Web Design by Committee

| December 11th, 2008 |

There comes a time in every web designers career when they must go up against the multi-headed committee. One person wants the logo bigger, a second person wants the type a brighter red, and a third wants to increase the amount of copy by a factor of ten. The repeated changes and subsequent communal approvals are enough to keep a web design project in limbo for months past the deadline. What’s a web designer to do when they go up against a committee?

The best defense is to establish a point person before the project begins. Explain to the client that all communications, deliverables, and approvals will go through this one point person. This protects you from having to correspond with too many people at once. It will also help the client become more internally organized and may speed up the project.

If it’s too late to enforce a one-on-one relationship, use money to sway them. Explain to the client that all meetings and correspondence will be billed at your hourly rate. Putting a price tag on your time will make the client hold back from peppering you with half-thought requests and persuade them to formalize any directives.

If neither of those work, my best advice is to just go with it. Designing a web site by committee can be a frustrating process. But if you maintain a positive attitude and do your best to help the client through the process, it will all be over before you know it.

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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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