Web Design without Shackles – a Manifesto

Technology Blog

Web Design without ShacklesIt’s sadly common to hear website owners complain that their web designers take too long to make changes, charge too much money for small updates, and generally don’t give good value. Too many designers attempt to hold their clients hostage by one means or another, such as making it technically difficult for owners to manage their website themselves, or by registering domains in their own name rather than that of the client. Often they’ll create a site for a seemingly bargain price, then milk the client by charging an ongoing fee that’s out of proportion to any service they provide.

Such practices border on scams, in my view. These designers prey on ignorant clients and take advantage of them, rather than providing the impartial advice they need to make informed decisions. They give the industry a bad name. So what should we do about this unhappy state of affairs? Well, I have an idea.

In an attempt to redress the balance, I’ve decided to start a campaign for what I’m calling “Web Design without Shackles”. Read the manifesto below and let me know what you think. And if you agree with the principles, please spread the word by putting a logo somewhere on your blog or site and linking back to this post. Comments welcome, of course!

The Web Design without Shackles Manifesto

  • In all our dealings with our clients, we’ll consider their needs as much as our own.
  • We’ll freely give honest advice.
  • We’ll not take any measures that will make it hard for clients to manage their own sites.
  • We’ll make them aware of options such as content management systems that will give them greater control.
  • We’ll charge fairly for our time and the services we provide. We’ll explain our charges clearly.
  • We’ll not make false promises about things like site traffic or search engine rankings that we can’t deliver on.
  • We won’t use copyrighted material, whether graphics or text content, without permission, and we won’t copy other site designs and pretend they’re our own.
  • Feel free to suggest improvements (and a better logo). Here’s a smaller version of it:

    Web Design without Shackles

    5 Responses to “Web Design without Shackles – a Manifesto”

    1. Neil

      Hear hear!

      I do manage domains for a few people and have annual fees etc, but it’s me that feels shackled and I’d rather people had control.

    2. Alfred Armstrong

      I’ve steered clear of actually managing domains for that very reason. Fortunately no one’s asked me to do it, yet. What I do offer is software support, because that’s something I would not expect most of my clients to be able to do for themselves.

    3. Neil

      And do you charge by the hour? If not, how? If so, do you have a set rate or does it vary. I remember when Hicks Design had his hourly rate on the website. This kind of transparency is very rare. I wonder whether anything would happen if everyone priced themselves? Would prices drop/rise?

    4. Alfred Armstrong

      I have two rates, one for HTML/CSS and similar stuff and another for development work which is about 25% higher. They reflect freelance market rates. I generally quote by the day, but I will also quote by the hour if appropriate. My daily rate is slightly less than seven times my hourly one.

      I will also quote fixed price for well-specified jobs. Usually that’s cheaper for the client.

      Pricing is a minefield! All the marketing gurus will tell you to price high rather than cheap but I always worry about putting potential customers off, as I suspect many of us do. Adding value is the key, I think. I shall have to come up with some extras I can offer as part of the package.

    Leave a Reply

    • (will not be published)

    XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>