View Full Version : Have you ever seen a site that was so jacked up that you refused the job?

Harold Mansfield
07-23-2012, 01:50 PM
This happens to me every now and then. A caller wants their site redone to something new and "fresh" yet wants to keep all of the old 1990's functionality and flashy things. Not only that, but it's been done so wrong for so long that there is now 10 years of content that needs to be properly organized

The hardest part of these types of sites is that the owners will swear to the high heavens that all of that old functionality, old scripts and wasted space is coveted by their readers or customers that visit the site. All 20 of them. And no matter how hard you try and show them that there is a better way to do it now, they refuse to let go of it. What they really want is their existing site to stay the same...using the same images, colors, and dancing bananas... just "update it" a little.

I'd like to say that I never turn down work, but some people are totally unwilling to let go and I have to tell them that I can't help them.

Has anyone else come across this and let the work go because you knew it would be more effort than it's worth financially? Or because you just refuse to build an outdated monstrosity with every bell and whistle ever created on the web?

07-23-2012, 02:49 PM
Several years ago when I was taking a web design class at a local university, the instructor regularly said, "Just because you can does not mean you should." That was excellent advice.

To answer your question, yes, I do turn down work...plenty often. I can't say the situation like you described comes up often, pretty much never, but there is an element behind it that I seek to weed out. At the heart of this situation, the client is trying to take unqualified control, and that never ends well. One of the things I look for in a client is that they be an expert in their business and not try to be an expert in mine. I like for them to be well informed, and clients that understand a few things about the web are great to have, but when they cross certain lines (especially from bad advice they bought into) you can end up being to blame for things you weren't given the latitude to control.

Closely related to your situation is when a potential client has unrealistic expectations for the site. That's the one I run into the most and where I turn down the most work. I'm sure you'll recognize this one. It's the client who has done a poor job of marketing their business and they come to you looking for something little short of a miracle. In the early days of my business, I didn't always recognize this from the beginning. Then you end up not getting half of input or materials you ask for, questions don't get properly answered, and they wonder why the site is not doing what they expected. I think both types of clients are cut from the same cloth, it's just a multicolored piece of fabric.

For sure, there are times when you are best off turning down work. I still get occasional surprises, but I've learned to avoid most of them.

07-23-2012, 04:04 PM
I've not had that exact situation, but I have encountered people who are resistant to change. Or think they know more, even though they haven't a clue. I save aggravation by avoidance. :-)

Unless you really need the money or the job, in which case, you'll need to learn patience and understanding.

Harold Mansfield
07-28-2012, 12:56 PM
The hardest part is when people have done a little reading and are set on an idea or integration that is either obsolete or not the most efficient way to go, and are unwilling to concede. Rarely does anyone ever read the publish date of the web articles or tools that they are referring to and swear they need to integrate.

This is usually the case when a client wants something that is cool for them, but aren't really taking into consideration how convenient it is for the user.

I used to run across this in the bar industry as well. Owners more concerned about their wants and trying to impress their friends, (who most times don't even hang there after the Grand Opening, and when they do it's never at full price) , as if they are building their own personal romp room, as opposed to what makes the most sense to compliment and increase sales based on what people are looking for.

An informed client is a good one to have. They come prepared, and rarely haggle.

A partially informed client that thinks they've learned all there is to know because they can rattle off a few anagrams or initials, is a nightmare.

Harold Mansfield
07-31-2012, 12:33 PM
I'm also finding that a lot of people are getting too caught up on the functionality, and not paying much attention to content and actual purpose of the site.

In other words, they've found some cool new thing and want to build a site that does it, but don't have any real reason for it. They think the functions alone are going to WOW everyone.

07-31-2012, 02:24 PM
That's one thing that annoys me no end! I hate it when people tend to build their site around something they think is really cool and it ends up just getting in the way of the user experience. I think form and function are both important, but function has to come first. If you make it too difficult for customers to do what they need to do on your site, then your site has no point. It's such a basic concept yet it seems so hard for some people to grasp.

08-02-2012, 01:36 PM
LOL. I think anyone in the business has had to deal with this at some level. We had a customer a few months back that insisted on keeping some really bad animation exactly how it was. The whole page took for ever to load and the animation was pretty bad. But she swore up and down that her users loved the dancing cows the way they were. We even offered to create her a new one for free since it was bad and was driving the web designer on the project crazy, that would run better and she refused.

Harold Mansfield
08-02-2012, 01:44 PM
A lot of small business people don't differerintiate between "everybody likes it" and "a couple of my friends like it".

08-02-2012, 01:51 PM
Or even "I like it". Sometimes the site owner can't get out of their own way enough to take into account the views of other people. I've seen sites with hideous things on them that were there because the site owner liked them or thought they were cool and wouldn't listen to anyone who said otherwise.

Harold Mansfield
08-02-2012, 01:55 PM
There can be exceptions though. I worked on a community site for a small town in AZ. Some of the things on the site, I wouldn't do if I was trying to attract a broad demographic of people to do business with, but this particular site was directed at a specific demographic..so little things specific to just them and their town, was appropriate.