The phone rang at 6 a.m. Yes, six o’clock this morning. We didn’t answer it since the phone in the bedroom is not working at the moment and I haven’t taken the time to resolve the problem. I hate being woken by the phone. It’s especially unnerving when the phone rings after midnight or before 8 a.m. because fears of emergencies involving older family members always come to mind first.
I hate the chain reaction set off by early morning phone ringing: It wakes the puppy, who then cries because she has to go out. This makes Mel stumble out of bed. The puppy crying and Mel moving around wakes up the bird, who then begins to whistle, call and talk. By the time she has taken the dogs out and brought them back in the bird is in full swing. If I am lucky, Mel has closed the bedroom door and I can continue to snooze a bit if the bird quiets down. It depends on how early it is.
Whether it’s the bird or the puppy, Mel coming in and out of the bedroom or crawling back in bed, or the phone, I can usually count on having the last two hours of my sleep interrupted about six times. Never mind that I hit the snooze button on the alarm clock for at least an hour… doesn’t everyone? How bothered I am by all of this is a function of what time I went to sleep. And since I’m a night owl, it usually isn’t too early. The 6 a.m. call today was unusual, so I was too tired to be annoyed… until I got to work.
When I got to work I had an email waiting for me from the director of our theater. I’d updated their site last week for the upcoming season. Second paragraph: “I hate to say it, but I don’t love the site.” Third paragraph: “… what difference does it make about these download issues you write about?” and “The home page gives me the impression that the theater is a rinky-dink operation.” he wrote. Uhhh, thanks. He then detailed every minute change he wants made. Three pages worth. He wants an exact reproduction of the brochure he’d designed (and he’s not a designer) and every graphic should be “at least 3 inches larger.”
I had produced a very nice alternate home page for the web site and explained in an email why I wasn’t doing an exact reproduction of the brochure. When I met with him last week I’d explained then that larger graphics and graphical text makes the pages slower to load. Slower loading pages makes usability suffer and this can alienate users. What if you are an older, theater-goer on a dial-up connection with lower screen resolution? (The majority of our audience is probably older than 55.) Do you sit around and wait for a web page to load, or do you bail? Hmmm… thought so. I thought I was pretty clear but apparently he doesn’t get it.
He asked for my “indulgence” several times in the email. Of course, the client is always right… However, I’m the professional in this realm and what he’s asking for is way outside of what is considered to be best practice. I can’t have his desires compromise my work and publish a website that would be amateurish with respect to presentation and usability. That would be a worse representation of the school and its theater (no to mention me) than would having a site that uses the brochure elements (keeping with the look) and functions well. Oh well, gotta go figure out where I can’t compromise and how to tell him nicely how to piss off. *wink*
Oh, and the six a.m. phone call? Turned out to be from the nursing home Mel works at. They wanted her to do the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift today. She’d already told them long ago they shouldn’t ever call her for first shift because she won’t do it. (And because the early morning calls scare us.) I guess they need a reminder.