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Should you tell another graphic design agency when they have made a mistake?

Website design browser issues

Let me set the scene for you – ‘Larger’ graphic design agencies occasionally outsource work to us when they are over subscribed. I therefore potentially see every design agency as another client to which we can be that helping hand when they have too much to do and don’t know where to turn.

In case you didn’t know, we like to think of ourselves as perfectionists here at Eightyone Design. No site goes out without being validated and made CSS compliant. Websites are checked in multiple browsers and as many mobile devices we can get our hands on!

These are some basic practices which all web designers say they adhere to, but too many times I have seen a ‘Big Agency’ send a Tweet out requesting all followers check out their latest website design only to find it doesn’t render correctly in one or more of the major browsers. This came to a head this week when, once again I got ushered onto a site that had no background, half a navigation bar and shadows popping up all over the place. It was like they didn’t even check it out in Safari or decided it was too broken and couldn’t be bothered to fix it. If that’s the kind of company they are then they must have charged their client peanuts… right? Wrong, it was for a major car retailer and they even boasted in their Tweet how much effort had gone into this website.

OK… rant over!!! But here’s the dilemma… what should I do about it?

As I see it, here are my choices:

1. Send a quick Tweet to the company politely informing them that there is a problem with the site when viewed in Safari.

2. Sit back and smile about the fact that I would never have done such a thing!!! (I hope!!!)

Now I’m not a person afraid of conflict. In fact I sometimes think some conflict can make the world a better place. However, this agency could be a potential client and I wouldn’t want to offend or annoy a fellow designer. I wouldn’t want to be seen as a ‘nit picking know-it-all’ and get their backs up when they hadn’t actually asked for a critique.

Equally, they may not know their site is broken, or may have uploaded the wrong version of the site in error so surely a helpful ‘did you know your site doesn’t work in Safari’ Tweet couldn’t cause too many problems… could it?

To find out I put my dilemma out on Twitter and a very helpful Gareth Cox from Dot Design assured me that a graphic or web designer needs to know when they’ve made such a big mistake. I have to say, I agree with Gareth, although by the time I had come to this decision the moment had passed. That being said, if I were in the same position again I think a Tweet in the right tone is better than letting it go. After all, if I was in the same position I would want someone to tell me!!

But what do you think? Was I too much of a coward? Would you tell a big agency they’ve made a mistake when they’ve got something so wrong?

Posted by Lu

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Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at 11:31 am
Posted In Freelancing, Graphic Design, Web Design | Tags: , ,

4 Responses to “Should you tell another graphic design agency when they have made a mistake?”

  • Stuart says:

    I too have had a similar issue not with a website but with artwork for print. We sometimes handle media for clients and as a courtesy we always preflight, print and proof the work to ensure what has been supplied is correct before passing it onto the printers. In this occasion a folder had been supplied with CMYK die cuts images off centre and a copy error.

    Now we could of just amended the artwork and sent it to the printer without the originator/agency knowing anything. However, if anything had gone wrong with the print after the amendments we would be liable for the mistake. So always call the agency and tell them 1. That there is a problem with there job and 2. That you can correct it but it’ll take X hours and cost X or 3 They can resupply (notifying any changes to deadlines, if applicable). Then your not pointing out problems or their mistakes your providing solutions.

  • More Perfectionist says:

    Tell them. It’s constructive criticism. You’re not saying “Your site sucks dude!”, you’re saying “I noticed this issue & would hate to see you client lose business as a result.”

    The only way the web will get better is if we all fix it one site at a time.

    By the way, “…they must of charged their client peanuts…” should read “…they must HAVE charged their client peanuts…”

  • Amanda says:

    I personally think it’s a nice thing to do to point out anything massive like that.

    Better another professional points it out to you instead of the client! Gives them a chance to fix it before the client finds out!

  • Lu says:

    Hi Stuart – That is a tricky situation, but think that it’s great that you are providing solutions and not problems for the agency. Really good idea and helpful too. Thanks Stuart!

    Hi More Perfectionist – Again you are right, it’s not being rude it’s constructive criticism. On that note, thanks for the copy amend!

    Hi Amanda – I would prefer someone to tell me rather than the client find out! Now that would be embarrassing!

    Thank you everyone for stopping by and leaving your thoughts!

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