:42 PM on December 6, 2001


me too
posted by panopticon at 8:47 PM on December 6, 2001


Sometimes I wonder why I decided to build websheets for a living...
posted by glenwood at 8:54 PM on December 6, 2001


The first one I got was the dumbest one. Client wanted a Reset button on a form removed because he kept accidentally clicking that instead of Submit and losing all his data. Designer was going "Oh isn't this client stupid."

No, the client just gave him free usability testing, which he could have used to improve his design had he not been suffering a cranio-rectal impaction. Or, had had he thought about what he was doing a little more, he might have realized that on 99% of forms there is no need for a Reset button and plenty of reason not to have one, and left it out to begin with.

Oh yes, the worst of the designers is on display here, as well as the worst of the clients.
posted by kindall at 8:57 PM on December 6, 2001


on the other hand, does this remind anyone of a certain hosting company with a rather unique site design?
posted by mattpfeff at 9:01 PM on December 6, 2001


kindall: the one I got also had the designer looking not so bright. The client's 'suggestions' were clearly intended as humor, and may have been a dig at a designer who with overly-rococo ideas. The designer totally missed the point, and thought the client was being brainless. [sigh]

Guys, whatever business you're in, listen to the customer. Don't assume he's dumber than you are. Even if he is, he's a fresh set of eyes and 'free usability testing', and he may see problems that you don't, re: kindall's post.

Oh, I just read through a bunch more of them. The designers come off at least as badly as the clients, hugely arrogant, and unwilling to make the effort to understand what the client was trying to tell them.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:23 PM on December 6, 2001


to play devils advocate

kindall - well yes, perhaps maybe the reset buttom shouldve been moved, but what about the user who has use for it? Most people are used to having one right next to the other, and would be confused by moving it, and annoyed by being forced to hit reload or delete all the fields manually.

there is a fine line between being a fresh set of eyes and not respecting the designers judgement... (anyone else get blink ARGGH blink?) all the quotes were from designers, for designers, and were never intended to be read by outsiders. remember the context if you think they're comming of as arrogant. it
posted by atom128 at 9:33 PM on December 6, 2001


wow. I just read every single one. here's one of my horror stories:

one day I got a call from an excited client asking me to come up to the store and look at this amazing new thing she found. she wouldn't give me the url over the phone. almost immediately I suspected trouble.

so I get there and this is what she has for me: The Chocolate Puppy. she walks me through me every single effect on the page and tells me how I can put them all into use on their site. every single one!

about 3/4 of the way through it, she turns to me and asks, "robert, are you ok? you like you're about to be sick to your stomach."
posted by mcsweetie at 10:00 PM on December 6, 2001


This does bring up an interesting point, how does one deal with a technologically and artistically handicapped people?
posted by geoff. at 10:30 PM on December 6, 2001


well yes, perhaps maybe the reset buttom shouldve been moved, but what about the user who has use for it?

actually, i've never seen a really good use for the reset button in a form. in a short form: why automate clearing out only two or three fields? in a long form: do you REALLY want to clear out EVERYTHING you've just entered? seriously, if you know an example, please share.

whatever business you're in, listen to the customer.

the point being, listen to what they mean, not what they say...
posted by teradome at 10:59 PM on December 6, 2001


> actually, i've never seen a really good use for the reset button in a form.

Let me further that and say I've never seen any good use at all for a reset button. (I can imagine that it might be useful for a a JS-based app, like a spreadsheet or game or something, where reset="start all over" but we already have BUTTON as a generic input type, and if you are coding the JS anyway, it is pretty easy to asign a reset-like function to a button). But I've never actually seen it used in any useful way and I have wasted a few hours of my life retyping crap into web forms because someone thought they might as well include it.

Whenever I see one, it makes me think that the person who designed the form just didn't know what they were doing or didn't care that they were doing a lousy job. I have no idea how it made it into the HTML spec in the first place (you'll note that there is no direct equivalent in the XForms spec — I spent a half hour spewing vitriol about it once in an XForms design meeting, though I'm not sure if they ever listened to me ;).

So, people: please never ever use it on a standard form (like registering on a site, making a purchase, contact forms, etc.) If you absolutely have to use if for something, make sure to include an OnClick confirm so the user can back out.
posted by sylloge at 11:26 PM on December 6, 2001


I agree with Mr. Kindall, this does as much or more to point out the failed thinking of mid-internet-boom web designers as it does about clients. Clients have always been dumb, there's nothing new there. Part of the designer's challenge is to educate a client about design and to communicate how the project will look and function. There tended to be little communicating going on in a business fundamentally about communication.

There has been a tremendous weeding out in the web-design space. Those of us who are still online are largely here because we "get it". We're not here for the superstar parties, some misguided idea about a cool profession or any of the other trappings that went out with IPO dreams and empty 401ks. I'm still online because I believe in the ideas and ideals of the web and the internet. I was doing this before people paid for it, I did it while people paid silly amounts of money for it, and I'm still doing it while so many friends and former co-workers look for the next big thing.

And BTW, I've never intentionally used a reset button.
posted by joemaller at 11:38 PM on December 6, 2001


Re: Reset... someone thought they might as well include it.

Exactly. "It's in the HTML spec, and it's as easy to put in as a Submit button! So I'll just put one right next to the Submit!" It seems to be a case of using it because, well, it's in all the examples, so that must be how you do it...

Does anyone miss the Reset button on MetaFilter? Do you suppose this page or the Customize page would be improved by the addition of a Reset? ;)

Submit buttons should be done away with as much as possible as well. This is an example of a page that does that. It's sort of a self-link since I designed the original example of this page (including the scripts), although they had another designer re-do the appearance after I left the company. Asking for some contact info for downloading white papers (for sales lead purposes) is pretty common. But on most sites, you'd have to Submit your name and other info before getting to the page with the links; I managed to eliminate that step entirely. It wasn't even really difficult; you'll notice the salient JavaScript is only about ten lines long, and the server-side script that writes the user data to a log file is not much more complicated (you can't see it, of course). It's easily circumvented, but then, the script doesn't even validate the data, so it would be easy enough to enter bogus information. This isn't about security, it's about getting leads. And it turns out that like 90+% of users enter real information.

Now I think this happens to be pretty clever, but anybody can do it. I'm shocked more designers don't bother. Hell, I'm shocked more designers don't use a rational TABORDER and employ the LABEL tag more. Most Web forms suck.
posted by kindall at 12:21 AM on December 7, 2001


There used to be a site dedicated to this, dumbclients.com, but it seems offline :-(
posted by slater at 2:09 AM on December 7, 2001


had he thought about what he was doing a little more, he might have [left the Reset button] out to begin with.

"... the same client I mentioned above didn't want me to remove the clear button (I practically begged for it)."
posted by webmutant at 2:18 AM on December 7, 2001


I agree that this is just as much a showcase for dumb designers as it is for dumb clients. Spec your jobs properly and maintain control during the project and this sort of thing doesn't happen.
posted by fakenamex at 5:25 AM on December 7, 2001


sniff.
posted by presto at 5:38 AM on December 7, 2001


This does bring up an interesting point, how does one deal with a technologically and artistically handicapped people?

I guess if a client starts getting too...well, uninformed, maybe we should say something along the lines of, "look, I think it would be beneficial to everyone if we could come to the understanding that I am a fully trained professional who went to college for many years to learn the intricacies of art and design. what I need from you is content (verbiage, logos, etc.) and some feedback on the functionality you want and I'll take care of the brain work for you. ok? I mean, you wouldn't go in the back of the restaurant and make suggestions to a chef making your food, right?"

client: "well no I guess not but I really want you to put the star spangled banner at the bottom of every page, I think it would do america some good in this time of uh tragedy."
posted by mcsweetie at 7:32 AM on December 7, 2001


oxygen

Client: Do you really think people will pay you more than $500 for website?? I can get one from IBM for $499, I saw it on the commercial...

me: Be my guest, but when you come back I'm going to be doubling our fee.

Client: (gave me the finger and left)

me: Opps!

Boss: That probably wasn't the best way to say that.


This reminds me of the designer who told the ceo of my company that they would not make design changes because they knew what was best. Unsurprisingly, they were soon fired. Their attitude carried over with all their clients and they soon went out of business. The lesson? You may not like what the client wants, but it's their money.
posted by haqspan at 8:23 AM on December 7, 2001


You may not like what the client wants, but it's their money.

Good point. While I was at Agency.com we had Urban Desires, just as Razorfish added RSUB and Avalanche (pre-Razorfish buyout) ran borderequalszero.

The client jobs are the money. But it's better to have something of your own to let your teams go wild on, because you're always going to compromise something (if not everything) on the paying jobs.
posted by teradome at 10:24 AM on December 7, 2001


man... those bring back memories.

sniff.
posted by mkn at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2001


Hey, anybody notice that the original dreamless thread was posted here one year ago today?
posted by webmutant at 3:27 PM on December 7, 2001


Yeah, I miss Dreamless, too. I wish it was brought back, even if Josh Davis didn't want to host it. NewsToday is a poor substitute.

fakenamex: I agree that this is just as much a showcase for dumb designers as it is for dumb clients. Spec your jobs properly and maintain control during the project and this sort of thing doesn't happen.

Ha! Easier said than done. It seems like a lot of these clients were less informed about the nature of Web design, and even less willing to trust the designer enough to let go of control of the project.

While it's important that communication be clear on both sides, there's many a time where the other guy is just being a jackass-- and these are a few of them.

Boy, you MeFi's sure get on your high horse a lot.
posted by Down10 at 12:36 AM on December 8, 2001


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