Stand and Deliver

by David Sleight

25 Reader Comments

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  1. I totally agree with your intuitive viewpoints. May be the beginners like me shall concentrate on these basic fundamentals as described by you Sir.
    It’s really nice reading it.

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  2. Webdesign is an interdisciplinary art. We do design, we write code, we know about legal issues and so on. After all, websites are part of a companys communication efforts. So we must also know how to communicate. And that includes knowing how to sell. And that includes knowing how to sell ones own ideas.

    I second what is being said in the article. Stay focused on what you have to say. Take it as a chance, not as an arduousness.

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  3. Was there anything specific to webdesign in this article? Not that anything was wrong, all the points are important. They are important for webdesigners and everyone else. But I’m used to more in-depth articles on ALA than this one.

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  4. I totally agree with your intuitive viewpoints. Brilliant idea. Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your articles David. It’s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else’s point of view”¦ makes you think more. Greetings

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  5. I thoroughly enjoyed the article and it brought out a point that I always wrestle with when showing my work.. subjectivity. I liked the advice given for dealing with the somewhat subjective nature of design. I have always tried to approach this problem with cohesive reasons and answers, not always successfully. There is always the stopper when a client says “I just don’t like it”… unfortunately reason doesn’t work in that situation!!!

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  6. Eugen: To be honest, you’re right—there isn’t a lot about the article that’s super specific to web design. That’s intentional. Ultimately I wanted to have something that I’d feel comfortable handing to a new staffer in memo form, so a lot of what’s discussed is fairly universal and easy to digest. That said, what I mentioned in the intro still stands: the techniques discussed function best when used iteratively, which is a notion that web designers should be particularly adept at. That’s true for design in general, but there’s so much of our craft to which that notion is core. 

    Jeffrey: The question, “What does this do?” actually sprang up as a reply to “I just don’t like it.” A way to shift the tone of the conversation away from “feelings” and over to “facts”. It won’t always work, but the conversation that results is almost always far more constructive.

    Oliver: Thanks for the kind words.

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  7. There is always the stopper when a client says “I just don’t like it”?… unfortunately reason doesn’t work in that situation!!!

    “¦ Except to point out that it’s not about the client, it’s about the end customer. You are delivering a site for the customer to use. The proper defense is to test it against real users and if the response if favorable, you can explain that it’s good for business.

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  8. David explained it in more broad terms while I was still wrestling on how to do a blockquote with Textile.

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  9. David explained it in more broad terms while I was still wrestling on how to do a blockquote with Textile.

    Ha! I heard that.

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  10. I’m often guilty of going way beyond the 30-second rule, and this may require mastery to claim Zeldman-level professionalism (Nice article, Jeffrey -Thanks!). Every designer/producer feels something welling up inside when a client rejects that brilliant idea. Explaining with examples from experience, and belief (based on facts) seems like it would take much longer than half a minute.

    Isn’t it gratifying when a client sees your point after concise explanation and agrees? One bit of advice (from experience) is to control your body language when a client explains their opinions, whether affirming or negative. And be ever so careful with email correspondence!

    BTW, did some colors change on the site? I don’t really like #E6412F in the header and titles :-)

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  11. “Ha! I heard that.” Jeffrey Your not the only one who heard that:)
    btw. I really want to thank to author of this great article, David it was a really good time reading Your article.
    Kevin I like colors on the site so maybe only You don’t like them:)
    btw. I like Your words “Every designer/producer feels something welling up inside when a client rejects that brilliant idea.” I also don’t like to feel it.

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  12. Kevin: I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit to breaking all these rules on occasion—and with gusto at that. But it’s important when that happens to seriously think about what mistakes were made and what other outcomes could’ve been reached using different tactics. Then you can chalk it up as a useful learning experience.

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  13. “Ha! I heard that.” Jeffrey Your not the only one who heard that:)
    btw. I really want to thank to author of this great article, David it was a really good time reading Your article.
    Kevin I like colors on the site so maybe only You don’t like them:)
    btw. I like Your words “Every designer/producer feels something welling up inside when a client rejects that brilliant idea.” I also don’t like to feel it.

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  14. “Ha! I heard that.” Jeffrey Your not the only one who heard that:)
    btw. I really want to thank to author of this great article, David it was a really good time reading Your article.
    Kevin I like colors on the site so maybe only You don’t like them:)
    btw. I like Your words “Every designer/producer feels something welling up inside when a client rejects that brilliant idea.” I also don’t like to feel it.

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  15. “Ha! I heard that.” Jeffrey Your not the only one who heard that:)
    btw. I really want to thank to author of this great article, David it was a really good time reading Your article.
    Kevin I like colors on the site so maybe only You don’t like them:)
    btw. I like Your words “Every designer/producer feels something welling up inside when a client rejects that brilliant idea.” I also don’t like to feel it.

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  16. Thanks for the article, I’m new to designing for people besides myself so it really helped.

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  17. BTW, did some colors change on the site? I don’t really like #E6412F in the header and titles :-)

    The colors change with every issue”¦browse our article archive to taste the rainbow.

    I believe that was meant tongue-in-cheek per the subject matter. Thus the emoticon.

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  18. Great article, good to see a generalist design article.

    The peer review is so true, but always allow time to be able to make the tweaks from the outcome of the peer review.

    On thing that does nag me however.  You suggest someone you know will have had dealings with the client’s board etc, being the inside source.  But what if you are going in totally cold with just the design based on a client brief.  This can happen with smaller firms working for say Govt. What to do then, the only people that may have inside knowledge maybe your opposition.

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  19. Gary: Like most multi-pronged approaches, when one prong is missing (or absent altogether) you need to make sure the others are that much stronger. You really can’t go wrong arming yourself with tight, succinct reasoning couched in matter of fact language. It’s all-purpose. Works with tough (not unreasonable) audiences, and serves as a great jumping off point with the more collegial, conversational ones.

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  20. @john: I still can’t figure out how to do a blockquote with Textile.

    Dealing with clients is always difficult in this business, where everybody has an opinion and an emotional investment. I appreciate seeing articles like this one on ALA. Thanks.

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  21. @john: I still can’t figure out how to do a blockquote with Textile.

    The non-apparent secret is that you need a space between that “?bq.”? and your quote. Not exactly intuitive. “Markdown”:http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/ seems much more intuitive than Textile in using the quote-carat “>” to demarcate blockquotes.

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  22. There was no mention of web design in this article and I think sometimes that’s beneficial to us all. I know I sometimes get stuck in my own little world of code and style and sometimes forget that I need to sell to stay afloat. A website is in a lot of cases just a communication medium for the company. One point that has stuck with me form this article is to inform myself about the client – I admit to not doing this enough.

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  23. Anthony: Glad you found it useful. Every now and again it’s healthy to step back from the daily routines of the job and remind yourself of first principles.

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  24. Thanks..This is good

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  25. It’s really difficult to communicate something abstract such as the design of a Website. One thing that I always do is interview the client about what is the goal of their design, what do they want to communicate? How will it affect and reflect their business. By collecting all of this information up front, it often times saves a lot of pain and back and forth in the long run.

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