Every designer knows what I am referencing, those little changes that clients ask for at the last minute. They are requests that are not thought out or followed by reason, yet they must be completed in order to reach a sign off or finish the project. You have heard it numerous times before “I am not sure if this would work, but can you just quickly try making the copy more bolder.” Let’s take a second to discuss why this is not an ideal situation to be in, and actually how insanely counter productive they can be.
- These requests eat up time like crazy
Chances are at first the requests will be “quick” and as a result go unbilled or forgotten due to their short time requirement and the need for an immediate response. It is entirely possible that after 3 to 4 of these “quick” changes that you could burn up 1 to 2 hours that will probably go unbilled.
- They destroy your scheduling
Every designer knows that maintaining their concentration and establishing a “flow” is a very important factor in completing a project in a timely manner. These changes that may take no more than 10 minutes to complete actually eat up much more time. Consider the time it takes if you have to switch applications, pull up a new file, find some reference documents and then find your place in the project you were working on after you make the change. Chances are you just wasted a half hour for a 10 minute change.
- They multiply like rabbits
How many times in the past have you rushed to fit in what is considered to be a quick last minute final change only to have the client call back an hour later with 2 more changes that need to be completed in the next 10 minutes. By jumping at the drop of the hat, you only perpetuate the problem and make it easier for the client to submit future changes of the same nature.
- They don’t relate to the actual problem
Due to the rushed nature of the changes, chances are the solution is not actually ideal. As an example the client may say to make the copy bigger because they feel it is too hard to read. In reality the problem is that the leading is too tight however you have increased the size of the text and actually worsened the problem. If we take the time to find out what the actual problem is rather than just accepting the solution proposed by the client we can assure that situations like this do not arise.
So what do we do to avoid this?
Unfortunately last minute changes are unavoidable, however they can be minimized by good organization, project management, and by maintaining close communication with the client. Also we can attempt to establish a pattern with clients of reviewing a project thoroughly and completely before picking up the phone to ask for a revision. While these suggestions may not be obtainable on every project, they are something to strive for in order to deliver a better service and optimize our time.