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?