experience with clients from hell
Friday, April 18 2014
The coolness continued, though it was less pleasant today due to overcast conditions. I had to start a fire relatively early in the afternoon and run an electric spaceheater to drive the chill out of the laboratory so I could get some work done.
My guy in Los Angeles got me a quickie job building out a sort of resume website for a woman he has worked for before. So beginning yesterday, I've been cranking away at it, building a framework following her design and populating it with data from a MySQL database administered through my ever-reliable proprietary database administration tool, Tableform. Because one of the pages was designed with a bunch of images that had been chaotically laid out in a way that could never be programmatically determined, I built a nifty feature into the site allowing someone logged into the administrative tool to interactively drag the pictures around on the front end and then save them. I built a feature like this once before for Tableform's interactive table relationship and mapping feature, but this version is so simple and easy to implement I could see using it a lot in the future. Another benefit is that its position saver actually works in Google Chrome. Tableform's works in the other browsers, but the one I mostly use. Interestingly, though, recently I noticed that one important Tableform feature that hadn't been working in Chrome suddenly started working, suggesting that Chrome itself had been fixed in a recent update. (That feature made it impossible to read certain dynamically-created form inputs.)
After all that work on the site, which really was above and beyond the scope of the project, I got an email from the client that went like this:
I haven't read the whole thing but I'm not really happy about this. I thought I explained that I need a website where I can plug in type and images because I'm not at the point where I even have all the images found figured out. It's a pretty simple site so why all this gobbly-gook. And is there a reason why I can't have all this on my ftp so I can just download, load up and then post.
Michael, this is not how we have worked in the past. At this late hour, I just don't understand why this way???
Yes, the client hadn't bothered to read my long and detailed instructions for how to use the tool I'd prepared for her and was reacting as though somehow I had the power to venture into the future and gather the images that she hadn't yet made and somehow position them in their quirky locations on her site. Mind you, I'd found out about this job only two days ago, and this client hadn't yet assembled all the content, yet somehow she was expecting a multipage site to appear without her having to do anything, evidently through the magic of something she'd heard of called "FTP."
My first reaction was to think the client must be a particularly venomous subspecies of evil bitch, but when Michæl;l got back to me on it, he explained that she is "an older Asian woman" and that my admin tool had overwhelmed her. In the past, she'd provided all the materials up front and Michæl;l had laid out static pages for her, and everything had gone well. She'd even paid on time. This time, evidently, was the first experience she'd had with a dynamic site having publication tools. And she hadn't expected the resulting complexity. Michæl;l managed to talk me down about this issue, though I still went to bed wanting to strangle that client. I haven't had much experience with clients from hell, so I should count myself lucky. I should have also known better before suggesting that Michæl;l give me the client's email address; up until then it had been clear that he was trying to be a buffer between her and me.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
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