Boagworld Show S07E10

Web & Digital Advice

Digital and web advice from Headscape and the addled brain of Paul Boag... tell me more

Paul Boag Posted by: Paul Boag On Friday, 22nd November, 2013

Speed Education

This week on the Boagworld web design podcast, quality vs speed and what is the job of a web designer anyway?

Season 7:
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Paul Boag:
This week on the Boagworld web design podcast, quality versus speed and what is the job of a web designer anyway.

Hello and welcome to Boagworld.com, the podcast for all those who’re involved in designing, developing and running websites on a daily basis. My name is Paul Boag and joining me today is Marcus. Hello, Marcus?

Marcus Lillington:
Hello, Paul.

Paul Boag:
How are you feeling mate?

Marcus Lillington:
I am alright. How are you?

Paul Boag:
The University of Strathclyde broke me last week. That’s what I am concluding.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
I was up at the University of Strathclyde last week kicking off a new project which we decided to do in an agile way and there were quite a lot of internal expectations about what would be produced and what they would see and we got maybe a bit over enthusiastic too, and we just broke ourselves. We did far too much. It was huge fun mind, it was really good fun working like that but, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Do you think that ‘agile’ is a young man’s game?

Paul Boag:
Leigh described it at one point which I thought, this is very Leigh. He described it as management’s way of getting people to do more than they want to, which is supposedly completely against the principle of agile. Agile is, the whole idea is that you kind of agree together what to do. But I think this is just or his argument was this is just a ruse on the part of management to get you to agree to more than you really are comfortable with doing and then you have to deliver it because you’re responsible for agreeing to it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, that’s what it is. It’s putting the responsibility onto the people who are doing the work, but what you’re asking people to do is twice as much as they would normally would.

Paul Boag:
Yes. I mean no, we did try to do more than we should have agreed to do and you know what it’s like. Once you get going – and right in the first meeting when we agreed to have a go at all this stuff. I said it’s okay to fail, you know, if we don’t manage to do it all it’s not the end of the world kind of attitude. But you get it into your head, don’t you, or I do. I think Chris and Leigh who’d gone up with me and the rest of the team would have quite happily rolled over and given in, but I am that kind of obsessive compulsive character. So yes, we managed to do it all and it’s come out really well. And we’ve got now a couple of weeks’ sprint of a tidy up before we try the next thing. So we’ve got a slower period at the moment which is good.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So yes.

Marcus Lillington:
To allow you to die in.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Well, we’ve got stuff to do as well unfortunately, but there you go. So yes, that was good and then I came back from that and my house was full of sick people and of course I was knackered, so they promptly gave me their sickness. So I am now dying.

Marcus Lillington:
Well I’ve done that. I died in the last episode.

Paul Boag:
Well actually we’ve got to apologize because there was no last episode.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s true actually, yes.

Paul Boag:
Because this is episode 10 which should have been out last week but it’s out this week instead because I was up in Glasgow trying to be agile. And apparently agile doesn’t give you time to record a podcast.

Marcus Lillington:
We did keep trying, didn’t we? We kept saying, sort of, well we’ll do it tomorrow. And then it never happened.

Paul Boag:
Well we were due to do it one evening, but I was just so knackered by the time I got home. So, what are we doing now? We’re recording it when I’m sick and knackered.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. But you can just go straight back to bed after this, Paul.

Paul Boag:
But do you want to know a good thing?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
This is the second from last show of this season.

Marcus Lillington:
Right.

Paul Boag:
So we’ve got this one and then we’ve got the next one, and then we’re going to have a big break. We’re going to have another month-long break over Christmas.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Because I’ve got to finish my book.

Marcus Lillington:
Are you allowed to say that now?

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
I think so. I can’t remember. Yes, no we’ve talked about the book before.

Marcus Lillington:
No, we haven’t.

Paul Boag:
Have we not?

Marcus Lillington:

I don’t think so. You keep saying, this thing I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but really want to.

Paul Boag:
Well I am allowed to now. I really should have talked about that.

Marcus Lillington:
Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t. I don’t know.

Paul Boag:
So I’m writing a book called Digital Adaptation which is about how companies need to essentially do more than just bolt a website on to the side of what they are doing and how they need to reorganize to be more digitally capable as organizations. So I’m writing that and that’s coming out mid-March, he says confidently.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, of course it is.

Paul Boag:
And so that means that I need to – I’ve written it, the first draft and I’ve now got to go back through because I’m writing it with Smashing Magazine and Vitaly is a nazi. And he’s making me rewrite loads of it because he wants it to be better. How dare he? Like what I am producing isn’t perfection to begin with. So yes, I am going to be rewriting

Marcus Lillington:
I’m just slightly balking at the fact you called a German a nazi, but there you go.

Paul Boag:
Well he isn’t actually a German.

Marcus Lillington:
All right, it’s okay then.

Paul Boag:
He is from Belarus or somewhere I don’t know, some strange country that doesn’t really count.

Marcus Lillington:
Fair enough then. We’ll just let that one slide.

Paul Boag:
I can’t believe I just said that. Vitaly I love you, you know I do. No, I’m really good friends with him. Well probably not at this show but there you go. So yes, I’m writing it out. So the next season, we’re going to look at that as a topic. Basically, the whole of next season is going to be a massive big advert for the book.

Marcus Lillington:
That would be good though because even though I do keep saying yes, I’ll read it Paul, yes, I’ll read it Paul, I haven’t.

Paul Boag:
You haven’t looked at it in the slightest, have you?

Marcus Lillington:
This is good though because it means that I’ll get to – not only will I get to learn about it and read excerpts from it during the show, I’ll also get your commentary on why you said what you said.

Paul Boag:
Well actually I’m not going to read excerpts from the show. What I am going to do instead – because this season, I don’t know about you but I think this season has worked really well. And people have come back with some excellent comments and commentary and that kind of stuff.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, true.

Paul Boag:
So I’m essentially going to build on that approach. So instead of me say what the book says, what I am going to do is raise some of the questions that the book raises and then let the community answer it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, no doubt I’ll disagree with half of it anyway.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I’m not telling you what I’ve written in the book because you’ll only argue with me. So we’ll see what other people say instead which will be really cool. Except really I could have done with doing that ages ago and then I could have got them to write the book for me and that would have been much cooler. No doubt we will tell. My opinion will come out as it always does.

Marcus Lillington:
Maybe, I think it might.

Paul Boag:
I said no doubt didn’t I?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, you did.

Paul Boag:
I think it’s even stronger than that, mine, isn’t it really. It will come out.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s an absolutely certainty.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So shall we talk about this week’s show? Because we’ve got a couple of – by the way I am bloody freezing in here. This room we had to – you know that – I shared this on the show about how I had to re-plumb the whole house because I tried to put one radiator in one room which was my office and now the bloody radiator doesn’t work.

Marcus Lillington:
What, because you did it.

Paul Boag:
No we paid a proper person, real money and everything. A lot of money. A resentful amount of money.

Marcus Lillington:
And now you’ve had to plug in a heater.

Paul Boag:
No, we haven’t got that far. I am just sitting here frizz – ‘frizzing’?

Marcus Lillington:
‘Frizzing’, yes. We ought to get this show out of the way quickly because…

Paul Boag:
I don’t even know what that word was meant to be.

Marcus Lillington:
Freezing maybe.

Paul Boag:
Freezing and shivering. They are the two words I was going for. Right. Oh god, I’m hysterical. Okay. So we’re going to talk about this whole debate, you know when people say you should release early. Well, we’re going to ask whether that’s actually bollocks or not, and that actually quality maybe is better than speed, so we’re going to look at that.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
And then we’re also going to look at some nuances of what our job as web designers actually is, and is our job just to build websites or should we be educating clients and is that part of our responsibility too. So shall we launch in with the release early versus the other thing?

Marcus Lillington:
Let’s do that.

Quality vs. Speed

This house proposes that it is more important to make a good first impression than to release early.

Share your thoughts!

Paul Boag:
Right, what were we talking about? Yes, speed versus quality. So if you notice, do you like the new way I’ve organized the notes, Marcus? You haven’t even looked, have you?

Marcus Lillington:
I’m looking at them now.

Paul Boag:
The blue bit at the top which summarizes what the person was getting at.

Marcus Lillington:
Right, okay.

Paul Boag:
So that’s really useful isn’t it because you kind of know what they’re going to say before you start reading it.

Marcus Lillington:
That is useful because sometimes I start reading it thinking is this going to make any sense.

Paul Boag:
I know. So yes, I’m a bit more organized this week which is remarkable. It’s probably because I had two weeks to get it ready, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So just as we get to the end of the season I am starting to get organized. So this house proposes that it is more important to make a good first impression than to release early. So this is the debate that this kind of thing especially within the startup community, you know you release early, you get your product out there, then you get real users using it and that gives you ideas about how it could be improved and all of that kind of thing. So there is this kind of attitude that you should be releasing early.

Marcus Lillington:
I want to complain about the new notes.

Paul Boag:
What’s your complaint?

Marcus Lillington:
They are not categorized into for and against.

Paul Boag:
No, I kind of dropped that.

Marcus Lillington:
But it helps me, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Well the reason I kind of dropped it is because half of the comments that come back these days are, well it depends.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So I figured we’ll just look – we’re getting towards the end of the show. We’ll let it go. Not the show, the season.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
We’ll let it go a bit more messy.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
And allow it just to happen as it does.

Marcus Lillington:
Which it kind of does anyway.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So what’s the point. So yes, there are benefits to releasing early, absolutely, that it gives you a chance to – It’s like really user testing with real users in a real environment. But then kind of then on the other side of the fence is this kind of the old adage of you only one chance to make a first impression. And I have witnessed kind of web applications and websites being shot down before they’ve even been properly launched. If users visit the site and discover that it’s missing the one piece of key functionality or content they want, they might never take a second look. Worst still if you encounter a buggy site, you may conclude that those behind the product are incapable or producing anything better. So definitely wouldn’t return.

It’s a kind of interesting one for me because in some senses that’s what I’ve been doing last week up in University of Strathclyde. We’ve been making the stuff that we’ve produced in one week visible to anybody within the university to have a look at. Just so that they can see the work in progress.

Now we’ve plastered it with, oh, this isn’t ready yet. But it’s an interesting one. Are we actually doing our product more harm than good? And of course a lot of people launch their products as beta, don’t they? But nobody takes beta seriously any more, do they?

Marcus Lillington:
No, because everyone does it.

Paul Boag:
Exactly. So you never actually believe beta as beta. And half the betas that are produced are actually extremely high quality. So they don’t feel like betas therefore you don’t call – treat them as a beta.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Sorry, I needed to take a drink.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s right. I was doing the same thing.

Paul Boag:
Oh no, we timed that really badly didn’t we? We need some kind of signal. I am going to cough when I need to drink, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
We have first hand experience of not releasing early and paying and for it.

Paul Boag:
That is true.

Marcus Lillington:
With getting signoff.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Do you want to explain that to people?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, we created a pay-for app which was basically designed, not designed, which was created for the design community to help present mockups, design ideas, that kind of thing, to their clients. And it was good, it was a good product, good idea. But we took too long to get it out. And we kind of missed the boat really.

Paul Boag:
But that wasn’t – in principle yes, that was – we should have released earlier rather than fannying about making it perfect, but in actual fact we fannied about not doing anything.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, yes.

Paul Boag:
Because we were so busy with client work and we didn’t prioritize it. So that’s a slightly different problem. But yes, I mean in principle I agree. Andrew talks about something that’s very kind of trendy within the web world which is this idea of a minimum viable product. He says I think its important to release early with a minimum viable product – try saying that when you’ve got a cold – feedback from your early adopters will help shape your product and ensure you don’t spend years building the perfect solution that no one will pay for. Now I totally agree with that Andrew, but what’s the minimum viable product.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s what it comes down to.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
The entire argument here is you’ve got to release something that A, has some kind of value to the people that are going to be using it, and B, represents what the final thing will be, otherwise no one is going to – As you just gave the example earlier where is – if you’re not providing the core piece of content or the core functionality then people are going to say this is rubbish and never come back again.

Paul Boag:
Yes, John talks about the core functionality. He suggests that getting the core values of the website like what, why and how etcetera sorted and ready along with the simple UI and then build from there, start simple with a strong core and then add on and adjust as you go. Buffer is a really good example of this, right? When buffer first rolled out, they only supported Twitter and they only supported basically adding tweets to a kind of pre-defined or a list that would go out at predefined times.

And everybody got web complaint, oh, you don’t support Facebook. And they said Facebook is coming, its fine, this is our core product here. And so they added Facebook and LinkedIn and Google Plus and all the others and then everyone was going we want to be able to schedule Tweets to go out whenever we want. And so over time they added that as well. And I think they did it really well actually. I think their approach was excellent.

So yes, absolutely focus on your core, do the bare minimum. But it just does still doesn’t ask this question. See the great thing about taking this approach of course is what Federica…

Marcus Lillington:
Federica.

Paul Boag:
Federica said. Which she told that I found that no matter how many tests you do on an application, a real user will always do something different or something somewhat unexpected. So that kind of encourages you to go for this minimum viable product and launch that early. But then the question is what makes a minimum viable product. And David says something quite interesting about this, which is something that I’ve said before and I think therefore I agree with. I was going to say I think I agree with.

But if I’ve said it, then surely I agree with it. Actually, I’m very conflicted like that. He talks about our general approach is to launch when the site is complete in so far that its functionality is deemed superior to whatever is replacing. Refinements and additional features can and should always follow. The biggest danger about launching when finished or perfect is that it leads to the project mentality of ‘site launched, job done’ when almost every website should be subject to continual improvement.

So it is working on the basis that there is something already there, but that is a really good measurement of when you’ve got a minimal viable product. It’s better than what was there before.

Marcus Lillington:
I suppose this depends what we mean. I mean let’s view this not from a kind of startup building an app point of view, let’s view from an agency like Headscape doing a paid-for project for a client.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Marcus Lillington:
Because I’m sat here thinking, well, in old fashioned language phase development is something that we absolutely support and still promote. You know build something – build the core, to use that word again, build the basic version of something and then add features as a phase two and a phase three as you go along. But is the question here should we change the original scope of the project to kind of say at 75% done actually this is good enough or are we talking about phase development that we’ve agreed in upfront?

Paul Boag:
Yes, I don’t think you should be – well I think it’s good to agree phase development upfront because it stops that as David said that, you know launch the site and you’re done.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
But I don’t think you necessarily need to define what those future phases are because I don’t think you really know what they are until you’ve got a minimal viable product out there that users are using.

Marcus Lillington:
No, that’s not what I am saying. What I am saying is on phase one.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
We will agree on the scope of phase one upfront with the client, this is what it’s going to cost, blah, blah blah.

Paul Boag:
Agreed.

Marcus Lillington:
Are we saying here in some cases, actually, 75% say, 60%, 90%, through that initial scope that actually, well no, this is looking good. We should release it now rather than doing that extra 10% that’s going to be fiddly and difficult.

Paul Boag:
That’s a good question. How does that work? How would – in principal, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
I am trying to work out how that works from a contractual point of view when they’ve paid us for the extra 25% or whatever.

Marcus Lillington:
Well you would still do the work but you’d do it after launch.

Paul Boag:
Yes, no absolutely then. Yes, I mean that makes a huge amount of sense to me. Get something out there, see what happens, and then refine it afterwards.

Marcus Lillington:
So yes, so if it seems like the right thing to do, release as early as you can I guess is the…

Paul Boag:
Yes, but that’s so wooly isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Well no, because it’s different with every project.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I guess so. Yes, you’re right. It is. So it depends basically.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, yes, obviously everything depends. But I think that is something new in my head. I don’t think, I mean maybe I do this automatically but to think we need to be looking to launch as early as is sensible and viable. I don’t think I think like that.

Paul Boag:
No, I don’t think we do. Not normally. Not on a fixed price project. But yes, this is absolutely, it’s a good idea.

Marcus Lillington:
So there you go.

Paul Boag:
See, we’ve realized something ourselves.

Marcus Lillington:
Something real has come out of this.

Paul Boag:
Probably everybody else has been doing it for years. I just wanted to mention Andy’s comment because for me this is quite a nice way of doing it and this is the approach that we’re taking on the University of Strathclyde. Sorry, I am going to talking about them a lot at the moment because they are going round in my head. He says, I would push early on a restricted access basis such as a beta test. This then means that you can change the site, fix any bugs and get great feedback.

It also creates an air of mystery, for want of a better word, that makes others want to get inside, so it’s a kind of supply and demand scenario. So what we’re doing with the University of Strathclyde is at the moment – is largely actually anybody could get to it but we’re only telling people internally within the university about the site and then so it’s relatively restricted access to that. And then as we become more confident in it, we’re going to push it to a beta site where we will start putting up notes on the existing sites saying things like try our beta, or we’ll promote it with our Facebook group and stuff like that to drive more traffic to it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
And then eventually we will swap one site with the other when we feel that the new site is better than the old site.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, good plan.

Paul Boag:
So that’s essentially a kind of version of the restricted access that Andy is talking about. He is thinking more about web apps, you know, that have closed betas. You have to be a bit careful with that because it can be a slippery slope, this whole creating an air of mystery and supply and demand thing, because it can piss people off too.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, exactly. I’m not worthy. I’m never worthy. I’m never invited to these things.

Paul Boag:
Yes, exactly. Oh, Marcus. I am invited to them all the time if it makes you feel any better.

Marcus Lillington:
Not really.

Paul Boag:
No? I’ve got goody packs at … I do like it when people send me stuff, physical stuff.

Marcus Lillington:
Its very cool.

Paul Boag:
I’m not going to mention who it’s from, mind, because that would be then courting it and that would be wrong. I also got sent a Leap Motion. Have you seen those things?

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
They are basically a little box that you plug your computer into and then, it’s a tiny little box, like the size of a matchbox, a bit bigger, a bit longer than a matchbox – small matchbox, not big matchbox, not kitchen matchbox, not for kitchen matches.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I understand, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Okay. That’s it, I’m losing it. And then you wave your hands around it and it detects your hand movements and you could do all kinds of cool stuff. So you feel like a really cheap magician. You’ve not seen this.

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
You ought to check it out, Leap Motion.

Marcus Lillington:
So what, you can just say it – turns your computer off or something like that.

Paul Boag:
No, you can control applications like 3D packages, you can – as if you are holding the object, you can rotate it and you can scroll pages and turn – it’s like turn the pages of a book just by flipping in the air, not flipping in the rude sign.

Marcus Lillington:
I say, I’d like to see that.

Paul Boag:
No. Flipping off your computer. It’s one of those technologies. It’s ever so cheap. It’s only about like $80 or something which is remarkable for what it does because it feels like you are in Minority Report basically.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
But although it’s really cool, it’s absolutely useless. It’s kind of – it’s fun to play with but has little practical use. So yes, anyway I am going to include it on my Christmas geeks list, because it’s relatively cheap and a lot of fun to play with even if it’s not actually useful.

Anyway, enough reviews. I really wasn’t intending to do that. There you go. What was I talking about.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve got no idea. I’m off looking at jokes now.

Paul Boag:
You know, should we just give up and move onto the next part?

Marcus Lillington:
Let’s do that.

Paul Boag:
Oh no, we were talking about Andy and his web applications. Yes, that it can piss people off. That was it. The one I was thinking about is mailbox. That really pissed a lot of people off, but then that was really difficult because they had to scale their servers. So I kind of understood where they were coming from. So difficult isn’t it, just difficult. It’s all very difficult.

Marcus Lillington:
But when I finally got to the end of the queue.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
I just thought I can’t be arsed.

Paul Boag:
Well I use it everyday. So different things for different people.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly.

Paul Boag:
It’d be interesting to see what they do when they release their desktop version because they’ve now not really got an excuse for scaling the servers anymore because they’ve got bought by dropbox and they’ve had ample time to scale the servers with the iPhone app. So if they try the same trick again you will know that it is just marketing bullshit.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So it will be interesting. Anyway, let’s move onto our topic.

What is our job?

This house proposes that it is the responsibility of a web designer to educate clients about how to run their website.

Share your thoughts!

Paul Boag:
Okay, so our next topic is: this house proposes that is the responsibility of a web designer to educate clients about running their websites. So this is kind of me going on my hobbie horse of that as web designers, it’s not just our job to build websites. That we have it in our heads that all we are responsible for is building a website and I don’t think that is the case. We’re also responsible for providing customer service which is an area we’re often shit at. And also I think we are responsible for educating clients as well about how to get the most from their website.

I recently wrote in a post called how to finish a web project—link in the show notes—I wrote to my mind delivering a website is only half of a designer’s job. It is our responsibility to ensure the client knows everything they need to in order to run a successful website which is a pretty bold statement and I could understand that people might disagree with it. After all we’re rarely paid specifically to educate clients or provide this kind of consultancy. Also clients don’t always recognize their need for this kind of advice so why then attempt to provide a service that some clients do not want and do not pay for.

And I think my kind of logic is that well they pay for a successful website and we cannot make that happen on our own; that requires a client’s contribution and involvement so therefore surely we have to educate them. But I opened this up as a discussion to the community and got some real mixed and interesting feedback from it. So yes, well I think we’ll probably just move through some of this read and read some of this one out. You – Marcus, pick out one and read one at random.

Marcus Lillington:
Sorry, I’m still looking at other things.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I know. I’d lost you. I can tell when you’re off looking at other things which is why I picked on you; like in a class when there is a child who is not paying attention.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, 2 +2 Paul.

Paul Boag:
No, you’re supposed to give the answer, not ask the question. So you’re really not with it.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t agree with the house on this.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t think – there is one word in there that I don’t agree with which is responsible or responsibility. I don’t think it’s our responsibility, I think it’s in our – it’s advantageous to us to do it but I don’t think we have to.

Paul Boag:
So you don’t think it’s our responsibility to deliver a client a successful website? It’s just to deliver them a website.

Marcus Lillington:
It depends on the project I guess. It depends – this goes back to the conversation we’ve had in the past about small budget, small client stuff then you could probably argue that you’re not being paid to do it but it’s still in your best interest to educate your clients because A, their site will be more successful, they’ll be happier. The next time they come round to doing a web project – even if it isn’t with you – then it is more likely to be a more pleasant experience for whoever does that work.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
All of that kind of thing. But anyway yes, I am going to read some stuff.

Paul Boag:
I like Leigh’s comment, which is that he says we define what we do essentially. So he says you should be absolutely clear about what services your business provides and at what rate and what is included when you are discussing a project. And so that would be – to my mind that would negate my responsibility, using your words. So if I was working on a small project, it may be enough to define upfront look, I could build you a website but it will not be successful unless you do – you take your responsibility in it as well. So maybe that is all the education you need to do. Does that make sense?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I mean yes.

Paul Boag:
Being clear about the limitations of what you can do.

Marcus Lillington:
And half the time you don’t know what you need to educate your client in until the requirement becomes obvious.

Paul Boag:
Yes, that’s true.

Marcus Lillington:
And that might be massive. You might think ah, I can’t afford to do this, I’ve got another project starting next week or whatever.

Paul Boag:
Yes. I mean you can – I think in that situation I can think of a case which we – it came across where we got in and we were starting to work with a client and we realized that their in-house developers were not up to the job which obviously is a huge issue and not one that can we resolve in five minutes that I felt the best I could do is point out to the client that this was an issue. And then offer them some ways that we could help but they would be charged for that so we could go in and do training with them or whatever else. We’ll mentor those developers. But yes, I mean if it’s going to cost a lot of money, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t charge for it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. Well, I agree then. Shall I read some more?

Paul Boag:
Yes, go on.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m going to start at the top. Chris says everybody – no, well. See you’ve confused me.

Paul Boag:
No, don’t read the blue bits. I’ve been making that mistake.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s just for me? Right, okay.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. The responsibility of training should fall upon everyone, not a single person. There are aspects to some projects that are out of the remit for designers and developers alone.

Paul Boag:
Which I entirely agree with. Again I always have this problem right, when you write anything that there is no catch-all term for content strategist, a UX designer, a back-end developer; all the web people. I normally call them web professionals but that sounds ballsy. So when I say this house proposes that it’s a responsibility for a web designer, I actually mean anybody in the web team. So I actually completely agree with Chris over that yes, it extends – it might be the project manager that has to teach people stuff. Anybody from our team – in fact, our project managers regularly run or used to regularly run content management training sessions. In fact, we still do, don’t we?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, we do.

Paul Boag:
I don’t know why I said used to. I am horribly out of date with my own company. So yes, I agree with Chris over that. I think he is right. I want to read Some Dudes’ one, simply because he is called Some Dudes.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. He is not good Some Dudes?

Paul Boag:
Some Dude

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. I think that web development is currently in a similar place to the early desktop publishing –an analogy I have often used, Mr. Some Dude – just because I can hold a pen it doesn’t mean I can write Shakespeare, just because I can log into a CMS it doesn’t mean that I can create a decent website. So yes, it is our job as web professionals—he uses this web professional word—to deal with this: offer training and advice. I couldn’t agree with that more. I mean you could have almost transplanted that and put it into the conversation we had about CMSs, couldn’t you?

And I think if you offer training and advice yes, a client might turn it down and yes, you can’t force it on them but we should – I think most web – would you agree with this, Marcus, that most web designers should offer training and advice even if it’s not accepted?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Even if it’s – as an additional paid thing, it should be a service we provide.

Marcus Lillington:
I agree. I think my son is trying to talk to me, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Marcus Lillington:
Two seconds. Wandering out the room.

Paul Boag:
All right. Right, so I’m just going to carry on actually. I could do that, there is no reason why not because actually somebody follows up with the win-win scenario that we were talking about earlier because Marcus was saying it was a win-win scenario and David talks about this. He says yes, web agencies should work together with clients, guiding them through the digital jungle—oh, I like that – it’s a digital jungle out there people—with a digital jungle with education nurturing, et cetera. It’s a win-win as the client’s website continually improves and the agency gets on-going work. So absolutely. I think that’s a really key point. So is Marcus back? He is saying goodbye to his son. His poor son. His son had to go and have an X-ray; it’s all very traumatic and quite moving.

Marcus Lillington:
Sorry about that.

Paul Boag:
It’s a moving story. I’ve carried on without you.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
I don’t know whether that was a good thing. I was talking about the moving story of you having to rush out for your son and take him to the doctors and how it’s a huge example of what a loving father is like.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, that’s right, Paul. Yes, he is okay.

Paul Boag:
Dying he is.

Marcus Lillington:
He is not dying. He has just got a rattly chest.

Paul Boag:
Rattly chest.

Marcus Lillington:
And he was really poorly when he was a little boy.

Paul Boag:
Oh was he? Oh, I didn’t know that.

Marcus Lillington:
So it was a bit of a kind of alarm and his oxygen level was down a bit this morning. We’re not talking about a little boy now but he is 18 now.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
So they said oh, you better go and get chest X-ray.

Paul Boag:
Now I’m feeling rude about being – no, I’m feeling sorry about being rude or perhaps I am feeling rude about being sorry, one or the other. I didn’t realize he was ill as a kid.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Nasty.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, he got pneumonia when he was five over Christmas.

Paul Boag:
Oh, that’s scary. Actually, I did know that, now you said, because I remember the over Christmas bit. Shows how little interest I take in the lives of my colleagues. So I was talking about this win-win scenario that you were talking about earlier.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Which is what David was saying. So it’s pretty cool. You can edit out all of this if you want to but leave it in. People are interested in your life.

Marcus Lillington:
Really?

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
Really not. But anyway but I’ve got to say he is okay, otherwise people might worry.

Paul Boag:
You did just say.

Marcus Lillington:
Did I?

Paul Boag:
You said he had a bit of a rattly chest although that could be extremely serious if it really did rattle.

Marcus Lillington:
No, but that was what had started, that’s why we went to the doctor in the first place, but then I got to the going to the hospital for the X-ray bit.

Paul Boag:
Oh, yes.

Marcus Lillington:
But yes, no he is alright. I mean he has just got an inflammation on his lungs, which is just a…

Paul Boag:
That sounds quite serious.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. But the doctor said tall thin people, because he is really tall and thin, can get holes in their lungs and things like this.

Paul Boag:
Oh my word.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, exactly so – but it’s nothing like that.

Paul Boag:
Holes in his lungs.

Marcus Lillington:
He hasn’t got holes in his lungs.

Paul Boag:
No, I know.

Marcus Lillington:
He has got a slight inflammation which is a virus and it will go away on its own accord.

Paul Boag:
Why do doctors feel the need to tell you things like this. It is like – it’s like whenever you get anything done, they tell you every worst case scenario. We went recently to get injections for…

Marcus Lillington:
Oh, what – you managed to get this one in, Paul?

Paul Boag:
Yes, I got it in. I hadn’t even realized I was doing it. So yeah, we had to get injections for the Maldives and they go through all the different oh, you need this and you need that and the other and it was my 10-year-old son sitting there who worries at the drop of a hat and she is going through well you could really do with – if you were going backpacking around here I’d suggest that you have a typhoid injection, but as you’re going to say in a really posh hotel, you probably don’t need it. But if you want to you can have it. So we were going no, we don’t need that for the place that we’re going to stay. But James just left there going oh my word. So, yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
Don’t have the typhoid one; it really hurts. It’s one of those injections that goes in and you think that’s fine and then it feels like someone has hit you on the arm with a hammer.

Paul Boag:
Oh, good. I’m glad I didn’t have it then.

Marcus Lillington:
And I had one – I don’t know if it was typhoid – but I had one in my leg 25 years ago and it was fine but I stood up and fell over. I stood up from the chair and actually properly fell over.

Paul Boag:
That’s really quite embarrassing.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
So you can’t cut all of that stuff out now because otherwise none of this section will make any sense whatsoever.

Marcus Lillington:
I won’t cut any of it out.

Paul Boag:
No, because you’re too lazy.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I’m certainly not going to cut it out because, Paul, have I told you where I am going next November?

Paul Boag:
Right, so let’s move on. So Simon says to… Go on, where are you going?

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t think I have told you, have I?

Paul Boag:
No. Where are you going?

Marcus Lillington:
We’re going to go to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Yes.

Paul Boag:
Wow. How long for?

Marcus Lillington:
About 17 days it looks like.

Paul Boag:
I was going to say because if it was only a week, were you splitting up and going to a different country each.

Marcus Lillington:
Because you know I’m a bit of a stay at home really.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
This is my wife saying, we’ve been married for 25 years, it’s our silver wedding, take me somewhere on an adventure, I want to go here. I’ve always wanted to go to Halong Bay or Hallong Bay, however you say it.

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
So yes.

Paul Boag:
That sounds superb.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Wow that’s good. No, fair doos. It’s fine.

Marcus Lillington:,
So I’ve got to spend the next year paying for it.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I know that will be an expensive old trip. Because I know your wife, she won’t want to go backpacking it, will she?

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
Although neither would you to be frank.

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
I am still feeling very – talking about us not wanting to rough it. The fact that we’re going out for a Headscape do recently and everybody else is sharing rooms except for me and Marcus because we’re too much as snobs.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, no, I will not stand by that. I was quite happy to share a room but you insisted, Paul.

Paul Boag:
I didn’t insist that you did it. I insisted me but I thought we would all have single rooms.

Marcus Lillington:
No one wants to share with me anyway.

Paul Boag:
Or Ed.

Marcus Lillington:
Or Ed.

Paul Boag:
Because both of you snore like, I don’t know, something prehistoric.

Marcus Lillington:
Big bears, basically. And I’m not a big bear but I do snore like that.

Paul Boag:
Yes, Dan has got an excuse. Not Dan. Why did I say that Dan? Ed. So anyway, so let’s talk about Simon because poor old Simon is waiting in bated breath for us to quote him on the podcast. I bet he is not even listening. To most of those businesses I forgot – do you know what I have even forgotten what we were talking about. What were we talking about?

Marcus Lillington:
The other stuff, holidays, sickness, hospitals which are far more interesting…

Paul Boag:
No, no we weren’t talking about that. We were talking our responsibility to educate. That was it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, but this is boring.

Paul Boag:
Should we just give up? No, we’ve got loads of other people, right. Simon says to most of those businesses they are stepping into new territory. Their business proposition will not have revolved around an online startup idea but probably some traditional offline product or service. It is up to us to educate them about what is becoming an increasingly complex landscape. Now there is a reason why, Simon, that I was so pointed about getting Simon’s quote on the show, is because that’s exactly what I am talking about in my book about how essentially most people started their businesses before the web and are just not in a position to really understand how to leverage the – I can’t believe I’ve just used the word leverage.

Marcus Lillington:
What, how to leverage the synergy of…

Paul Boag:
Yes, leverage the synergy of the web.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, exactly.

Paul Boag:
So that. Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
We are doing some blue sky thinking at the moment.

Paul Boag:
We are.

Marcus Lillington:
And we should hit the ground running.

Paul Boag:
Exactly. Alistair says no, it is not the responsibility of a web designer to educate and he says this very, very definitely. So no, it’s not the responsibility of web designers to educate clients about to how to run their website. It is the responsibility of web designers to ensure the client have access to the educational information about how to run their website. Subtly different.

Marcus Lillington:
Isn’t that the same thing?

Paul Boag:
No I think what he saying is we should just be pointing them in the right direction of the kind of things they should be reading and looking up on.

Marcus Lillington:
But the pointing is educating them. Isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
I think we are splitting—what is it?—splitting hairs, splitting semantics. That’s not a thing.

Marcus Lillington:
No, I disagree with that.

Paul Boag:
I disagree with it but for a slightly different reason. I disagree with it because I don’t think it’s enough just to point them at A List Apart or even Boagworld. Do you know what I mean?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, because I am not sure that that’s particularly for them.

Paul Boag:
No. Well.

Marcus Lillington:
You need to make what – the education, for want of a better word, relevant to their situation and relevant to their business. Just saying go and read A List Apart, though it is obviously interesting a lot of the time it might not be to them. They might think this is completely irrelevant to me.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. So you need to pick out the bits that they need to know really.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly.

Paul Boag:
Dean puts an interesting angle on it and I think we’ll finish with Dean because this has become very waffley. He says that it’s a real shame to see all the hard work put into creating a site wasted with a lack of bad management, right? Equally it’s such a pleasure when a client takes ownership and pride in their site. Without a doubt, there are the sites that generate the best results for everyone involve. So he is saying do it for yourself really, do it for your own sense of job satisfaction. The reason I resonate so much with that is because for us that led to a whole new stream of business didn’t it?

I got to a point where I was fed up. I actually wrote a post—link in the show notes to a post I wrote—about essentially me going I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of delivering websites that are then left to fester and die. I’ve had enough of delivering templates that don’t get integrated properly; I am going to do something about it. And that’s when we started getting into digital strategy and governance and helping clients with all these other areas that is a now a big part of what we do because I just – I wanted that job satisfaction of being able to look at a website and go yes, that’s come out well and it will continue to survive well and it will grow after we walk away. And I love that.

I love that even last week with the University of Strathclyde where I could take a team of people or me, Leigh and Chris to be fair, before I take all the credit, we could take a team of people that have never worked in an agile way and never come across things like pre-processors and never thought moduley and in terms of patent libraries or anything like that, had a complete new different way of working and we introduced them to a whole new way of doing things that would make their lives so much easier and this week they’ve got great feedback from internally within the organization because simply because we had been able to take them into a different way of working.

And that was just great. That is satisfaction for me. And that is probably why I want to educate people the most. That sounded like a bit of a preach, didn’t it really?

Marcus Lillington:
It did yeah.

Paul Boag:
I went back to my Christian roots or something or my father – my grandfather’s Pentecostal fire and brimstone stuff. And join me dear brothers in our quest for better something. Trailed off a bit.

Marcus Lillington:
For stuff. For good stuff.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So I think that about wraps – don’t laugh at me, Marcus, I’m incoherent, leave me alone. Have you got a joke then?

Marcus Lillington:
I have. I’ve been spending the whole…

Paul Boag:
Whole bloody section not contributing.

Marcus Lillington:
Trying to find a joke but this – one from Ian Lasky which I – obviously Ian’s I like most of time.

Paul Boag:
Can I say what you ought to do is prepare the joke beforehand.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Never will you do that. It’s like every time I talk about you doing getting things done, you go yeah and then never do it. Every time I talk about inbox zero you go yeah and never do it. Every time I suggest that you might want to write a list you go yeah and never do it.

Marcus Lillington:
I write lists. No, I do write lists.

Paul Boag:
Yeah right. Every time… It feels sometimes like we’re married, Marcus, and over the years those little things really begin to bug you. 25 years next year, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, indeed.

Paul Boag:
You must be like 90. You got married very, very young.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
How old were you actually?

Marcus Lillington:
22.

Paul Boag:
Were you really?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes. I was a dad at 25.

Paul Boag:
How old was your wife when you got married?

Marcus Lillington:
Same. We are five days apart. I am five days older than her.

Paul Boag:
Oh really? That must make birthday feel really pointless because essentially you’re just swapping gifts.

Marcus Lillington:
Well no, it’s a really good excuse to have a big party that lasts about a week.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I like that logic, that’s good. Although actually I realize that that is fundamentally flawed what I just said because that’s what Christmas is, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
What when you each give gifts to everyone, to each other.

Paul Boag:
Yes, I know. Pointless.

Marcus Lillington:
Bloody pointless.

Paul Boag:
I’m really into the Christmas spirit, you could tell. Go on then, what’s this Ian Lasky’s joke?

Marcus Lillington:
A woman takes her unconscious pet rabbit to the vet. He checks it over and says I am sorry but it’s dead, there is nothing I can do. She sobs, there must be. Okay, says the vet, who leaves the room and returns with a Labrador who sniffs the rabbit up and down before turning around and making a sad face. The vet then brings in a cat who looks all over the rabbit before shaking its head. Sorry says the vet, there really is no hope. That would be £250 please. The woman splutters £250 for that. The vet replies, it would have only been £35 but for the – but the extra is for the lab report and the cat scan.

Paul Boag:
That shouldn’t have amused me but did. It’s a sad state of affairs.

Marcus Lillington:
I just like the idea of a Labrador that makes a sad face; that’s what gets me.

Paul Boag:
Yes. I know. And the cat just sitting there shaking its head. No. Computer says no. Right, so that’s it. We’ve survived it, only one more of this season to go.

Marcus Lillington:
And the Christmas one.

Paul Boag:
Oh yeah, I forgot the Christmas one. Yes, that’s an anomaly that will come part way through randomly when we get round to it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Cool. All right then see you guys next week for the last ever show. Don’t forget to check out the…

Marcus Lillington:
It’s not going to be the last ever show, Paul.

Paul Boag:
No, I know. Oh leave me alone. I want to go back to bed now. I’m going to go. Come back next week, we’ll be talking about other stuff. Bye.

Marcus Lillington:
Bye.

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