Web clients love custom designs. And yes, some unique changes can turn a pre-made template into a beautiful and original design, and if not there are the wonders that can be done from Divi templates, for example.
While there is nothing wrong with customizing your clients’ website, customization can go too far.
Accepting too many requests can turn your projects into overtime and drive you crazy. Recently I’ve had to deal with some clients of this type, so I know what I mean, surely you do too, and if you don’t, sooner or later you may incur this problem.
If you want to avoid these problems, here are some good reasons to limit the amount of changes you offer your customers.
The web that never ends
Every designer, developer or implementer has worked with at least one client who requested a never-ending number of changes to their website.
At first, the requests seem reasonable and easy to implement. Then, the requests become more complex and sometimes threaten the entire site infrastructure and even common sense.
Many web mockups allow for extensive customization of templates, covers, and even the entire site. However, accepting every request you receive means you’ll be spending precious time on features that don’t necessarily support your client’s overall goal.
If you don’t set limits, you’ll end up falling into a loophole of endless requests. In my experience, there are two things you need to do to manage excessive requests:
- Have a written application process – Don’t let customers email you their ideas in a crazy way. Require them to go through a strict application process. Create a simple form for clients to fill out to make their requests. Take a few days to review their application and send them a formal response in the same format explaining the rejected applications. When a customer has to go through a formal process to request a change, they will think carefully about their request. Instead of flooding your inbox with uncontrolled emails every time they have an idea, they’ll give you an organized outline of what they want.
- Limit the number of individual requests you will consider – Never allow customers to send unlimited change requests. In addition to a formal request process, you need rules about how many requests you will accept. For example, you can limit review requests to 5 formal requests per project. It is perfectly acceptable to let customers make several requests with each formal request; the goal is to get them to focus their requests on a finite number of formal processes. Accept additional requests at your discretion depending on the time available and the project timeframe.
Each time you accept a request, you commit yourself and your team to another cycle of testing, verification and restructuring.
Excessive customization detracts from the value of the website
All changes you make must serve to improve or strengthen the purpose of the website. If you make changes that don’t contribute to the main purpose of the website, it’s a waste of the customers’ money and your time.
Of course, many customers do not know when the requested change is a waste of money. Some customers cling to ideas like using animations to highlight all the buttons and almost any crazy idea they can think of.
Unless the sole purpose of your customer’s website is to entertain users, try to convince them that some of the features are useless.
Over-customization gives clients too much control over the project
When you say “yes” to every request a client makes, you unknowingly put him in charge of the project. Customers tend to want more control than is good for them.
When a client feels that he is in charge of the whole project, he is more likely to demand features that are not suitable for his project and reject design elements that work in his favor.
It’s a strange dance you have to do with clients, because they don’t always know what’s best for them. The more control you have over the project, the easier it is to keep them in line with their goals.
Clients often confuse personalization with embodiment/brand image
People love to personalize everything, including their websites. That’s fine for a personal site, however, business sites do not benefit from embodiment.
There is an important difference between personalization and embodiment:
- Customization refers to the overall process of making changes.
- Embodiment refers to changes that are specifically personal.
Some business owners may not even be aware that they are trying to embody, not personalize, their business site.
Fulfilling too many requests from a customer can encourage them to be too creative.
For example, a customer might ask you to put a giant selfie on the home page, or they might ask you to change the color scheme to their favorite soccer team’s colors so they can “show their support”.
If you have never refused a request, they will be hurt when you say “no” to this kind of request, so learn soon to say “NO”.
To meet project deadlines and get results for your clients, keep customizations to a minimum.
Someday, they’ll thank you for setting limits.
Read this post in Spanish: Por qué no es buena idea hacer demasiadas personalizaciones en las webs de tus clientes