We all find ourselves in situations, from time to time, where we have to trust other people – doctors, dentists, accountants, even your website developer, and many others who offer services that we are not skilled or qualified to perform ourselves. But too frequently we simply assume that, because they have a diploma hanging on the wall or letters after their names, they are fully competent and capable of delivering what we want without being monitored.
The folly of this kind of assumption was quite shockingly brought home to me recently after I had collected my car from a body repairer.
The car had been in the shop for some minor dents and scratches on the driver’s door to be fixed. I collected the car late in the afternoon, checked the work which looked perfect, collected the keys and drove off.
The repair shop was situated down a rather narrow country lane, about a mile off the main road; the kind of lane where speeds of more than about 30 mph would be downright dangerous. However, when I finally reached the main road I was able to put my foot down. Not for long, however.
About a half mile up the road, doing about 55-60 mph, I heard a bang and everything when black. At this point instinct took over. I hit the brakes, still wondering what was going on until, after what seemed like an age but in reality was about half a second, I realized that the bonnet had flown open. Luckily I was able to stop without hitting anything or anything hitting me from behind. However, the bonnet itself was trashed and the windscreen shattered.
How could this have happened? Someone at the body shop must have failed to close the bonnet properly. But why would they have opened it in the first place? The repairs were to the driver’s door so there would have been no need to open the bonnet. All these thoughts were going through my head as I gingerly drove back to the shop, metaphorically kicking myself for not checking the bonnet before setting off, but then telling myself that I had no cause to and there were no visible signs that it had been left open.
How many times do any of us check after someone else has done work for us? We tend to accept the doctor’s diagnosis because he/she is the expert. We drive off from the car repairer or service station without checking – like me. Do we check that the wheel nuts have been tightened properly after having new tyres fitted? (I’ve had a wheel fall off for this very reason and I can tell you it’s not funny.)
So how is all this relevant to website you may ask? Many people simply trust their web developer to do the right thing without checking or getting involved. As a web developer, I can tell you that there are many people that do this. So, if you’re contemplating getting any work done to your website, or even getting a new site, here’s some advice.
- Accept that you are going to have to get involved in the process from time to time; providing text and images, checking designs, checking content, for example.
- Treat your involvement as high priority if you want the developer to finish the work on time. I’ve had development projects delayed for months because clients have not bothered to deliver their input.
- Accept that it’s your business and your website, and so you need to check the site before it goes live. In the same way that you would proof read an advert or brochure, you need to proof read your website.
But back to my story. What did finally happen after I took the car back to the shop. Luckily the repair guy accepted responsibility although he couldn’t understand how it could have happened. He fixed the damage free and quickly. The car was back on the road in a couple of days.
All’s well that ends well but it underlined to me that “you get what you inspect not what you expect“.