I was been reminded today why I’m glad I work for myself.
I’m helping on a remodel of a web site (no, I’m not linking to it), working in concert with the marketing fellow at the company, someone at an outside design house and a fellow who I believe is a contractor of the design house. All of these people are nice folks, but the process so far has been a bit muddled.
The way I understood it, the design team created mock-ups that were approved by the company, then given to me to implement. This was working just fine and I was getting a little kick out of converting their table layouts to CSS layouts and making them look identical. Overall, the first pass of everything went pretty well.
The new design swapped text links in the main menu for images of that text. This is a little worse because it can hurt a site’s search engine ranking and it’s a lot harder to maintain, but this wasn’t really a big deal. I certainly understand how people prefer the smooth lettering you can create in an image to what styled HTML text looks like in IE on Windows 2000.
Then there are other little things like the instruction I received to remove the underlines from all of the links. I made my case for why I thought it was important to keep the underlines for usability reasons (citing a number of sources with URLs) but the decision was made to remove them anyway. It’s frustrating to be implementing what you feel is a mistake, but it’s not up to me so I’ll set it up as they want it.
The thing that I’m finding to be most difficult is that changes I’ve implemented on the site are now being changed a second or third time. I know that this happens to an extent in every project, but the changes I’ve recently been asked to make were not in any of the initial mock-ups I received. Actually, I’ve yet to receive a comprehensive mock-up with these new changes in them. Instead, I’m getting little areas piece by piece and I’m not clear what has really been approved by everyone and what hasn’t.
Tomorrow I hope to be able to help sort this out and push to get a comprehensive mock-ups to work from. I believe the project will ultimately be a success (the design looks good), I’m just glad I’m not dealing with things like this on a day to day basis anymore. 😎
I’ve done jobs like that. This is the point at which you say, at least I’m being paid by the hour — and if you aren’t, this is the point at which you make sure that you start being paid by the hour, since as sure as god made little green apples, some high muckety muck is going to look at the site when you think you are finished and say “I saw a study recently that said all links should be underlined — go back and replace all those graphics with underlined text.”
And so on.
Been there, done that.
Actually, if you have a good SOW, changes to a firm-fixed contract are outside the scope of the SOW and therefore changes to the contract to be negotiated.
I cannot tell you how many FFP contracts where I’ve been the one to pick this up for my company.
I’m hourly on this gig so this isn’t damaging, just annoying.
I’m still praying to get to the point that I can freelance fulltime. Hopefully that possibility is not too far off! Thanks for a great resource, by the way.
There’s a great little offset trick you can pull with CSS that allows you to rewrite textual links with images without harming a sites SEO or removing the functionality from text-only readers.
Basically you stick your links within a div and then set a background image via CSS. You can then move the position of the text off-screen:
I used it extensively in a recent rebuild of almost-all-image site as a work around to improve the sites ranking.
the good news is that if you wait long enough, they will decide that they actually do want hyperlinks to be underlined