Every designer has a “that” client. The one who dissolves every aspect of your work and asks you to change the same thing a dozen times. It’s because there is no way to satisfy them.
They can be extremely difficult to deal with. In some cases, you may be tempted to set them on fire. This seemingly endless review cycle is bad for your mental and emotional health.
In short, it’s pure madness. You spend too much of your time trying to lure one client and other projects fall by the wayside. Who would want to get stuck in this kind of situation?
We hear you! However, it is not all bad news. There are some big picture benefits to working with picky clients. Today, we will examine some of the things you might learn from a frustrating experience.
In web design, we sometimes take the path of least resistance. When you are under time pressure, it is easy to override a particular feature because it takes too much effort.
That can make sense in low-budget projects. In those cases, you have to dedicate your resources to the most important things. For example, it’s wiser to focus on making your designs accessible and responsive, rather than focusing on the fancy CSS maneuver effect.
But it is often those small details that stand out for your website. Game changers are things like micro-interactions, spacing, and typography. They can turn ho-hum user experience into something very powerful.
It is strange that it will take a client who focuses on the minutes to inform us about this. It teaches you to approach design in a different way. You will find that a little extra creativity can make the surface look “fine”.
This can be done during each project. And, even if you don’t think a client will consciously notice the effort, do it anyway. You will know it exists.
Improved Communication Skills
If there is one thing that picky clients understand, it is the need for communication. That is not to say that they are talented experts. But they know the importance of staying in touch with a project to keep going.
And it is an area that can be challenging for many designers. Some of us are more reactive than proactive, in that we think everything is fine until we hear otherwise.
These clients can teach us a few important lessons about communicating. The first is that releasing emails or phone calls is not a good strategy. The recipient is usually trying to hide.
The second is that we need a sufficient amount of client feedback. The information we gather helps inform the design and construction processes. Without it, we are left to match games about what a client wants. This may lead us down the wrong path.
So, solid communication skills are essential. And one way to improve them is to work with picky clients. You will learn how to stay in touch on a regular basis, ask the right questions, and explain your design decisions effectively.
Whether or not you are happy with the experience, working with an optional client will give you plenty of insight. You’ll see what ticks them off, as well as any warning signs you may have missed in the early stages of the relationship.
The advantage of this is that you start to become more aware of people and projects. That can be very different from avoiding undesirable situations.
And that only applies to choosy clients. It also helps you see bad ideas, shady characters, and projects that do not fit your niche.
On the other hand, it offers some tips on how to work smarter. Learning, for example, how to address potential issues before they become major problems. Or protect yourself from scope creep.
These are invaluable lessons – ones that will save you headaches.
Picky Clients Serve More Purpose
Sooner or later, we all run into a client who challenges every move (and our patience). They do not make it easy for us. But they also provide a learning opportunity.
Without these clients, we may not pay enough attention to detail. And our communication skills may be stuck in neutral. Worst of all, our awareness of what constitutes a good client or project may not be so sharp.
Yes, there are challenges. Producing a successful outcome may be more like an act of survival than an achievement. But outside of those struggles there is valuable real-life experience. That’s something that can serve us for the foreseeable future.