Understanding Your Client

Over the course of the year I’ve dealt with clients from one end of the spectrum to the other. Every client has also given me valuable learning lessons. The most recent being a training session. The key lesson learned  - understand your client’s expectations of site and their level of computer and web knowledge.

Before handing off a newly developed web site, you need to train the client on how to maintain it (unless you’re going to maintain it). From the previous assessments made about the client’s tech saavy knowledge, you will be able to produce a better training presentation. They will have to be individualized to each client.

If the site was designed using dynamic web templates (DWTs), the client will be able to change only the editable areas and upload to their hosting via Dreamweaver or Expression Web. In content management systems(CMS), they can edit the content via an Internet access log in and have various user access levels.

I just had a training session with a client. In this case, I used DWTs in my design in order to maintain consistency throughout the site, and I didn’t have too much experience with CMS as of the time of design and development. Prior to the training session, I felt the training materials were thoroughly put together and the web site was done very simplistic for their level of understanding of web development. As the end of the training session drew near, I had a sense that the client was unconvinced they could handle the maintenance. Reflecting back on the experience, I realize now that I may have overwhelmed the client with information. I may have had to use just step-by-step directions instead of the all the step-by-step directions AND web content tips/training.

After the session, I handed off the project and reassured the client everything will be just fine. It isn’t as difficult as they think it is. I reminded the client that if after reviewing the training materials, they could contact me with any additional questions – I would be there to help.

I know clients are unique and handle things differently from one another. It is a great reminder to have such issues arise to help make your total learning experience truly invaluable. All the little details and issues will only make your training and education get that much stronger.

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