etiquette n.
1. (Sociology) the customs or rules governing behaviour regarded as correct or acceptable in social or official life
2. (Sociology) a conventional but unwritten code of practice followed by members of any of certain professions or groups: medical etiquette.

As a designer/developer I am often required it translate complex solutions into simple answers. To do so as efficiently as possible. I need to know specific information as well as your overall desire. This means, if you want me to change something be sure to tell me what you want me to change it to. This applies to specific as well as general requests.

Compare these two requests:

“The form is sending email to the wrong address. I want it sent to my new site.”

“Could you change the email address for all the forms on my site to my new email address at”

Notice, that the first request gives no relevant information: which form(s)? which email address? etc. The second request is simple, easy to follow, and makes sense. It offers little opportunity to be misconstrued. Always make an effort to specific pages, email addresses, text, photo references, etc. when you have a specific task for your developer.

Now that said, many times the burden is on the developer to make sense of a customer’s questions and this is perfectly reasonable, because the onus is not on the customer to be as tech savvy as the person who built their site.

Consider this rather vague question but perfectly reasonable question.

“Does the person know when I read the email from the form?”

Now, the answer to this question is simple. No, not unless you reply to it. However, the client is asking something more substantial, they just don’t know it. The answer to which could be anything from a nice little email form response letter to a full fledged client relationship management system.

It is up to you to listen to the client carefully to understand and distinguish between a customer’s wants and their specific needs. It is up to the customer to be specific enough so you can accomplish the task.

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