Web design requires a decent hat stand
As someone who builds websites on an almost daily basis I often find myself in a situation where I need to wear multiple hats.
What follows is a simply breakdown of the many hats worn day to day:
The audience listens to the client, sometimes the message is clear, concise and to the point, other times it is passionate but vague, other times it is simply dreary. Everyone needs to have there say, as truly great clients can come out of small beginnings.
The assessor then needs to read the viability of the task at hand, and decide the way forward. Knowing what it takes to please the customer is a skill the assessor cannot do without. Sometimes it is better to walk away from a seemingly lucrative deal when the client needs are simply above what is practical or realistic. Trying to please everyone never works.
The negotiator cuts to the chase, turning a need into a price. These days costing web design is a black art, as the price seems to be more based around the desire than the effort. For me at least it makes no sense trying ot compete on price, as webdesign should not be judged on cost but on result. Having said that, it would be stupid not be be price realistic.
The manager takes over, breaking the process into chunks and dishing out the work. This is not only a case of breaking the effort apart, there are the issues of timeline, complexity, etc. Knowing when to do it yourself and when to outsource is a critical component.
Then there is the heavy lifter, the person that makes the mechanics of the websites work. They put the framework together, install the CMS, set up the shopping cart, the payment gateway and the user registration system.
The designer steps into the ring, bringing light to a otherwise dreary looking result. Common sense needs to be kept in check though, as often budgets and time-lines can be blown by trying to constantly improve a design. Its a bit like gambling, nowing when to draw the line is key in walking away with the planned profit.
The showman has the job of selling the final result back to the client. The better the result math the expectation the smaller the costly tweaking will be, so getting it right in the delivery is as important as getting the execution spot on.
The tutor needs to be patient as the client is shown how to do what needs doing. Being prepared for the typical questions not only puts the client at ease, it results in real synergy. I often find that it is the service that wins gold referrals, not the design.
When it comes to delivering truly solid work, thinking with different hats certainly helps put things in perspective.
Being the best or the fastest or the cheapest does not work for me, and probably not for you either; rather, being consitent makes life a lot simpler, for me as well as my customers.