Nightmare Clients and Client Horror Stories

Advocate ,
Aug 17, 2016

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"Make it... pop."

"I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it."

"Scan my high-res GIF logo."

"Thank you for the idea. My nephew has Photoshop, and he'll take it from here."

Share your client horror stories, so we can all laugh... or cry... with you.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 17, 2016

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"How much to freshen up my website? I built it in FrontPage when Bill Clinton was President."

"Love your ideas. Can I add some small suggestions?"

Client emailing a PSD file: "Is this a vector file?"

Client emailing 20 thumbnails embedded in a Word document: "Can you use these ... ?"

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Advocate ,
Aug 17, 2016

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I feel your pain.

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Guide ,
Aug 18, 2016

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A "vehicle wrap" for a Ford F-350 Extended-Cab pickup truck, created on a US letter-size page, using low-res graphics screen-captured from the internet, cobbled together using a photo of a small GMC pickup, and all done in PowerPoint.

Oh, this was at 6 pm, and they wanted the vehicle completed by 3 pm the next day.

No. I kid you not.

We told them to try someone else.

--OB

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 18, 2016

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I've lost count of how many times I've had to explain why I can't add just one page to a saddle-stitched booklet - it has to be four pages at a time.  

Client: That blue didn't print looking as vibrant as the original photo.

Me: That's because CMYK printing can't capture all the colors that RGB can.

Client: Why can't they just print it in RGB? 

Then there was the client who loved Unsharp Mask, and figured that "sharper has to be better," and so over-sharpened all images to the point of massive halos before sending them to me.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 18, 2016

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When "your" printer contacts  "your" client and disagrees with your decisions on printing specs! Even when all has been agreed upon between you and client!

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 19, 2016

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I always accomplish everything I want to do each day... my wife says that is because I don't want to do very much

Now that I'm retired, my wife thinks I work for her... so I guess that means that I am HER non-performing employee problem!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 20, 2016

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Client:  My new website doesn't look right.  Fix it!

Me:  It looks fine to me, what's wrong with it?

Client:  You must be kidding.  Everything is messed up. You've got to fix it!

I sent some screenshots to prove the site looked fine at my end.  It turned out the client was using an inferior web browser (IE7 in Compatiblity Mode) and their Zoom settings were cranked up to 400%.  Palm to forehead

Nancy O.

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 21, 2016

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From today...

Client: Can you fix these two calculation scripts for me for $X?

Me: Sure, send me the file and I'll have a look at it.

Client sends file... It's a mess.

Me: Listen, you have a lot of problems in your file. I can fix it all for you for X+(a very small amount), to make sure it all works as it should.

Client: No, that's OK, just do what I asked for the original amount.

Me: OK, but it might not work correctly because of the other issues.

Client: OK. Just do what I asked for.

I send back the edited files...

Client: What is this? There are error messages and it's not working correctly!

Me: Yes, I know. I told you that's what would happen if the other issues are not fixed, but you didn't want to do it for the additional cost, so now it's your problem.

Client: You stole from me! You didn't do anything!

Me: No, I did exactly what I said I will do and I warned you in advance what the results might be. If you want I can fix it now, but it will cost extra, due to all the time I wasted on this.

In retrospect I should have not taken the job in the first place when they refused to pay extra to solve the rest of the issues they had in their file... You live and learn, I guess.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2016

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It's not just clients that can create problems, (in this case for themselves) -

Discussing new ideas for the web site, (designers first time in such meetings, most people normally say as little as possible in such cases).

Designer - Can we not use 3d graphics?

Me - yes, but it takes a lot of time, and images require a 3d viewing device anyway

Stakeholder - How much time?

Me - For images it will take at least 3x longer.

Designer - We will supply the images, in the same time span.

Designer - What about 3d animations?

Me - We could use WebGL 3d, but there are no tools so everything will have to be done by hand, (JavaScript).

Stakeholder - Do these require a specific viewing device?

Me - No, it can work in all modern browsers, and modern mobile devices.

Stakeholder - Can we have a demo of images and animations using 'xyz' by the end of the week, (it's Thursday am)?

Me - No, I'll need at least 3-4 weeks.

Designer - My department can do it.

After meeting -

Designer - What was that you said to use, and how does it work?

It's now 3 months later, and I am still waiting for the designer to supply even the 1st image, let alone the WebGL 3D animation. Last I heard he was looking for a new employer.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 22, 2016

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That reminds me of another annoying habit some clients have... Namely, asking you to create a "demo" (for free, of course), so they can decide whether or not they are interested in the project. What they don't usually understand, though, is that it takes as much effort and time to develop a demo as it does the full thing. You sometimes even need to work more on a demo version, because it's basically a full version of the project that's been limited on purpose.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 22, 2016

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I can relate.  Working with designers who have no web experience is a deal breaker for me.  I just won't do it anymore.  

Or how about the designer who sends you a PSD file with 100 layers named Layer1, Layer2, Layer3, etc?  Or the reverse, they send you a PSD comp that's been flattened!

Nancy O.

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2016

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What makes the designers lack of understand worse to me, is that it was a good one.

He just had no idea what he was talking about, and thankfully I don't have to work with psd's anymore

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 26, 2016

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Technically challenged clients?   I had a very long back and forth with a web designer who insisted "Save for Web" in Photoshop was the only way to produce Jpegs.

The trouble is that he wanted to know how to modify it to take on larger files.  It seemed like File > Save as > jpeg didn't register and he kept asking the same question. When he finally got it...his reason was SFW is what his instructor said to use.

ef5.jpg

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Advocate ,
Aug 31, 2016

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Sometimes it helps that clients have a little education. At other times, though, you get situations like that.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 31, 2016

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Pariah Burke wrote:

Sometimes it helps that clients have a little education. At other times, though, you get situations like that.

Thankfully this is the only one that stands out in all my years.

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Explorer ,
Aug 29, 2016

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I had to shoot a car lot on September 12, 2001. Yeah, the day after September 11th. Think back to that time. We still thought there might be survivors under the rubble. The sky was silent except for military jets. I had to go shoot.

The client was donating a "portion" of any sale to red cross. Nothing altruistic here. He would only donate if someone bought a car from him. In between takes, he was joking that he wasn't going to say what the portion would be.

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Advocate ,
Aug 31, 2016

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DonaldDoss wrote:

I had to shoot a car lot on September 12, 2001. Yeah, the day after September 11th. Think back to that time. We still thought there might be survivors under the rubble. The sky was silent except for military jets. I had to go shoot.

The client was donating a "portion" of any sale to red cross. Nothing altruistic here. He would only donate if someone bought a car from him. In between takes, he was joking that he wasn't going to say what the portion would be.

I remember September 12th well. I was teaching a new crop of Adobe Support technicians.

Your client sounds like a real peach.

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Participant ,
Sep 05, 2016

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Just finished a website for a bible study group run by an old friend.  He gave me a few dozen PDF files and a couple dozen audios of lectures to embed.  Pretty straight forward stuff.

The worst part was the incessant effort to convert me!  He knows my beliefs will never coincide with his, but he never gives up  (so I started trying to convert him to Atheism, just for fun)  (that almost worked, but not for long)  (persistent little bugger!).

At least I thought that was the worst part!  After it was done, he loved the site and said he bought 10 more domain names and wants me to make them all!!  I thought that was great!

So I asked him what he wanted on them.

He said he had no idea and wanted me to "just make stuff" for them.

He really had no idea why I couldn't do anything for him so far as creating content for something like that.  I am unashamedly ignorant of the material and totally incapable of creating content that would be meaningful.

But he kept insisting that I just find stuff for it.

He linked me to another site that had a bunch of articles and pdf files, then asked me to just post all of those!

I asked if he had permission to use their material on his site, and how I should credit the original source.  He replied to just use it uncredited...

Needless to say, I explained about copyright laws and how I really did not want to get involved in a possible legal dispute.

He said that since it was for god, that there was no way anything bad could happen!! 

So I told him I would write the site owners who had the material he wanted to steal and ask permission.  He insisted I not do that in case they said no...

I hate to turn down work at this early stage of my career, but I had to.

I still find it HYSTERICAL that being untrained and not having a degree or certification, the only web work I can get is from Porn Sites and Churches!

What a resume 

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Sep 05, 2016

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I guess he skipped class when they taught Exodus 20:15... You did the right thing, though.

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Participant ,
Sep 05, 2016

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It never ceases to amaze me that clients in general have no idea that you can't just take pictures, videos, and articles from other places and use them freely.

But this guy should have known better - especially after it was explained to him why it's unwise...

But yeah, I did the only thing I could.  I'll see if he wants the same content from the other site, just repackaged.  Or split the content between sites?  Or make a few sub-sites with similarly themed stuff from the main site and keep the main site as a complete library?

There are still ways to get money from him legally!!

Hopefully he'll "See The Light!" 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 05, 2016

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I see a couple of red flags with this character.

Ask your  client how he would react if his competitor's site scraped & used all your client's content without permission.   Would God also protect the competitor from a lawsuit?  The knife cuts both ways here.

I know you said he's an 'old friend' but I don't like working with devious people. Deviousness is bad karma.  Eventually, their nature will come back to bite you.  In his mind, nothing bad can happen because it's all 'God's work'.  If you do keep working for this guy, get your money up front.  Don't do anything on spec.

In my experience, adult sites are very good clients to work with.  They pay well, they pay on time and they know what they want.  For them, it's a business; not a religious calling.

Nancy O.

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Sep 05, 2016

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I agree with the first paragraphs (have no experience regarding the latter...). If he has no qualms about stealing someone else's work he won't have any doing it to you, either, friend or no friend.

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Participant ,
Sep 06, 2016

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I agree completely about the dangers of such people, but fortunately I convinced him to go the correct route.  I do worry about such things.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 05, 2016

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On a related note, I read that church based websites are more likely the ones malware will be planted and distributed than professional adult sites.

Many times a church will call upon someone in their congregation to volunteer to do the work, and they are likely not fully trained especially in security.

Adult sites for the very reason Nancy mentioned will be sure to hire a professional because it is a business and getting hacked is bad for that business.

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