Simple complicated disconnect

2
Feb
2011

Today was a day when the simple (seeming) was very difficult, and the difficult (seeming) was very easy. I had two separate clients, each with their own project and a deadline. One is a graphic designer who mostly works in print. He presented me with a simple, beautiful design, comprised of some words sitting in the middle of a color field. Simple. Then he told me he wanted the text to be centered on the web page. Not as easy as one would think, but still not very difficult. And then he told me that he wanted the proportion size of that text to stay the same relative to the window size. That meant that when someone resized the browser window, the text had to grow in size and stay centered. While this is a fairly easy thing to accomplish in Flash, that would rule out all iPhones and iPads, so I needed to do it in html and javascript. Believe it or not, this is a pretty tricky thing to make work well in any browser, let alone across browsers and platforms. The effect is simple, the coding — not so much. Still, I managed to make it work (I will post a link once the site is complete  for those who are interested), but I feel bad that my client will be wondering why it took so long for something that seemed so simple.

And then a second, brand new client comes to me in a panic today. Her site, where she sells clothing, has stopped working. None of the purchases are going through to Paypal, and she doesn’t know why or how, and isn’t technical enough to tell me the particulars. Without even going into it, and not knowing her system at all, it seems like it could end up being a chase down a rabbit hole to determine what is wrong. I am leery of even taking this on because she has almost no budget and I have no way of knowing beforehand how long this could take. I login to her site admin to poke around, and almost immediately I see a simple misconfiguration that once changed, solves the problem. Total time spent with this client, including emails and fix? About 15 minutes. For something that seemed really complicated.

You never know, do you?

Comments

  1. Mom says:

    Now, if you were a lawyer, you’d bill that 15 minute job as at least an hour…..

  2. Stephen says:

    I did bill the 15 minutes, but as a 1/4 of my hourly rate. I can’t bring myself to charge for a lot of time I didn’t spend, so I bill in 15 min increments. This is probably why I will never be a) rich nor b) a lawyer.