“It’s a simple change, surely it can’t be that difficult!”
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve worked with web developers who are not giving you what you want. Seemingly simple requests are met with long timeframes, expensive quotes or long complicated reasons why things can’t be done the way you want them to.
You might be thinking “this is unreasonable!” or “is this developer price gouging me?” or even “does this person know what they’re doing?”
Surely it’s a simple process… a request comes in, a developer turns it into code. Surely it’s simple if a developer knows what they’re doing, right?
Why your expectation of ‘easy’, isn’t always that simple
Website design is not a commodity, it’s a speciality. Just because you understand how you want a website to behave or look, it grants you the badge of a website user, not a website developer. Like most finely tuned skills, web development takes over 10,000 hours of hard slog to really begin to understand the finer concepts of technical coding, design fundamentals and good user experience.
If coding a website was easy or straightforward you would be doing it yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, we love working with our clients and exploring ideas that will make their website hum. We will bend over backwards to stretch the boundaries of what we thought was possible to make something work, within your timeframe and budget
But when we are considering your request we are looking for solution that will work for you, and your visitors. Something that won’t backfire over time and won’t break the budget. We are using the technologies that are available today and the platform you have chosen to get you the best possible outcome that can be maintained, supported and will last.
But what about when it’s just a change to a plan?
Sometimes we have customers with a website plan, who decide part-way through the development process that what they thought was good then, no longer works when they see it in real life. Of course we will consider changes and often we can make them. There are times, however when changing something mid-flight means starting over completely..
One of the things that people say to me quite often is… “I’ve just got this quick change I’d like to make”, or “I’ve got a simple request…”
Sometimes seemingly simple changes are not as straightforward as they may appear.
At times I need to explain why things won’t work the way customers expect it to. Sometimes what a customer expects to be easy involves a complete rework of the whole plan – a plan which often takes weeks or months to finalise.
Your website is like a high-rise tower construction. It has firm foundations and is carefully planned to ensure that each floor can carry the load of the one above it. If you get that wrong, it can all fall down, spectacularly badly.
You can’t just go into a half-finished building and say, “I now want it to be 12 floors higher than the plan”, or “I want the twentieth floor to be double height, knock down the floor in-between”. Architects spend months getting designs right to ensure that the whole building has integrity.
It’s like your website. Making changes half way through can impact other things that are perhaps not quite as visible. So what you’re asking for as a ‘simple change’, might be like saying “I want extra basement parking for another 50 cars, so knock down some pillars in the basement to make room.”
Sometimes in the real world, things are not that simple, and new requests might be challenging and at time expensive to execute.
A set back on a change request doesn’t mean we don’t want to try, it’s just that your idea or concept is being weighed up against all the other moving parts of development to ensure at the end everything will work together.
A good developer who knows their stuff, will provide options
Your developer should be able to provide you alternatives, so listen carefully. What you hear as ‘no’ might just be ‘“no, not that way but what about if we try this”. Your developer has no interest in scamming you but they want to ensure that everyone gets to the destination. After all, that’s what you’ve employed your developer for.
When things feel stuck, a good question to ask your developer is “Tell me more about that?” Understanding why something won’t work gives you more information and a web developer should always be able to explain the rationale in a way that will help you to see the big picture.
Remember, there are always options – some simple, some costly. The key to a great website is to start with a great plan and try to stick to it. When you need to change, maintain a degree of flexibility and partnership with your developer. They want to help you, so work with them to achieve your goals.