Gently "pushing back" with a client

How do you find the balance between "client's always right" and them trusting your expertise?

I have a client who wants to take the interactivity out of a couple of slides.  (For example, one of them has various tips that become visible only when you click on certain objects--she just wants them to be viewable upfront so the user doesn't have to click at all to see them.)

Ultimately it's her decision as the client; but first I'd like to gently point out the benefits of making things interactive rather than users simply viewing the information. 

Anyone else come across this dilemma?  If so, how did you handle it?

15 Replies
Phil Mayor

Ultimately the client is paying and my aim is to give the client what they want.

Click to reveals are not really interactive and can be intrusive to the experience particularly if you are clicking a lot and not revealing much.  

You can "educate" your client on the benefits to interacting with an element as they may not be aware of the purpose for this (the clients doesn't know what the don't know). If they still want it to just be visible then I think you need to give them what they want.

It really depends on if it is a battle worth fighting or is something that by doing so may damage your relationship with the client?

Bruce Graham

Clients are not always right. Very often they actually want you to guide them, and will pay for that advice. That is called "value add", and is what will raise you up the business value chain from "suppliers" into "trusted partners" (eventually).

That said, once done, the client is always right. If they do not want something, do not try and force it, but as an ID you/we all have a responsibility to educate people in OUR area of expertise.

Phil is right. Just because it is interactive does not make it ANY more "interesting" or useful from an educational perspective. Heresy I know, but really - what does a "click and reveal" actually add? If there is a REASON to it, perhaps, if it is just to "...make it more interesting" then perhaps the direct "read this" approach is a better way to go.

There are NO benefits to "interactivity", only benefits to "interactivity that add something to the learning experience".

Hang on, I need to answer the door as I think the ID police have arrived..............   ;)

Nicole Legault

Hi Vonetta!

Great topic, thanks for bringing it up. 

I tend to agree with Phil. When I add an interactivity to my course design I always have to have a solid explanation for how that interactivity brings instructional value to the course. I see a lot of people adding in click and reveals and interactions just for the sake of adding interactions. But forcing someone to click to see new content isn't exactly making your content more engaging or interactive. So, you should have a purpose or reason that you can clearly articulate to the client for WHY that interactivity provides value and helps the learner. After all, that's the ultimate goal.

Is there too much content to display on one slide, so it makes more sense to reveal it chunk by chunk? That could be a valid reason. If you can't think of any value the interactivity really brings to the learner, maybe it shouldn't be there. 

Hope this helps :) Hope to hear more feedback from other community members!

Vonetta Booker

Thanks for your input, everyone!  Phil, I agree--ultimately, I think I'll explore/present different solutions and let the client decide which works the best, & we'll go w/ that. 

Also, as I'm pretty new to ID, I've been trying hard to stick with the "make it interactive!" theme, as I didn't want my stuff to come off as a glorified PowerPoint presentation, lol.  But you guys make good points--it's definitely about making sure any interactivity has a purpose; not just making things interactive for the hell of it. 

Jerson  Campos

"Form follows Function" is an old principle that I have applied when creating my graphic designs and now I also apply to my instructional design. 

Simply placing interactive elements in a course just to "make it interactive!" doesn't make it better. It does need a purpose. Once it has this purpose it will make it easier for you to convince the client why it is necessary. 

I'm doing a course right now with a lot of click and reveals mostly due to content. I can't reduce the content because a lot of it is legal stuff, but I use click and reveals to break the content up into chunks that could be grouped together so that it is easier to digest by the learner. Instead of displaying it across 5-8 screens, I have reduced it to 2-3 slides and allow the learner to explore the interactions. I didn't do this just to make it more interactive, but because it served a purpose. 

That's just my 2cents.

Adele Sommers

Hello, Vonetta! 

I agree with Phil, Bruce, Nicole, and Jerson.

On this very subject, I recently had an occasion to counsel a client whose courses I was hired to critique. Each module dutifully contained one or more "click to reveal" Engage interactions (although they could just have easily been Storyline). Some interactions were very nicely designed, but others seemed problematic, especially when they were crammed with details that did not really elucidate the content.

Although I know you will undoubtedly do a beautiful job of designing your own, here's a paraphrased version of how I explained to my clients my concerns about overdoing it:

  • Click-to-reveal content interactions are generally best suited for exploring “nice-to-know” information. If the content involves “must-know” information, it may be better to put it onto regular slides with reinforcing narration.
  • For example, participants with frequent interruptions and distractions might accidentally bypass the details within an interaction or might not view them in their entirety. It’s easy to lose track of one’s place and unintentionally miss something important if one's attention is split in several different directions.
  • It's also best to use interaction types that offer enough real estate so users won’t have to scroll through the text. Instances in which the text is “buried” inside of the text panels to the point that it requires scrolling raise a concern about whether some content will be overlooked or not clearly understood.

These issues may or may not apply to your situation or to your client's audience. But I think the points can be useful as a way to justify not going overboard with click-to-reveal information, and ideally relegating it to discretionary, “nice-to-know” content.

Jeff Kortenbosch

Some good points here by everyone. If I feel strongly about something about what I've designed I tend to show the client their solution and mine and have them compare. In the end, if the client will pay me do create something purple with blinking gold polka-dots against my advice, they can have it and I'll make sure they'll absolutely love it... I will remove all traces of my professional identity though :)

Other than that you could try Tom Kuhlmann's Fuzzy Thumb technique.

Simon Blair

Great advice guys!

My two cents: clicking to reveal is no more interactive than clicking Next to go to the next page. I'd consider a click to reveal if:

  • the content needed to be on the same page, and
  • showing it all at once would be overwhelming

That said, and taking a cue from Adele's comments, perhaps the slide could should a concise version of the information or a hint about it and the reveal could amplify on that? Sort of like the difference between what's on the slide projector and what the presenter says when they're using PowerPoint properly.

Nicola Redfearn

I tried the fuzzy thumb approach once.  I wanted the sponsor to accept the framework I'd planned for a website, so i used garish colours for the demo buttons so they would focus on changing those and not the overall plan.

Twist to the story:  They loved the colours and told me to go ahead with them!

 

Nancy Woinoski
Nicola Redfearn

I tried the fuzzy thumb approach once.  I wanted the sponsor to accept the framework I'd planned for a website, so i used garish colours for the demo buttons so they would focus on changing those and not the overall plan.

Twist to the story:  They loved the colours and told me to go ahead with them!

 

LOL, I used to use this method as well but don't anymore because too often the client liked the stuff I wanted them to reject.

Vonetta Booker
Nancy Woinoski
Nicola Redfearn

I tried the fuzzy thumb approach once.  I wanted the sponsor to accept the framework I'd planned for a website, so i used garish colours for the demo buttons so they would focus on changing those and not the overall plan.

Twist to the story:  They loved the colours and told me to go ahead with them!

 

LOL, I used to use this method as well but don't anymore because too often the client liked the stuff I wanted them to reject.

 

LOL, too funny!  But these are all great points, guys.  I think I'm going to add these to my "Best Practices" file!  Thanks for all the good input :-)

Bruce Graham

It's funny - I never think of it as "pushing back", for me it's just - always - a conversation with my clients. They tell me I am wrong, I tell them they are wrong. We discuss, we always end up getting through it.

For me, this thread emphasises so much that it is all about relationships, business, technique, and technology - normally in that order of importance.

Simon Blair

Excellent point, Bruce!

"Pushing back" has rather confrontational connotations, whether conscious or subconscious. If nothing else, it can encourage you to think in terms of one party being right and the other being wrong.

Thinking of the situation as a conversation or a discussion may open up more opportunities to collaborate and/or compromise and find a solution that everybody likes.