September 27, 2011
For the second time in as many weeks, I have found myself talking to business owners about the lack of care they have been shown by their agency. I’m pleased to say neither related to projects we had delivered!
Just this morning, as I dropped off the melamine plates and beakers we had borrowed from a lovely independent toy shop in Bath, I got into a discussion about their new website.
The previous evening, I had been frustrated, unable to find their opening times of all things and had to refer to the SouthGate site to give me the (wrong) opening times. I also had noticed that several image links were broken and that was just scratching the surface.
Although the design of the site is lovely, by all accounts, they are tearing their hair out trying to get it to work in the way it had been intended. By the end of our conversation, I ended up feeling as frustrated as they were.
This could be a whinge about us not getting the gig, but we hadn’t gone looking for it so I have no-one to blame but myself for missing this opportunity. This also could be a rallying cry to buy local, rather than think that a web agency based in London is somehow better qualified to design and build a better website than one based in the South West. But it’s not.
Instead, my frustration stemmed from the apparent lack of care shown to their business by the agency as it dealt with problems post-deployment. So this is more of a plea to our peers to look after your clients appropriately and deliver on your promises. It’s reasonable to expect a few bug fixes in the early life of a site, but it’s how you deal with these that can effect how our industry is perceived externally.
So often, the technical aspect of web development can be a terrifying barrier for business owners to embrace the medium that can have such a huge effect on their success. Unfortunately, having made the leap, technical problems that aren’t handled appropriately can very easily tarnish the perception of the project and worse, the industry as a whole.
It’s easy to get frustrated with seemingly incessant support calls informing you that this or that is broken, this doesn’t work or that doesn’t link to where its supposed to. But with a positive attitude and a willingness to help business owners get to where they need to be, we can elevate the worth of our industry, making it more open so technical aspects of web development no longer discourage engagement.
Working for free to win business devalues our skills and expertise. By the same token, an eagerness to realise our clients’ dreams of what their site can be, whatever it takes, will reinforce our value as a dedicated web design agency to those outside the creative industry.