I’ve been a web designer since 1994. One of my first clients was a local lawnmower dealership who already had a website.
At first, the website allowed you to “purchase” items, which you then paid for when you collected them from their shop. After several years of begging, they reluctantly allowed me to integrate PayPal payment buttons so it actually worked like a real e-commerce website.
Then one day, out of the blue, the directors called me and told me they wanted it redesigned. Hallelujah! When I first met them in the late ’90s the site already looked 10 years out of date, by now it was positively prehistoric. Now I could finally showcase to them how good I am at what I do.
I went in to my meeting with a full plan, designs and reasons for those designs. I had asset examples, details about every choice I was making.
They loved it.
I left that meeting and immediately got to work. The next three weeks were a blur of .asp, HTML and CSS, with regular updates to the client and encouragement in return. I built a custom site from scratch, and even transferred all 500+ products to the new system as part of the deal.
We agreed a date for the transfer of the new site to the live server. I had everything ready to go, and as they wanted to “press the button” themselves to make it live, I had a splash screen with my company logo on it saying “watch this space”.
Literally two minutes before it was due to go live one of the directors stepped in:
Client: I just want to confirm that customers aren’t going to notice any difference and get confused?
Me: Well, it’s a completely new design that you and the other directors approved. The only similarities are the logo and that they’re both for you lawnmower business.
Client: But those designs aren’t going live, right?
Me: Uh… Of course they are. It’s a completely new design – as requested, as quoted, as built and approved.
Client: Oh no, we can’t have that. It needs to look the same as the old site. What about the backend, is that different too?
Me: Yes, it’s now considerably easier to use, has no downtime when uploading products unlike the current site, and I eliminated the possibility of making mistakes which currently bring your existing site offline on an almost daily basis until you panic and reupload an old backup.
Client: No, the backend needs to be the same too. Why did you change everything?
Me: Because you told me to…?
Luckily because of previous bad experiences with idiot clients, I didn’t remove the old code from the server, I had it in a backup folder. I deleted all the new stuff, dragged all the old code into the server root and handed them an invoice.