In my profession, occasionally I’ll get an email from a client requesting if I can ‘throw something up on the[ir] website.’ I’ve had good laughs with co-workers and colleagues in the past about this, because this question is ultimately very loaded and is anything but the simplicity the question implies. This question implies that I could do this task as easily as throwing a basketball through a hoop. (Which doesn’t take very long, by the way.)
Now to be fair, there is nothing wrong with this question. I’m sure in other industries (that I know nothing about) I’ve ask similarly naive questions. (Haha… I can’t think of any right now!) The questioner simply doesn’t know what it takes and more importantly doesn’t know what questions to really ask. This is a huge part of my job. To ask questions. It’s amazing actually, as I type this, how many questions I do ask on a daily basis. I have a bit of a complex about asking too many questions. Alas, that’s the way I work. I need information. I need to know how something functions, how it looks, where it goes, how it integrates, how do you, the client, need to administer it, if at all?
So the take away?
As with most challenges in life, you have to think through it. So what if it’s a loaded question? Be nice. I’d have to dig down and figure this out even if a client wrote me a book on what s/he wanted. This is nothing more than an opportunity to hone my communication skills and hopefully help someone understand what it takes to throw something up on their website.
(Of course, if you’re up against a deadline, a one line request like this could prove very frustrating. In which case you’d have to fall back onto your contract and renegotiate or provide a separate quote for the extra work.)
Feel free to tell me your stories in the comments.