Incomplete Web site

Web site not completed, who's fault?


A Web site was commissioned for a school in London. There was a deadline for the site to go live which meant the site had to be built in a three month window. My opinion was sought on "issues of the quality of all of the website designs supplied by the Claimant"
In addition "the amount of time which a reasonable website designer would have spent in doing the work which the Claimant did."

The designs put forward by the Web designer were not liked by the school and this lead to some delay and eventually the site build was postponed for six months and then cancelled. The Web design company claimed the outstanding fees via the court.

My involvement:

I was acting as Single Joint Expert (SJE) on the case as has become customary in smaller cases. It was my opinion that the designs put forward did represent a reasonable interpretation of the school's design idea (laid out in a document supplied to the designer). I believe that the procedure used by the Web design company was impaired by the fact that they short cut their own process and did not hold a design meeting initially.

The case threw up some interesting questions. In particular, how do you decide whether a design is good value for money or even just a good design in itself. It isn't sufficient to say, even as an expert, "I liked it". I needed to look at other Web sites in comparison and to judge the design by the standards of the day. Does it stand up against the competition? Would the average user find it easy to use and professional looking? I believe that it passed on both counts.

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