Empowering Clients Through Consulting

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We'll talk about a model of consulting that is focused on the empowerment of the clients that we work with.

Combined with How Developers and Designers Can Learn From Each Other

Designer/Developer/Empowering Clients[edit]

There's a "magic" quality in design and development - Designer's ask a developer for something that they consider magic ("make this show up here") and Developer's ask a designer to do their own "magic" (i.e. "make this look good.")

Have developers be part of the process from the beginning - including being there during the design meetings (or during each story building session if doing agile).

Talk about the difficulty of starting with a mock-up not having been involved in the IA/Wireframe process) and having to work backwards.


Empowering Clients[edit]

Talking about the difficult position of when a client is set on having something exactly the way they want it. Solution for developers/designers is often just to explain why they think that it needs to go a different way and to determine why the client is being inflexible.

A lot of clients are suffering from Post-Traumatic Web Disorder - the condition of clients who have been burnt by website projects before.

Best clients can come up with a very well defined plan of what the client really wants, especially if it can be visual.

Keep reminding clients and bringing them back to the big picture.

Ask clients about sites that they:

  • Like how they look
  • Think are easy to use

Have clients prioritize what they want out of the website.

What do you do when clients seem to change their minds in the middle of a project? Step back and think about why they're doing this. There can be goal shift, or it could be caused by some simple misunderstanding. "False disagreement" might also be the reason.

Prototyping and having clients using a site or interacting with something in the first place is a great idea.

Part of using frameworks is explaining to clients what the benefits and restrictions are of the framework, but this often isn't easy with the post-traumatic crowd.


Should clients be given a sandbox?[edit]

  • Maybe - but most in the room seem to have had bad luck with this approach.

What do you consider a successful project?[edit]

  • Is it when there's a clean hand-off and you don't get tons of email from them?

Resources for Client Communication[edit]

  • paper and pencils
  • visual communication of strategic and mission for an organization
  • SmartMeme for story training
  • Growth Consulting
  • Book: Getting to Yes
  • Book: Flawless Consulting by Peter Block