Monthly Archives: Nov 2012

Clients From Hell

A collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from web designers

(None of these are ours, honest) 

“That other website is stealing our business. Can you make it so that when someone types in their address they come to our site?”

Me: “So what’s your budget?”

Client:  “Well we are well known amongst all the Russian billionaires so there is great potential for you to get your name out there by doing this project for free. Also I am a direct descendant of Genghis Khan.”

“I’m not paying you anything extra to do the website because it is simply a matter of pushing the right buttons. I know how to push buttons.”

Client: You see where you have a full stop at the end of the first sentence?

Me:  Yes.

Client:  Can you change it to a comma?

Me:  Er, well I can, but you should put a full stop at the end of a sentence.

Client:  Oh, that grammar stuff is very old fashioned.

“Our web application support team doesn’t know HTML or JavaScript, can you redo the project so you aren’t using those?”

After a lengthy presentation for the design of a microsite, the clients had a few unanswered questions. Chief among them regarded the large portraits of former actors and directors beside their bios. The conversation went something like this:

Client:  “Can you click the picture?”

Me:  “No. What do you want it to do? Enlarge?”

Client:  “No, I just want to click it.”

Me:  “But when you click it, what do you want to happen?”

Client:  “I just want to be able to click it.”

“We’d like you to illustrate this (diagram of traffic tunnel and four-lane highway), but we’d like you to make it look like this (watercolour of budgie doing aerobics).”

My client was an outdoor events company and upon seeing a competitor using a blue sky in their advertising, emailed me telling me to call this company and let them know that they had to change the colour of the sky in their ads, “because we own copyright of blue skies in this country so no-one else can use them”.

“I really like the gradient – going from red to yellow – but I don’t like orange. Can you make it go through another colour?”

Client:  “Just make it look like the site I showed you.  In fact, why don’t you go into their site and take the images?”

Me:  “Because that is illegal.”

“I want you to make it so people have to give us their email before they can look at the site. If they’re gonna look at our stuff, I want to be able to spam them afterwards.”

Client: I need video streaming, contact forms, a small database for customer comments and a new logo made and hosting for 3 years with a bit of a download option for the videos too

Me:  That all sounds reasonable, your original request terms this “Cheaply” what is your budget and I’ll advise as to what can be done realistically.

Client:  £20

“I really like it. The thing is, I showed it to my uncle, and he didn’t like it at all – he though the ‘1’ looked like an ‘i’. He was a bit drunk at the time. Do you think you could you change it?”

Make sure you have copyright and control over your website

These shocking quotes are from a local web design company’s FAQ:

Q: Copyright?

A: All website designs, logo designs etc come under the copyright of (company name) and no unauthorised use of any image or any other design feature may be copied, reproduced or referenced without prior authorisation.


Q: Who owns the website once completed?

A: All website designs are the property of (company name), the client owns the ‘domain name’ and rents the host space Unlike other web designers we offer our clients the right to buy the website design should they ever wish to leave (company name).


Q: How long will I be committed to (company name)

A: Any website design deal undertaken by (company name) will require, as part of our terms and conditions and per the detail of each individual website design deal, the commitment of a 12 month period, after which any client can leave (company name).


These terms and conditions are simply horrendous and we cannot believe any business would agree to engaging a company that offers such terms. If you are thinking of doing so then please be aware that this is NOT industry standard practice and is possibly not even legal.

How can this company get you to pay them good money to design a website and then tell you that you don’t own the design, don’t own the copyright to the content and cannot transfer the site to another hosting provider? They say this is ‘unlike other web designers’. Damn right it is. How can they have the cheek to offer to sell you a website you have already paid for?

Compare this with our T&C:

All files created, html, graphics and any other, remain the property and copyright of Webcraft UK Ltd until the final invoice is paid in full. Once payment is received full intellectual title to all files, graphics, HTML and site structure will transfer to the client.

We also allow and will facilitate transfer to another host at no charge to the client any time after the final invoice has been paid.

Please don’t accept any lesser terms when choosing a web design company. There is no point in paying good money to have a website built only to discover it is not actually yours at all.


Spanglefish – a re-appraisal

We recently received an unusual request from a self catering holiday property owner in North Uist to help them with their Spanglefish website. Those of you who have read our previous rants about the local Enterprise Gateway promoting this proprietary system will know that we are not fans – or at least, we weren’t. We had seen too many design disasters, neglected sites and pages that were best left unpublished for the good of their owners’ businesses.

The Barn website was not the worst Spanglefish site we had seen by a long way. There was a wealth of good content and much of it was sensibly formatted. The overall colour scheme and top banner however were dire, some images were broken, one page had elements that were slightly wider than the overall container and the choice of images for the home page was less than ideal.

We created a new top banner, changed the overall colour scheme (including a custom background colour to blend in with the header graphic) and fixed the formatting errors. We also added two new galleries of wildlife and landscape pictures from images supplied by the client (after cropping and resizing them – a very important issue when the maximum size picture a Spanglefish site will display is relatively small).

ScreenshotThe end result is a vastly improved site – and a somewhat less harsh view of Spanglefish from behind this web developer’s keyboard. The admin interface is easy to use, the basic page editor has all the necessary functions (though the editing window is pathetically small) and the source code can be edited. It is also possible to include custom CSS if you know what you are doing.

We still have some criticisms – in particular the current default width of a site at 750 pixels or so  does not allow enough screen real estate for modern displays, and the default colour schemes are very limited (with some truly hideous backgrounds – DON’T click on that tartan!) . If you really know what you are doing with CSS both these limitations can be overcome, but messing with the default stylesheet is not for the novice.

And – all of the above only applies if you have upgraded to Spanglefish Gold –  if you have the free version you are stuck with the terrible 3-column layout with ads etc. Upgrading is only £24.95 per annum, and does at least give you a chance to turn your site into something that doesn’t look too amateur.

If you have a Spanglefish site that could do with having a professional eye cast over it, or if you need a little help getting to grips with the system, why not give us a call?