The Importance of Communication
One thing that I have realized this week is the extreme importance of communication between us as developers and our clients. Following through on finding out exactly what a client wants and what a developer is doing is important for both sides, to be sure that a developer or designer doesn’t end up spending hours on something that the client ultimately rejects or never meant to request.
One of the most important aspects of this communication is for developers and designers to suggest ideas (as they are paid to do) to clients, but ultimately accept that a client’s decision has to stand (even if developers and designers disagree with it). This is one area that can frequently lead to miscommunication, as a developer will often allow himself or herself to miscommunicate with a client simply because they use different language when discussing elements of web development. A client asking for a sidebar “not to scroll” could mean that they want it to have a fixed position on the page so that a user can’t scroll past it, or that they want it to have a static position on the page so that it doesn’t scroll with the user. These types of ambiguities are very common in web development, as clients and developers see web sites and HTML elements differently. It is up to the developer to make the extra effort and be sure that the client is getting exactly what they want.
On the other hand, the responsibility is never fully on the developer. Clients have to understand that developers have a lot of work to do when they accept a project, and that they likely have more than one client to tend to. What a client may think is a “little fix” could be an hour of work for a developer, and it can be frustrating to have a client ask for a few “little fixes” and then decide they don’t want them after all. Clients need to respect developers time and devotion to their customers, and developers need to understand who they are working for and how to best communicate with them, so that both parties have a unified vision of the final product the entire time.