Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Web Designer and the Cop

When I'm not fighting for truth and justice on this blog, I am an ordinary, workaday Web designer.

On a daily basis, dealing with clients, I'm asked to violate the basic tenets of Web site: Links to pages that say "Coming Soon" or "Under Construction"; pages that look like eye charts due to the multitude of different sized text, differing fonts and even differing colors to emphasize various bits of information; linking to multiple pages -- usually a jazzy Flash piece -- when best practices dictates I should just link to the end page.

At each turn, I explain to my clients why these are bad ideas. Then I'm duly asked to violate my design ethics.

Politicians teach us: There's no money to be made in ethics.

After the latest violation -- linking to a "gallery" page that doesn't yet have any images in it, only a note saying there are no images there yet (this instead of merely hiding the gallery button on the entry page, you know, like adults would do) -- I thought of a friend of mine who's a cop.

And I wondered if my cop friend has ever been asked by his clients -- his higher-ups -- to violate basic rules.

And, if so, what would be the Web equivalent to policing look like?

I imagined my buddy making an arrest and then cuffing the suspect around the ankles.

Or, the cop following the logic of my clients would put the ankle-cuffed suspect in trunk of the police cruiser.

Or, let the suspect drive the cruiser back to the station.

People hire Web designers because they need a professional to undertake a piece of work.

It's fascinating, then, to see how the client then directs how the Web professional should work. They're paying the bill, so they get what they want.

My point is that clients often demand to receive much less than what they are paying for.

It's like the client hires me to perform surgery on a patient. When I ask where the anethstesia is, I'm told, "No, just cut into the patient. That's faster."​

How a Web Deisng Goes Straight to Hell on The Oatmeal.


Barbara Bilton said...

I've seen how clients can be, especially when freelancing. Ugh! Nice job!

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

Painful and exasperating as these experiences can be, it's reassuring to know that I am not alone.

Mike McKeown said...

This happens to me way to often. I often wonder... if your not going to listen to me then why did you hire me?

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

I've gotten a bit of solace from this comic from The Oatmeal

Anonymous said...

I hear ya hotdog man. As a Graphic Designer I live this madness every day.