I Like this – and this – Oh, and this . . .

Every website designer has had clients who think they’re doing everyone a favour by suggesting other websites that they have seen and liked. Sometimes we make things more difficult for ourselves by telling them to come up with a website example. I have done this for years on & off and to be honest, it’s rarely worked.

Clients have little idea of the complexity and cost of other websites. Because you have quoted them R10,000, they think every other website on the Internet costs the same. After you have quoted, they will suggest a website that they like and upon a little investigation it is plain that this website costs way more than R10,000, sometimes at least ten times more and has a permanent web team of five people.

Explain this to the client and they think you’re looking for an excuse to nickel and dime their website with the unsaid suggestion that after quoting you really have no idea what they want.

websitesThe other thing is the ‘multiple examples’. The client will suggest typically two or three websites that are completely dissimilar but he likes elements of – but doesn’t tell you which elements. This is a real recipe for disaster because eventually, after buggering about, they still won’t like what you offer.

I then tell them that they’re suffering from Analysis Paralysis and ditch all the suggestions and start from basic principals. They fixate on the graphics which are among the easiest elements to change. You tell them that the website will sink or swim depending on the words and pics and how they are laid out.

As a side matter, the problem with colours extends all over the place. ‘We decided on this colour but I see when I got back that you’ve changed it’.

No I haven’t. My computer display is set differently to yours – and your ambient lighting is different – and maybe you’re using Mac . . .

I usually make them choose one – or none – and then perhaps MAY introduce elements from the other websites as development proceeds.

confusedI had a request for a quotation the other day – ‘We want a website with the sort of functionality but a different skin of this site.’ Now, when you look at ‘this‘ site, it has nothing to do with their core business. If they have a website address on their email I always check it out and also look at the code and who designed it.

That statement above is all I get to submit a quote on. And they wonder why the quote changes so much when I know more about what they want. ¬†Prospects love to lock you in to a price range before they deliver the ‘Oh, by the way, we also want a database and eCommerce.’

After years of frustration and irritation all round, I think it’s best not to suggest any layout but come up with what you think is appropriate – and generally they’re happy.

The Boogeyman has Arrived (in about 1990 actually)

NSA/GCHQ in other words.

I have very strong feelings about the right to privacy as anyone who has seen my Twitter feeds will know so I’ll keep this short.


The Five Eyes (UK, USA, Canada, Oz and NZ) have exceeded all bounds of morality, discipline and professionalism in their collection of intelligence. This information in the hands of such a bellicose nation as the USA is very dangerous for the entire planet. The NSA has been described as ‘a bunch of middle schoolers run amok’ – about right.

The embarrassment of the USA in particular is a joy to behold and follows a predictable path.

  1. Blanket denial followed by…
  2. Attempt to stop the whistleblower that went spectacularly wrong
  3. Vilification and demonization of same bloke instead and
  4. a spiteful fiasco involving Venezuela.
  5. Deal out vicious sentence to Bradley Manning while we’re at it
  6. The Head Honcho lying under oath to Congress
  7. But everybody does spies!
  8. We didn’t know what they were up to. Really?
  9. We’ll launch an investigation (yeah right)
  10. We have appointed an oversight committee (Ha Ha)
  11. Tapping Merkel will not happen (but did happen)
  12. We did our job – the politicians told us what to do (like the SS)
  13. Mea culpa from Kerry – ‘yes it may have gone too far’
  14. 35 Heads of State, diplomats, conferences, international organizations, businesses and the Vatican – Yup, he may be right
  15. To come: Larger demonstrations followed by
  16. Another bigger Congressional enquiry and
  17. A change in spying regulations that tinker with the edges
  18. And of course, more damning revelations
  19. etc., etc. I cannot wait.

lk060713dAPR-nsa-surveillance-500Each of the above points can be picked over but the sum total is the final loss of any trust in the USA.

Their greedy domestic policies have affected most of the planet. Their aggressive foreign policy has served only to destabilize parts of it. Their political system and much of their media have been taken over by big business and big finance.

PdYV5MYAmericans never win wars. They just stampede in on a pretext and fuck things up to feed their huge military industry.

The Israeli lobby in the US is so powerful, it gets the US to do its fighting for it. It has been said that America’s most dangerous export is democracy – see how peaceful Iraq is.

Back to computers . . .

I think that the allegations of spying and ‘back doors to the NSA’ all over the place will gradually result in the proliferation of security-related products. No-one trusts the chip makers, Microsoft, Tracebook, Google and even the current ‘security’ software any more.

6.siClapper admitted to lying to Congress, a very serious offence but he’s still out there.

The queue of businesses offering anti-NSA products is visible already and many will use them as they get better and easier to use. In five years, there will be a major change in the way the Internet is used. NSA may still get in – and it will certainly try – but it will be much more difficult.

And the reason? Money. Security is paramount in the game and the slightest hint of compromise will send customers stampeding off. AT&T are suffering already in Europe. Google, Scrapebook and others will have to re-establish trust.

Not possible in my opinion.