[thelist] client works sheets - good or bad or just homogeneity?

Alex Beston alex.beston at gmail.com
Mon Jul 30 19:14:47 CDT 2007

Hi Evolt

I decided to check this new phenomenon that is the Client Worksheet.

Going on from my post [0] about a very nice version of the worksheet
format [1] (possibly the best of its kind; elegant, no doubt), a
self-emailable pdf (how on earth do you make one of those??!) -

I think these worksheets are just plain no good, especially on the
main site / front page - it makes the client do all the work and risks
losing genuines at the apparent benefit of filtering out the tyre

A time waster would never go to the trouble of actually spelling out
what he wants because it would just reveal that he doesnt know what he
wants and just wants something for nothing, right?

So prescreen everyone with the form and hey presto - no tyre kickers!

Heres the best way to do it I feel:


"Want a proposal or consultation? Send us your project goals or other
information you'd like to talk about."

Nice and simple.

Client chooses how much s/he wants to do, nothing if they so desires,
and the relationship is begun without any fuss.

(( Nice touch (next to the contact form submit): "Receive a copy in
your inbox." ))

To iterate: This approach is just so straighforward; gets to the point
of clarifying the needs of the client without immediately burdening
the Prospect with a whole load of work at the outset.

If what you receive isnt upto scratch, you can always send them the
form or just call 'em up and ask the questions direct!

If they are overwhelmed or cant think on their feet ( unlikely as a
businessman has his business at the foremost of his mind, always
available on tap as it were ) then offer to send them a worksheet only
*with the questions that needing clarifying*.

Then, ofcourse, if all goes well, then you go through the final
answers, and send back a verbal recount / summary of what you have
from them in a couple of pages or paragraphs, and if they agree to
then great: the project has started and hope to christ that they dont
run off with your proposal when they have it.

So thats how I would proceed. I tried a version of the format myself
but its just there if my memory runs dry and I can pick questions from
the 20 or so there (actually there are more as someone pointed out to
me) as the whim arises whilst in the conversation proceeds.

So super, but what about this phenonmenon - where did it start? anyone
know? clearleft perhaps?

(strangely enough there seem to have been an explosion of these things
since I saw clearleft do it about a year ago.)

I have a feeling that all web design agencies will bung one of these
client homeworks on their front page. If I were a client I just
wouldnt know who to pick since they all seem to ask the same

So whats the format of these worksheets?

A) you & your organisation (what do you do)

B) the project (whats yer budget & whats the time scale?)

C) the new site (what do you want it to be)

D) current site (whats good? whats not?)

E) the audience

F) who you aspire to

G) and the extra info bit!

blah blah, everyones at it;

The formats there:

1) wap your logo at the top

2) make some dreary apology why they ought to do your job (the
discovery phase) for them and how it helps everyone concerned

3) where to email it

4) and then rattle off topics 1 through to G  and your done!  - client
requirements are *over*

The reply back you can more or less read it through check for
inconsistencies and blanks spaces, follow up on,  and add a section of
the complete requirements for them to sign print out and fax back and
on to the proposal you go, the next stage in the machinery a-go-go.

Heres 10 examples all working in parrot fashion one mysteriously of
which, ofcourse, is the originator.  [2]

1) http://www.clearleft.com/worksheet/client-worksheet.doc (the
original i think?)

2) http://www.fullcreammilk.co.uk/download/fcm_worksheet.rtf

3) http://www.minlotec.com/worksheet/worksheet.rtf

4) http://serenegreen.com/worksheet.rtf

5) http://www.vee3d.com/doc/Client_Worksheet_RTF_v2_StudioVee.rtf
(a bit cut down by the same sort of thing)

6) http://www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk/downloads/rfq_2007.pdf

7) http://www.websmithgroup.com/worksheet_client.pdf

8) http://www.j6design.com/clientworksheet.doc

9) http://www.incredio.com/Incredio_client_worksheet.rtf (no logo this time)

10) and last but not least, my own little copy (unlinked to from the main site):


(but i hardly needed to add that to make the numbers up :P )

The online forms (a better way to go though HTTPS should be used, surely.. ) :

http://www.webmosaics.com/web/design/worksheet.htm (this one is
actually seems to break the mould and is available as a FORM!!! whoo!
shame those private details dont get entered via HTTPS ;) same goes
for (though possibly best of the genre -
http://www.bopia.com/contact/mini/ )

So to sum up I just feel that theres a definite homogenity going on
here - everyones like - " lets do the same as each other - safely in
numbers " and the nasty tyre kickers wont waste our time ever again


Onward Via The Newly Smooth Path To Web Design Riches Over Yonder!!



/awaits _backlash

[0] http://lists.evolt.org/archive/Week-of-Mon-20070730/191101.html

[1] http://phazm.com/files/ProjectSpecifications.pdf

[2] gleaned via :


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