AMA – Clients that destroy websites and using developers

Here are 2 questions I got from Sara a student from the Process Masterclass. With her permission I've shared them here and hopefully it can help others out there. 

At some point the client with get “your” web design in their hands with their pictures and their content. Do you think that the sites often are less good after a while? Some of my client have really fucked their sites up, nothing is how it should be any more. And I can not show the website to other clients.

Hi Sara! :) This is a great question and one I used to struggle with a lot too. The thing is as designers a lot of the time we feel attached to “our” work. And that when clients can’t maintain the beauty and aesthetic of the site we get disappointed because it won’t look good in “our” folio. The problem with this is we are focusing too much on ourselves and not the outcomes for the client and their users. Which should be number 1. Of course beautiful design can lead to good business. So it is our job to communicate that. If we fail to deliver that message, or the agencies/companies we work for fail to deliver that message. Then it is on “us” as designers that the designs have turned to shit. (visually speaking) The reality is not all clients are going to care no matter what we say. So the key is to find clients whose businesses value aesthetic design work. (Of course design is much more than how something looks but that’s the angle of the question) So the short answer is 

1. Inform your clients on the benefits of having an aesthetic/cohesive site 

2. If that fails find clients that know the value of aesthetic work (They exist haha I’ve worked with many of them)

3. Regarding your folio you can always just put the version that you are happy with and talk about your processes. (No one can take that away from you) And then when you show new clients you can talk about the shortcomings of having a fucked up a site afterwards haha. 

Just remember clients aren’t paying us for us to add neat and pretty websites to our folios. They pay us to solve problems that they have. So that’s the answer to your first question :)

Another thing I thought about is next step, how you communicate your design to the developer. Do you have contact with the developer or is that up to the client? And if you have contact with the client, how much time do you spend with that? Do you prefer a special CMS or do you now work with any special CMS? What do you create your own website in?

This is also another great question, you are on a ROLL! Haha. I believe that if you want to create a great outcome you need to work extremely close with developers. So where possible I will try to work closely with them. But sometimes I am only working on the design phase for some clients. So what I would then do is create prototypes so developers can see exactly what my intentions are. (Do little videos like in the prototyping lessons) And communicate closely with them on different parts of the designs. 

I don’t work with specific CMS because every project requires something different.Some companies ie. Banks have tens of millions invested in old infrastructure so you will have to adhere to the limitations and use their developers for whatever design solution you propose so that’s the first pickle. And every site requires something different depending on it’s purpose. Shopify for smaller ecommerce stores. BigCommerce for larger retailers. For example, so it depends. 

For my own websites – I use squarespace and semplice for wordpress. Both are simple to use and doesn’t require me to code too much. I hope that helps 😁


I think it's important as a design community to share what we know. Whether you are a veteran or starting out there's always something you can share that can help others. I had a ton of questions when I started out and I still have a ton of questions now, I learn a ton from the people kind enough to take the time and to share their knowledge. So pay it forward.