thinksmart bewize

ThinkSmart BeWizeA client of mine called ThinkSmart (as covered here) underwent a significant business change, growing and changing the types of services offered, the way they’re offered and the target market.

So, ThinkSmart BeWize.

Recent discussions on the topic have made me consider whether what I did was a redesign, a realignment, a redeployment or a reskinning.

Until recently, I would have called what I did a redesign without a second thought.

The sites of all my clients of five years or longer have undergone significant change, from the application of new visual designs and rearrangement of site functions (realignment) to designing and installing totally new replacement websites (redesign).

I’ve also had instances where the structure and design stayed the same, but the way the content was brought to the website changed (redeployment), for example turning a static HTML website into a CMS-driven dynamic site.

There have also been site revisions based on modifying only surface elements of the visual design, driven by my client having changed their branding (reskinning).

The reasons for the changes – or, at least, for the nature and timing of the changes – are as individual as my clients and their websites are. All the changes have been driven by them.

Sometimes my clients have just wanted to make the website “fresh”, sometimes they have employed teams of analysts who have come up with web-based “redirections” that improve the company’s bottom line in some way.

To many, these may be fairly esoteric distinctions, but web professionals are becoming more refined in their understanding and analysis of what they do, and we are evolving a language that lets us quantify and manage that.

My clients probably don’t care whether their site is being redesigned, realigned, redeployed or reskinned but it gives me a context to ensure I’m doing the right thing for them.

All of this is built, of course, on building and maintaining long term relationships with my clients.

Those kind of relationships hold no guarantees, though, and it’s no coincidence that when I’ve lost long term clients, it’s typically been either just before or during a website revision process.

Interestingly, I’ve recently regained a couple of clients who tried other designers and developers and ended up coming back to me.

Then again, I’ve also had occasion to walk away from clients, including one who had been with me for eight years. That decision was based on my belief that they needed a change.

It’s an interesting life, being a one-man-band web designer/developer. It’s a niche position in that my approach won’t work for everyone, but I believe more than ever that there is plenty of room for people like me: generalist managers of a client’s web presence.

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