We were asked by a client to assist them in preparing a website brief and sourcing a development agency to carry out the build of 2 websites within the Telecoms industry. We acted as web strategy consultants/web project managers for the business as they had no real in-house expertise in digital projects and had been stung by their previous agency. Our brief was;
- Analyse current website user data and statistics
- Prepare a website brief for TS and SB
- Create a wireframe structure to be used for both websites
- Design and develop a new website for www.talk-straight.co.uk using WordPress
- Design and develop a new website for www.schoolsbraodband.co.uk using WordPress
- Populate pages with supplied content ready for go-live
- Implement on-page optimisation to meet best practise guidelines for SEO
- Test the new websites across browsers and platforms to ensure they are responsive
- Put both website live
Naturally we hope to be retained for longer, and oversee the actual build and launch of the site. What happened was we ended up applying sticking plasters…
The project strategy and structure was developed with the client. Agencies were briefed. A thorough selection process ensued, and our recommendation (a very tight decision between 2 agencies) was delivered. The client approved an agency, and called them for the initial project launch.
And that was that….agency outlined their process, client was happy to oversee the agency. Thank you Braid, and goodbye. We suggested perhaps the client let us know when the new website was ready for testing prior to launch. Other than a couple of emails, there was no further contact. Until January …
The client asked us to review the new website (now launched). The client wasn’t happy about some elements of the build. But on auditing the site v the brief, we identified much more;
- Essential elements were missing; mobile responsiveness, SEO, social integration, analytics
- Usability was poor; navigation, embedded video and radio, site speed , page consistency
- Visual elements were not great; pictures out of focus, harsh lighting, poor range of shots
In all, the job simply wasn’t what had been paid for. The Client asked if we could sort it out. The audit was discussed with the agency and an undertaking extracted to deliver all missing elements, and improve the UX. The agency did finally deliver the elements. We moved the hosting (as originally recommended), implemented tracking and ensured the CMS was delivering all the tools originally specified.
Outcomes and learnings
The Client probably paid Braid less in fees to sort the problems than perhaps they would have done if they had kept us on from the start. However, they wasted weeks getting the sticking plasters in place, and changing a number of core elements, and the end result is not perfect. The client is stuck with sub-standard imagery. The CMS was customised so much that the agency will have to be involved in future template amends; precisely what the brief had stated must not happen.
We also learned a lesson; when a client really does need help, don’t be polite; tell them they need you! It could be argued we were too “nice” helping the client with a problem of their own making, and not charging through the nose to sort it. Maybe so, but we can hold our heads high from an ethical position which is more than can be said for the agency!