WEB development should not lose focus of the client’s core competency.
WEB development and digital marketing is a difficult business because developers must wear many hats. As a developer, I find myself constantly trying to understand the core business and products of my clients as well as keeping current with the many aspects of WEB design and ecommerce. As a result of this issue, it is easy to lose sight of the client’s focus and core competency. Recently, I had this occur and I thought that I would share this story because even when we are customer centered, this problem can still occur.
My client is a yoga instructor and her and I have been working for weeks to make corrections on her website. This has not been an easy task. Our conversation starts with the owner, Karen, and I discussing her website. Usually, this conversation is me presenting ideas and her shooting them down. This has been our routine now for months. I tell her, “You need to fix this or that on your website!” Like a tiger defending a cub, she defiantly protects her website.
“As your developer, I am telling you that you need to fix these things. We need to make some changes on your site to help the customer experience.”
I know I am correct. I know what needs to be done. I know she believes me, but every change is tug of war in which I must convince her of the necessity and urgency of the work. She stands defiant and scolds me like a child,
“You need to come to my yoga class. Once you experience it you will understand why we must make changes in the way I ask.”
“Fine, yoga it is.” I respond.
I head out my door around 8:30 am and head to Waikiki armed with my beach towel and ready to “yoga”. “Why won’t she just listen to me?” I debate silently as I wind my way through the morning pedestrians and traffic. “I’m not asking a lot- just to reword content on the pages and to make it more user friendly.” Why can’t she understand this??
I spot Karen’s yoga class setting up. As I make way to the group, my internal grumblings return, and the moment of peace I felt gives way to my will and desire to make her understand my position. I return to my strategy concerning this class- figuring that if I satisfy her desire to experience her class that this will somehow cause her to realize I am right.
The instructor begins the class, introducing herself, and starting a meditation. I listen to the instructor, as she reminds us of the sounds of the ocean and the gentle touch of the wind. In a moment, she has brought back that moment of peace and serenity. As we are led thought he motions of different poses, for a moment, I seem to grasp this elusive and powerful thing about yoga.
To say it is meditation lacks critical understanding. Out here, next to the ocean, all of nature seems to interlace with my thoughts, emotions, and body. For a moment, I feel different as the instructor’s voice seems distant like the echo of a siren calling me to some perfect place. In that space in time, I am balanced again. Somehow this strange practice of poses and breathing has created symmetry and internal peace. The lull of the ocean washes over me. The sun caresses my skin and holds me in its warmth. It is all accepting, inclusive, and healing. In a moment, I am restored and rejuvenated. I am balanced like I have never been before.
My moment of spiritual harmony fades quickly. I begin to realize that I am struggling. My breathing is not right. The instructor helps me saying “breathe slow, take your time”. I become frustrated because I have lost this perfect moment. I am applying pressure and trying to force the moment back and this is only driving it further away. I must stop. My breathing is erratic, I am lightheaded now, and feel sick. I am embarrassed because I had to step out of the group.
The Karen tells me that it takes practice, and that I once my breathing is correct, I will feel greater benefit from yoga. When I left, I felt different. Despite my feelings of failure, I was assured by other students that I would get better. There was not judgement- no competition. I realized that my fellow students were different than me. They embodied that feeling I could only begin to grasp for a moment. Is this what Karen has been trying to explain to me? I begin to realize that I have missed her focus because I could not understand what she was offering.
As I walked home, I realized why her website was designed in the matter it was. Although it needed a lot of work, I understood that she was attempting to provide her clients with an offer of a tranquility and life enriching experience. It was in this moment I realized the I had made an error in judgement. While I was enhancing the functionality and aesthetics of her website, I was detracting from this core ideal of providing a rewarding spiritual experience. In my efforts to make her site convert more business, I lost the meaning of the product.
I thought this was a great learning experience because it shows how we can have biases that diminish our capacity for understanding our customers and their needs. At this point, I can approach her site more effectively and build it in tune with her desire to remain true to her purpose of providing a spiritual experience founded on principles and practices of mindfulness.