The Need for Website Consultancy is perhaps not always appreciated by clients or traditional website designers. When asked website designers readily agree clients do not know what they want. This is not really a problem – many people have out of date ideas about websites and don’t really know what is possible. They need help to pin down exactly how a website can help them achieve their purpose, even if they are not clear about what their purpose is!

In an Introduction to Consultancy I contrast two approaches to consultancy: expert consultancy where the consultant knows more than the client and non-directive consultancy, where the consultant does not necessarily have any knowledge of the topic of the consultancy. Most website designers fall somewhere between the two types.

The first thing to understand about non-directive consultancy is the relationship between Consultant and Consultor. The Consultor has an active role in the relationship because they are the expert!

There are Four Models of Consultancy and in this introductory post, I list them and suggest why third sector organisations need this approach.

The Four Models are:

  1. Situation – where the client needs help to sort out their purpose online.
  2. Projects – where the client knows what they need but needs help to design it
  3. Problems – are sometimes intractable issues that prevent your web project from going ahead. They are often shared by more than one group.
  4. Cases – are problems with a unique history. They need to be owned by the consultor and almost always about the breakdown of relationships. Sometimes the case needs to be addressed before progress can be made.

So, what is the relationship between Consultancy and Design? A consultant need never do any work on the clients’ website. The client may have their own team who can take care of the technical side but still needs support to carry out their purpose online.