What To Do When Your Client Hates the Web Design

Dec 8, 2015 | Freelance

Can I just say how much I love this post’s featured image? It’s a cat high-fiving his human. Adorable.

Anyway, on to the post. This is the definitive guide on what to do when your client hates the web design mockups you spent hours creating. This is the guide for when, in the client’s eyes, you can do nothing right.

Don’t take it personally

The thing with us creative types is that we get attached to our work. This is where all the stress comes from. When we’re passionate about what we do, we romanticize it, we love it, we think of it as our baby.

And I’m not saying that’s not a good thing. What I mean is that in this case, you have it backwards. It’s not your baby. It’s the client’s baby. Get over yourself.

When the client hates the web design I created, I don’t take it personally. Maybe somewhere along the communication process, something was misinterpreted or misconstrued. Maybe your definition of “light” or “classic” or “strong” isn’t the same as the client’s. Or maybe it’s just not a good fit. Reach out and clarify. It will save you from unecessary stress.

But it goes against everything I ever learned

Try as we may to steer our clients in the right direction, there will come a time when a client will insist on a certain design element on their site that will go against everything you stand for/learned/researched/believe in.

And that’s fine. If the client insists, despite being warned, then just do it. Don’t lose sleep over it.

Explain to them why this doesn’t work – in non-technical terms if possible. Some of our clients may be bloggers but they are not web designers. They haven’t studied color theory or UI best practices. They have little to no idea what is and isn’t possible in web design.

So try your best to explain and guide them through the process. There is always anxiety associated with embarking on a new venture, especially online. In a way, they have put their hopes and dreams on your shoulders. That’s not something you should take lightly. It is your responsibility to make the process as painless as you possibly can.

But I’m stuck in an endless revision cycle

Your client has no idea what he wants.

This is obvious when instructions are not clear, or after committing the change according to their specifications, they will ask you to rollback to a previous design. Statements like “I’ll know it when I see it” is a definite red flag.

It’s all YOUR fault. Before you even think about the design and the code, you need to iron out the contract. It could be just an informal one but it should have the number of hours you intend to spend on the project and the number of revisions you are willing to do.

It will mess up my portfolio

It’s your portfolio. You have the final say on what goes on there. Over the course of your design career, there will always be non-portfolio pieces, projects that despite your best efforts, went straight to Never Never Land.

Relax. It is not the end of the world.

Have a cold beer, that’s what I usually do. Because despite the stress, the frustration at the ambiguity of instructions, this is what I want to do. And if you’re like me, come tomorrow, you’d gladly do it all over again.