A Code of Ethics is a guiding set of principles; used by professionals to run their business with integrity, honesty and accountability. Beyond describing details as to what we shall or shall not do, our code also describes: how problems are approached and solved, decisions are made, standards are upheld and how we put your values to work.
Why have a Code of Ethics?
The reason we have published this is as a tool, so we can educate clients; helping them better understand how to evaluate who they partner with on their website. Our two most important reasons are:
- Pride in running an above board business
- To differentiate us from our competitors
Many practices appear legal but aren’t necessarily ethical, based on professional standards of behaviour. In concert, all web professionals should strive to promote our industry as one that is honest; as well as trustworthy, sensitive to legal issues and willing to be held accountable for acceptable standards of conduct.
Why Should Clients Care?
There are universal expectations when hiring specialists or experts in many fields and professions — whether you’re talking about doctors, lawyers, car mechanics, hair stylists, caterers, DJs or landscapers.
You want to be able to trust your service providers and believe they will:
- Treat you fairly
- Communicate honestly
- Charge you appropriately
- Deliver work to meet professional standards and your expectations
In the case of web design, clients are putting their reputation on the line; engaging with the wrong provider can have a catastrophic effect on your business and reputation.
What We Will Do To Maintain Ethics…
Detailed below are the steps we will take and the policies we hold; to ensure our business remains inline with ethical standards and delivers an excellent quality of work:
While acquiring & managing clients we will…
- Honestly present our qualifications and what we are capable of delivering.
- Offer fair pricing to all clients.
- Make every effort to meet budget and schedule constraints laid out in proposals and contracts.
- Communicate promptly with clients if those commitments can’t be met.
- Protect sensitive client information.
- Have reasonable contracts that treat both parties fairly.
- Do our best to ensure clients are satisfied with your delivered solution and if not, take steps to resolve issues.
What we will not do while acquiring & managing clients
- We will not sell or share client info;
- Tamper with or artificially inflate statistics reported to clients;
- Promise to deliver something we know we can’t control. For example, even the best SEO experts can’t 100% guarantee first page Google placement for every desired keyword.
When designing, developing & maintaining sites we will…
- be truthful in terms of what is published on a client’s site – to the best of our ability, given clients provide this information;
- deliver work specifically for each client, which doesn’t infringe on the copyright or intellectual property ownership of others;
- we will not use any pirated, cracked or unlicensed software;
- use standard approaches and include appropriate documentation, so a site could be handed off and maintained by others.
When designing, developing & maintaining sites we will not…
- knowingly publish or spread malicious code;
- resell products or services at prices with unreasonably inflated profit margins.
If a client needs something we are unable to deliver, we will say so (although it rarely happens) and help find the resource.
How we will work with clients to avoid unethical behaviour on their part
- We will not use “stolen” images or use licensed images without the required attribution;
- will not publish anything we know to be plagiarism;
- or publish anything we know infringes on copyright or intellectual property ownership.
Additional administrative areas
It’s not uncommon for web designers to handle numerous administrative details on the part of clients – often perceived as a willingness to “protect” them from having to deal with the nitty-gritty details and dealing with multiple online platforms. Yet this could be in direct conflict with the popular advice that “clients should maintain ownership of products and services to avoid issues”.
Fortunately, many service providers now include the ability to let clients own their account, but grant administrative rights to others (which they can then revoke as necessary). We will use this approach wherever possible to manage our clients online presence.
Upon request, we are willing to:
- Provide login details to a client’s site or WordPress account (if not already held and active).
- Allow clients to register their own domains (we recommend this).
- Set up clients as the owners of their domain or hosting accounts.
- Set up clients as the owners of their Google Analytics accounts.
- Hand over relevant logins, information and documentation when the relationship with a client is terminated.
An Ethical Conclusion
As a fairly unregulated industry, web pros are not generally held accountable to a formal Code of Ethics. As there is not one universal code currently in place, we wanted to articulate our own? Read these other pages to find out more about our Terms & Policies.