We’ve all been there — from both sides of the table — you have a website, you work with someone who makes changes for you, and you need something changed.
You do what you’ve always done, you fire up your email, you shoot an email over to your web developer saying:
Please change the photo on the homepage to the one of the guy holding a spoon.
Seems straight forward enough, right? Well, what if there’s more than one photo on the homepage? What if you’ve got give photos of a guy holding a spoon uploaded? Now your web developer has to respond asking for more information, which slows down your ultimate request of getting your website updated.
Be concise, but clear
As part of our delivery of projects to clients, we try to educate them on how to ask for changes down the road. I always come back to “be concise, but clear”. Your time is valuable, but our time is expensive. The more we go back and forth, the more your valuable time is wasted, the more you end up paying for what should be a simple change.
When you make a request, be clear about what you want, even if you don’t know how to describe it.
Please change the first photo (of the guy holding a fork) on the homepage to the one of the guy holding a spoon (guy-holding-spoon.jpg)
Your email here isn’t much longer, but now I, as your web developer, know which photo you want changed and which one you want it changed to.
Why is this helpful? I’m okay emailing a couple of times.
Aside from time being both valuable and expensive, it can also be frustrating as the web developer to not know what you’re asking for.
We get a lot of folks who contact us to the effect of “my web guy stopped responding to my emails and I need help”, or “my guy ghosted me”. There’s not usually a clear reason why, but developer frustration is sometimes a factor. Sometimes we, as web developers, might not want to deal with all the back and forth emails for something that ends up bringing in $10 for a simple HTML change.
Being clear with your request is helpful because it’ll help you build a great relationship with your web developer. The strength of the relationship you have is sometimes more important than the money you spend with your web developer.
Can it be even easier?
It can always be easier than email. If your developer offers some sort of live chat (we do!), that’s usually quicker and easier.
As of recently, we’ve started offering our clients a product called Project Huddle, which lets you leave feedback right on your website. You click, you type a comment, and everything gets handled from the backend of the site.
It saves both of us a bunch of time and effort.
No matter how you’re asking for help, be clear in your expectations. When possible, provide the URLs of the pages you’re talking about (just saying the page name isn’t always helpful enough), specify which text or photo you want changed (and with what), and be sure to include the exact changes you want to have.
If you’re asking for a color change, be specific. If you know the hex value of the color, provide it. “Change the blue to a darker blue” may make sense in your head, but if you knew how many darker blues there are on the web, your head might actually rupture.