Managing client expectations for post-launch bugs

The last couple of weeks were intensely stressful and concluded with a client breakup. Both of us were delighted with the work, but the devil was in communication. One lesson we drew from the experience was to prepare the client for bugs, both visual and functional.

For example, serving up a medium, instead of large, sized image as a default, resulted in a blurry image on a widescreen PC, using Internet Explorer 8, with JavaScript disabled. To web folk, that’s pretty normal, especially having tested in IE8 and having a no-js fallback. The culprit was the widescreen and the issue was responded to within a day. However, to the client, and because there had been several other post-launch visual bugs, it was unacceptable to put it mildly.

Instead of complaining, I accept the onus of setting expectations, educating clients and avoiding assumptions. I drafted this script to accompany our pre-launch emails:

Due to the nature of the web, websites look and work differently on different operating systems (e.g. OSx, Windows, Linux), in different web browsers (e.g. different versions of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera), on different devices (e.g. Desktop, laptop, iPhone, iPad, Android devices, other smart phones, other tablets, Kindle devices) and although we have a testing suite that covers an extensive range of devices and platforms, usually, at the time a website is launched, some issues exist that have not yet been discovered.

In the case that an issue, or bug, is discovered, by your team or a customer, let us know, being as descriptive as you can, and we’ll squash it quickly.

Paddy O’Hanlon is a web designer and one of the principals at Logo24. He is a lover of good semantics, well documented and architected CSS, and beautiful, content-driven design. (Really the design-guise is a cover-up so he can covertly feed his travel addiction and climb many rocks around the world). He tweets @Paddy.

Comments make us happy