OK, I want to dive right in here and talk about everyone’s favorite topic: Cross Browser testing. Here at Velvet Ink Media we, of course, test out our CSS/HTML builds in all major browsers like any good agency should.
Recently I was asked the question of guaranteeing our web standards across the major browsers when they release updates. I initially blurted out “of course, we guarantee our work.” But then I paused and really pondered the question being asked and how our company should really handle this.
You want the client to have the best possible experience. You want to deliver an outstanding website that will stand the test of time (including browser updates). But, obviously, we cannot predict the changes that Internet Explorer may throw at us or the update Firefox forces on us. Hence the dilemma.
In no way a client should be held responsible for a brand new website they just had developed when Chrome’s latest update causes a few bugs on their website. So what can we do? Where do we meet in the middle to solve this?
Unfortunately, it is not an easy situation. As a developer, you spend anywhere from 30 – 60 hours on coding and producing any given project. That is a lot of time. If a browser releases an update and causes you another 30 hours of work to make the transition then that puts a company in a bind.
I think that to be a rare occasion. As a responsible business owner, it is on you to do the right thing and take care of the client. If a change does occur that affects the site’s layout, it is more than likely minimal. In this situation we should take care of the issue and fix a site at no charge.
However, there are two very specific situations where this will not be the case. I call these the “Two Times“.
Lapse of Time – say, 16 months after completing a WordPress site for Joe’s Plumbing, Internet Explorer 10 comes out. Most like the new release will affect Joe’s website and break a few things. VIM maybe hard pressed to fix the issues at no charge. While we guarantee our work for some time after the project is completed, we cannot predict and insure against changes that do and will occur in third-party technologies. The Web is always moving forward, it’s as simple as that.
Amount of Time – if Joe’s Plumbing website has issues after a browser update and causes the agency a large amount of hours to fix them, then a fee must be agreed upon. I consider anything over 5 hours to be a large number. Again, this goes back to shared responsibility. We cannot guarantee against third-party updates, just like Joe cannot guarantee that the product he’s been using for years to fix pipes all of a sudden stops working.
There are just some unfortunate risks for both parties involved when building websites. And while we continue to build our agency on client satisfaction, we also have a responsibility to be a successful business. We’ve been fortunate enough to avoid the ugly situations so far, in large part thanks to our work standards and a solid framework. But it doesn’t mean it will never happen.
So to minimize unpleasant situations caused by unpredictable third-party changes, releases and upgrades, we offer Website Maintenance Plans. There are several options available to fit every need and every budget. Contact us for more details.