Is the client always right?

Jun 12, 2023

2 min read

When the client tells you there is a problem they are usually right, when they tell you how to solve it they are usually wrong.

In my first project working as a freelancer, I admit that I made many mistakes. Back then I didn't have much domain over Figma and I didn't have much knowledge and experience on how to carry out a design process for an app, but the biggest mistake had nothing to do with that.

My biggest mistake was to do everything my client asked me to do, without asking myself or the client if it made sense, or more important, if it was really necessary for the MVP we were designing.

This had two main consequences:

  1. The project took much longer than what I estimated in the budget, so I ended up working a lot more for the same money.

  2. The most important one, the product ended up being so large and complex that after two months of design, the client realized that developing the app and taking it to the market was going to take a lot of time, budget, and effort which they were not willing to assume. Therefore, the project was discarded in its entirety.

The problem that we had established at first made a lot of sense and was already validated by many potential users, but what we designed to solve that problem was wrong (or at least it was at this early stage).

By keep on adding functionalities, we lost focus and deviated from the original problem, and ended up dedicating a lot of time to thinking of more user flows, more components, and more screens. The result is that we ultimately ended up with something very difficult to develop as an MVP.

Some important lessons I learned from this and that I try to put into practice on every new project are:

  • Deeply understand the main problem we are addressing, and the target audience that has that problem.

  • Define how the MVP looks like before heading into design. It's important to separate the "must have" from the "nice to have".

  • Is this functionality really necessary at this stage? Don't stop asking that question to yourself when designing and thinking of new things, you might be surprised and realize that what you are working on can be postponed for future versions.

  • When the client suggests an idea that is wrong or makes little sense, don't be afraid of saying it and convince them (with arguments) that there is a better alternative. Remember that they hire us because we are the experts, and it's our responsibility to deliver the best possible product.

Thanks for reading. If you want to share experiences and maybe go deeper into other topics, please get in touch!

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