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Great article, Paul! I completely agree with you (when we’re talking about client websites that are fundamentally business-driven).
The client/designer relationship (and by designer, I mean designers, developers, illustrators, etc.) is a two-way street. We provide the best input that our experience can provide, because we are knowledgeable. But the client is knowledgeable within his or her own area too.
This doesn’t mean we can’t have a say on how the business side of a project can be improved, but some questions must be answered first by the client: what is the main objective, what is he or she trying to achieve with a website in the end?
I agree that these are very important questions to be asked and that need an answer before discarding or praising a website based on looks or code.