So, I just recently closed a website project that pretty much was The Oatmeals' Design Hell, but with content. The client loved the site at the beginning but started getting other people involved and mercilessly bombarding us with their opinions.
We served a carefully thought content strategy (which the client approved) and extremely curated copywriting that took us four months after at least 5 requirement changes (new content, new objectives for the business, changed offerings, new mindfaps, etc.) that required us to rewrite the content about 3 times.
The client never gave timely feedback even though we kept the process open for him and his people to see (content being developed transparently in Google Docs). Near the end of the project he still wanted to make changes but wanted us to finish already (there are not enough words in the world to even try to make sense of this).
So I explained to him the obvious implications of the never-ending requirement changes and advised him to take the time to gather his thoughts with his own team and see the new content introduced as a new content maintenance project.
He happily accepted, but on the day of training/delivery things went very wrong and we have no idea why.
The client didn't even allow the site to be out for a week with the content we developed for him and quickly replaced us with a Joomla savvy intern so that he completely destroy the content with shallow, unstructured, tasteless and plain wordsmithing (and I'm not even being visceral).
Worst insult of all, he revoked our access from his server and the deployed CMS not even having passed 10 minutes of being given his administrator account (we realized the day after that he did it in our own office, the nerve!).
Everybody involved in the team is enraged and insulted. I never want to see this happen again. So, to try to make sense of this situation and avoid it in the future with new clients I have two concrete questions:
- Is there even an appropriate course of action with a client like this?, or is he just not worth the trouble of analyzing (blindly hoping this never repeats again).
- In the exercise to try and blame ourselves instead of the client and take this as a lesson of... something, how should we set expectations for new clients about the working terms, process and final product so that they are discouraged from mauling the content to their own contempt once they get the codes to the nukes (access to the CMS)?