How to Educate Your Non-Tech Clients

blackboard_abcEver had a client you had to educate?

You know, they want to change the design of their Web site,  and “just want you to switch a few things around”? And, it shouldn’t be a big deal…

But, of course, if you do, the pages won’t flow properly, the code will break, and it won’t load properly.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Don’t argue based on design principles

Your instinct may be to talk about design integrity, being search-engine friendly, or compliance with web standards. But your client isn’t a techie (that’s why you are at an impasse in the first place).  She’s in the insurance, hardware, or accounting business. She’s not a graphic designer or a Web developer, and doesn’t speak “design.”

Use everyday language, not tech-speak

Translate the problem into terms the client will instantly understand.

Tell her that swapping some colors or switching fonts is like repainting the kitchen. Redoing the code, adding Flash, and assuring the design works correctly on all browsers, is like doing a complete overhaul — tearing out all the appliances, replacing the cabinets, and ripping out the plumbing. Complying with Web standards is like following local building codes.

Explain the work involved this way, and she’ll have a better understanding of the costs and time required to fix her site.

Photo: Cecile Graat