Providing the best possible service to clients is always the best practice.
Halloween, however, is a great opportunity to let off some of steam and talk about the more… let’s call them challenging clients.
That’s why we decided to ask our very own community about their most memorable web design client horror stories:
After collecting dozens of gruesome, nightmarish client stories, we picked the most horrific ones, and animated them for your viewing satisfaction.
Here they are in full gruesomeness.
Nightmare Client #1: The Case of the Mad Scientist
Some clients get the latest technology updates from movies like “The Avengers”. Technology like 3D websites and AI contact forms. There’s just no limit to the the client’s imagination.
Alex Gill told the story of a client with some rather unrealistic expectations:
Client: “Why don’t the icons animate when I hover my finger over them on my mobile?”
Designer: “As discussed in my first email, that technology simply doesn’t exist.”
Nightmare Clients #2: Attack of the 'Movie-Website'
Strange, unrealistic client requests are quite common. Usually, though, you can at least foresee what the client has in mind.
Brian McCracken had a client who didn’t quite get the concept of a website:
Client: “I want the website to be like a movie.”
Designer: “You mean, to tell a story and take you through a narrative?”
Client: “No. I mean, like a movie. Here, like this YouTube video.”
Designer: “So, this is a video of guys sitting around a desk, talking. Do you want me to develop that imagery?”
Client: “No. Just the movie.”
Designer: “So do you want that specific video on the page?”
Client: “Yeah, but like a website.”
Designer: WHAT THE ^%$ DO YOU WANT EXACTLY?!?!? It’s a %$# YouTube video, that you want on the page “But like a website?”
…So I literally made a header, footer, put a video background in the center as a GIF that I made out of the YouTube video they gave me.
Their feedback: “But, can you make it more like the video?”
Nightmare Clients #3: The Abominable Font Shrinker
Following the line of strange client requests, this trickster of a client decided to use a font so small, it would not be visible to the naked eye.
Nigel Hancock shared a client with sneaky intentions:
Client: “Can you make that text smaller?”
Me: “Yes, of course, how small would you like it?”
Client: “How small can it be?”
Me: “Well, in theory 1 pixel, about 1/72 of an inch”
Client: “That’ll be fine”
Me: “But nobody will be able to read it”
Client: “That’s the whole idea”
Nightmare Clients #4: Invasion of the Body Exposers
Meeting a client for the first time is awkward enough, but this client took it to a whole other level by removing a key calming feature — clothes.
Joshua Slot shared an extremely embarrassing meeting with a client:
“I once had a request to create a website for a nudist camping site which I didn’t know off until after they invited me to their location. They didn’t have a website or any promotional materials available.
I kindly thanked them for the tour and told them that this kind of establishment was not my expertise and left ”
Nightmare Clients #5: The Four-Headed Monster
Opinions are like… well, you know how the saying goes. Everyone has one. This is especially true for clients. What do you do when a single client turns into several?
Kayla Curry had to deal with more than just one nightmare client:
“This one client I knew through another client seemed cool and totally laid back. “Do whatever you want, just make it pretty” type of client, right?
So I take her on and all of a sudden, she’s got this ENTIRE TEAM of people who want to give input on the site. Literally, 4 other people who are not my client trying to tell me what to do… UGH. I made it through without losing my shit, but just barely. The project turned out gorgeous and I stood my ground on some of the more picky requests from the team. I explained that from a marketing standpoint what they were asking was unnecessary and counterproductive.”
Beware the Nightmare Client!
Don’t expect too many encouraging words here.
Nightmare clients will always be a nightmare. Once in every dozen or so clients, you’ll come across a strange request, an overly demanding schedule or simply someone without clothes. Keep calm, keep smiling, and remember that what doesn’t kill you, only makes your portfolio stronger.
Do you have your own creepy client story? 👻 Share it with us in the comments. Who knows, perhaps we’ll turn it into a funny animation.