I need someone that can take everything in here (client points to head with both hands), and put it on the internet.
-- Client speaking to a freelancer
Lately, this has become one of my daily stops on the Internet when I make my rounds to ensure the 'net is still funcitoning the way it should.
Clients from Hell is a collection of short, funny anecdotes from graphic designers, web designers, application developers, and other freelancers where they tell their favorite stories of dealing with challenging customers. There's usually only two or three new stories a day so it's easy to keep up on.
It's interesting in ways beyond a customers-sometimes-do-stupid-things way. I'm often on the other side of the conversation, playing the role of the client. What I find fascinating in the whole thing is that it demonstrates a few key facts.
- Designers are under appreciated. While software has made it possible for anyone to throw up a quick website or toss together a logo, it still requires a professional to use that software to create something that's actually good.
- Customers don't speak the same language as designers. On some of the stories, it struck me that the freelancer was at fault. Customers are likely outsourcing this stuff because it is out of their realm of expertise, and the customers, in all likely hood don't know how to communicate what they want or need from the freelancer. And some freelancers don't ask the right questions or have the patience for the answers the customers might give.
- A good contract is essential. Given the way customers try to get out of paying, having clear terms is a critical issue that can prevent issues down the road.
- Some people are just plain wacky.
Check it out. It's worth a visit. If you deal with the public, you'll recognize many of the people in the stories. If instead, you are a client of these service providers, it may give you some ideas on how you can work more effectively with your service providers.