Every once in a while, as a designer, I come across a client who is timid about moving their project forward to the next step. Sometimes they are not ready to go live with a website, and sometimes they gain a reliance on you as a designer, making it difficult for them to let you go so they can work with a developer (if the company you work for has specialized its labor).
While the client's feelings are valid, (and you should try to be as diplomatic as possible when working with any client), sometimes you need to employ a "tough love" approach to successfully move the project forward.
Try to encourage the client throughout the process. The time and money they have invested in the project with you is for naught if the website is not LIVE! The client may say they are in no rush to complete the project; however, it is my experience that patience soon turns sour when they are upset that the process takes too long (and it is no one's fault but their own - but again, be diplomatic).
There is something to be said for client satisfaction, but sometimes a client can become their own worst enemy as they focus on small details that, in the long run, do not affect the search performance or conversion rate of their website.
One thing that can help a client stuck in this way of thinking is to remind them of who the website is intended for. While it is "their" website, the intended audience is the one that the site needs to impress. I hate to use a cliché here, but sometimes the client needs help "seeing the forest through the trees." I'm sure the client did not want to get a website solely as a monument to their own ego.
Each client is unique, with their own needs, desires, and issues to work through. Sometimes they may come reluctantly and haltingly through the design process, but if you keep your cool and employ some "tough love," your client should appreciate your approach and ultimately appreciate not just your work as a designer, but HOW you work as a designer.
Author: Marc Steffensen
Position: Creative Director
Marc Steffensen is the Creative Director at Business Promotion and has been with the company since 2009. He has been a professional graphic designer since 2005 and a graphic artist since the mid '90s. Marc's interests are eclectic within all things "nerd" culture, from music and movies to games and collectables. He is an amateur barbeque chef and likes to "fire up" his smoker, even in the middle of winter.