So last week I tried using a language analogy for a client’s project. The project manager said the project was straight HTML/CSS when in fact it was C++.
To help him understand the problem I used this analogy: “Let’s say you’re asking me to write something in a specific language, I am fluent in English and Spanish. Meanwhile, your project is in Chinese. Since I don’t know Chinese and it is not remotely similar to any of the languages I know, I am not your best option for this project. You need someone who is fluent in this specific language for the project to be successful and stay on budget.”
He said he understood and thanked me for my time.
This morning I received an IM from another developer asking: “Why is ‘so and so’ asking us if we are fluent in Chinese?”
Client: I threw out that black pen, it was out of ink.
Me: What black pen?
Client: The one that was lying on your tablet.
Me: You threw out my $150 Wacom pen?
Client: I tried writing with it and it didn’t work. It must’ve been out of ink.
Charles Babbage received funds from the English Treasury between 1823 to 1842 to build his engine. Today, we would know that engine to be more akin to a mechanical computer.
Babbage recorded his interactions with two members of parliament. It went as follows:
On two occasions I have been asked,—
“Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?”
I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
Client: These drawings you sent me are all screwed up. This is an abomination and you should be ashamed.
Me: What’s wrong with them, exactly?
After a lot of back and forth, I figure out the issue.
Me: I think I understand. The drawings you are having issue with were ordered and shipped last month.
Me: And the issue is that you are missing a bunch of drawings from the set?
Me: And the drawings you are missing were sent to me, by you, yesterday?
I can tell it’s not quite sinking in.
Me: So, you ordered and got drawings last month.
Me: Then, yesterday, you sent me new drawings.
Me: That you wanted in the set I sent you last month.
Client: Yes. What aren’t you understanding!?
Needless to say, I now make that client put all his orders in writing before he signs off.
Me: I think it’s not a good idea to design such a complicated registration form for a mobile website. Wouldn’t a username and password be enough? The more obstacles or steps you give your users, the fewer that will sign up.
Client: See, that’s exactly what the PDF link is for. Users can download instructions that detail how to fill in the form.
"Is there a way to view the HTML without seeing all the coding?"
I’ve been editing short videos for a client and uploading them to YouTube so that I don’t have to burn a DVD for each iteration. After finishing a near-final cut…
Client: This is a disaster! The audio is echoing!
I double-check both the original and the uploaded version. Both are fine.
Me: I’m not sure why that could be. All the audio files are on one channel with no duplicates. Let me re-render/upload and see if it was just a simple computer glitch.
I send the new cut.
Client: The audio keeps repeating! And it doesn’t stop when I hit pause! It just cuts the echo out.
Me: Wait a second, are you double-clicking?
Client: What does that have to do with anything?
Me: I mean, are you double-clicking and opening up the page more than once? That would cause it to “echo.”
Client: Forget it, I fixed the problem.
Client: Three things. First of all, I approve it.
Client: Second, we’re good to go to print.
Me: Fantastic! I’ll send it to the printers now. What was the third thing?
Client: I wanted to talk about the quantities here and the font here.
"It’s all about A.D.T - attention to detail."
Client: This promo leaflet you’ve designed is poor. I don’t like the lifestyle shots.
Me: We discussed the lifestyle shots with you months ago, got them done, and then you approved them.
Client: Yes, well, just because I approve something it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve looked at it properly or think it’s any good!