Hiring Web Consultant - why not?

snowballsnowball Posts: 1subscriber
Hello everybody. I spent a lot of time in last couple of weeks browsing through very interesting content on this website, and I am hoping that idea of joining  the community will help me get better understanding of business issues that I am facing to in my everyday business life. Hopefully, I might provide some tips that will be found useful by other members.I`ve read few interesting topics related to web design or hiring web professionals. I am in that business as well and, from my experience, I think that we live in a time where majority of people, even if they are everyday Internet users, still are not aware of the complexity of the web design and development process. Don`t get me wrong here! I think that bigest portion of blame should be put on web professionals. Very often, expectations has not been met, or deadlines are nothing more than ink on the paper.In order to help myself by explaining my position to potential Client, I`ve found a story that I try to stick to as much as possible in initial project discussion with Client.Since my wife is an architect, I discovered a lot of similiarities between web design/development on one side, and architecture/engineering on the other. Without minimizing the fact that average cost of designing and building a house is much higher than average cost of designing and building a website, there are a bunch of similiarities related to discovering Client`s goals, requirements and limitiations, planning, conceptual design and other preproduction issues that are very important to be known before any accurate project cost can be provided. Average Client will understand architects` or engineers` position and will never plan to build a house without an architect or at least, model house blueprint. I guess my question is: Why average Clients in need of a website, will in 9 out of 10 cases, avoid hiring consultant who can, in short amount of time, articulate his/her ideas, objectives, etc (and even upgrade them) and prepare Project Documentation that can be used as a "Request for Proposal" Document sent to different web D&D companies? Replies to that RFP would be comparable and there would be significanly less room for misunderstandings, confusion and frustration.Project documentation can cover, more or less, everything: from storyboard/prototyping, high-level functional specification, case scenarios, information and navigation structure, to design directions and content and imagery requirements. By receiving this document attached to Request for Proposal, web professionals would be able to provide honest and very accurate estimate, and Client would be able to comparedifferent quotes based on same, precise information. How bad is that?
snowball2006-11-21 17:47:9

Comments

  • snowballsnowball Posts: 1subscriber
    I understand your frustration. Provided quote ranges can be incredibly wide, but is also understandable if requirements are not outlined as best as possible.From my perspective, in order to have a clear big picture, I need to know much more details than one page Word document. In order to get to the point where I know enough, I often need to spend decent amount of time without having any commitment from potential Client. If that Client would hire consultant to articulate his requirements, than my quote would be much more honest and accurate. Or, in different scenario, I also offer them to hire me as a consultant, where I would deliver complete project documentation and let them shop around with it. Did you end up using professional, or you did it by yourself? 
  • snowballsnowball Posts: 1subscriber
    Well, from your (and mine) view, most of what you said is right. However, and as I said in my initial post,  I think that the lot of the blame should be put on web professionals (or "professionals"). Many professionals are taking advantage of Client`s limited knowledge which  in combination with following reasons, sets a road to disaster:Reason 1: Web professionals downsize the importance of discovery and information gathering phases;Reason 2: They spread a feel of "don`t worry, it`s easy, and it`s going to look and function exactly as you said";Reason 3: They offer ideas and options without having any information about Client`s budget;Reason 4: They accept to bid on projects without precise requirements;Quality Web consulting service would solve this problem, because Consultant and Client would be on the same side of the fence. Based on fact that Consultant is not, by default, the one who will develop the web site, Client will have many benefits:1. he will get an articulated set of documents2. he will be comfortable with specifing the budget3. he will get non-biased professional opinion about available solutions4. he will be able to shop around, get accurate quote, and have ability to compare them;
    snowball2006-11-22 13:5:53
  • LessAccountingLessAccounting Posts: 1subscriber
    my company builds websites and due to so many crappy designers undercutting us, we raised our prices.  We only work on projects 5k+ --- people have to realize you get what you pay for.  my company
  • ChuckChuck Posts: 6subscriber
    You do get what you pay for, and there are valid comparisons between those two professions.  Since it is valid, it`s worth taking it to the logical conclusion - in architecture/building, I`m sure there are any number of house plans and designs that are constantly reused.  When you look at a new housing development, buy a manufactured home, etc. - the provider of the home is saving by not having to have an architect (the equivalent of a professional website consultant) create individual plans for each of those homes.  They get a few plans and recreate the end result again and again.In the same way, there are numerous sites out there with website templates - you`re not going to have an original and custom-tailored solution, but you`ll have something functional that might meet your needs (in the same way that a non-custom home won`t have exactly what you want, but you`re willing to compromise for the reduction in cost).So it doesn`t surprise me in the least that people make this tradeoff.  Ten years ago the simplest website was a project, these days the needs of many website owners don`t rise above what`s available in commoditized products (templates), so web professionals will continue to have to adapt to that changing environment.
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