Derek writes: _How can we foster enough respect among the stastically small yet signifigant portion of problem clients to not be dismissed like uppity help in the old south when we make a recommendation that goes counter to the vanity of the client?_
That’s a big question and one that plagues the design community at large but I’ll take a swing. In the circumstance you mention I think it helps having your back covered on three fronts: experience in the field, great design talent, and data or number to support or refute the work.
Back in the day, before they were Basecamping, Jason and Co. did a remarkable job of not only designing functional sites but they tracked the data to prove that the work they did statistically improved the performance of the site (traffic, sales, less call volume, etc.). After a few years they had amassed enough data to know what works and what doesn’t — not that you and I don’t know our industry but they had the numbers to support their convictions.
If you can’t get through to a client on the first two pillars (experience and design) then perhaps the third (numbers) will hit home. That said, working against vanity isn’t easy, if not impossible. You can only be expected to do your best and if the cilent still isn’t listening then you have every right to be uppity.