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What defines effective dialogue between a website owner and his or her web developer?

Communication is the key to any successful long-lasting relationship. Be it in business or when nestled up comfortably with your sweetie it is endlessly important that all parties involved understand each other. Preferably any communication is concise and deliberate and received with focus and active questioning in response when necessary. You might ask, “Whose responsibility is it that a message conveyed is a message received?” It is up to you in your relationships to assign percentages to parties according to your own sensibilities. In this article I’ll operate under the assumption that the responsibility is shared equally.

My business relationships have been voluminous and share many things in common. The first thing these relationships have all shared is that everyone is busy. So the question becomes, “How can vendor and client move through their communication quickly with a high level of understanding in an effort to get to what is really important (the work)?”

Assume as little as possible

The busyness in business cries out for shortcuts. In communication shortcuts often mean a lot of assuming. Assuming someone understands you seems a quicker solution than taking the time to actually confirm it. Many times I think we get away with this. There have been a number of times I haven’t. A client asks for a task performed. I tell them what’s involved. I assume I understand what they want. They assume I understand what they want. They end up with something different than what they thought they asked for. We need another point of communication which takes longer than the first and a second round of tasks. Did we really take a shortcut?

Develop a lexicon

This responsibility will most likely fall on the shoulders of the web developer. You will have the most experience in the web world. You’re more familiar with key terms. Educating your clients and continually using proper industry terminology will help you in the long run. It is okay to remind your client that the “skinny gray area” of the page is actually the sidebar. Don’t let the terms you use remain gray areas. In the event that a client can’t seem to adhere to an industry term remember that the most important thing is that you use the same term to describe the same thing. Be flexible. Use their term if you need to.

Document processes for bug reporting

When developing any online application or really any web based process that requires scripting there will be bugs. The library of code an application uses is often so interwoven that a change in one corner of your application will change and/or break another corner. As a client you will find bugs in your applications. The way you interact with your website will be very different than the way your web developer does. The less internet savvy you are the larger that gap becomes. You may need to report a bug at some point. The way you do this is crucial to its speedy resolution.

At times bugs present themselves in very specific ways. A click before drag and then a refresh may throw an error that a double click before a drag and refresh does not. When reporting a bug it is important for a web developer to know even the most minute details about how the bug presented. If a programmer can’t reproduce the bug he may not be able to fix it.

Clients, document your processes. It may be tedious work when you’re doing it but this is your best chance if you want your issue resolved and resolved quickly.

Take notes and save emails

This one is a simple one but you see how it makes sense. As a client or a vendor I’m sure you remember a time when you couldn’t recall something that was said in a meeting. Why force another point of contact? Keep your notes neat and your emails archived.

In summary:

There are many more things you could do to improve your communication with your clients or vendors. I think it is paramount just simply to have its efficiency be a part of your thought life. Considering ways to make your working relationships work better will most likely make it happen extemporaneously on some level.

3 responses to “What defines effective dialogue between a website owner and his or her web developer?”

  1. I work in a web designing studio and I can truly relate to this article. A lot of times I would drill my brains because i cannot get my word through to my clients and then the whole situation would go round and round.

    This is a good article, very interesting read
    Thank you

    Aurora Designs

  2. Jill says:

    true. very well said.

  3. Download24 says:

    Well, communication is a crucial thing when it comes to marketing, negotiation, even our life.

    But bad communication can really be an issue when it comes to dialogue between website owners and web developers. Just look at it – how can you do something good when you don’t understand each other. Nice post.

What defines effective dialogue between a website owner and his or her web developer?

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