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I have a client who insists that we remove the footer from certain pages under the guise of 'the footer will distract people and they will leave the site/not finish the journey'.

To me, this sounds unfounded. If people want to leave the site they will. Removing the footer will not stop that, nor are people that easily distracted.

However, my colleagues advise me that at the end of the day it's the clients website and we should do as they ask. I understand this, "the customer is always right" logic being applied.

But in my honest opinion, I don't think the customer is right and could do with advice from myself or my colleagues regarding this matter.

I wanted to pose the question here to see how important a footer is in website design? All the research I've done suggests it's relatively important and while most of the articles I've read suggest to do at least something with it, none have suggested to remove it entirely.

The clients footer contains links to terms and conditions, how the site works, other related websites which are theirs and a few documents.

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    What's in the footer? Is it just a copyright? A site map? Links to legalese, privacy policy, T&C, other disclaimers? Depending on your client's industry, it may be required for this information to be on every page. Oct 19 '14 at 17:11
  • I would be surprised if the existence of the footer even registers in people's minds. Oct 19 '14 at 22:39
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    I would offer (for more pay, presumably) to do A-B testing on that particular feature. Oct 21 '14 at 16:52
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Ultimately it is the customer's site. So long as it is within the contract, meaning you're not doing extra work for no extra pay, the customer has the final say. All we can do in such a circumstance is strongly recommend one way or the other and provide evidence as to why we believe that.

Footers, while helpful, are not necessary by any means for some particular types of websites. To me, the worst thing about removing it on some pages is inconsistency. To me, this matters a lot more than whether or not the footer is there. If a user sees it on one page they might think something went wrong for it not to appear on another page. However if the styles of the pages are vastly different besides the fact that the footer is missing it is not a big deal.

In summary, it's their decision provided you're not doing extra work for no pay.

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I like your question, plus one, but I think you should reflect on the issue that is still missing in this Q&A and it's the content that would be in the footer and the intentions of the site's experience. While Zach's view on footers aren't necessary I disagree with that aspect. If this site is a specialized eCommerce site, which isn't mentioned at this time, then the footer is by all means necessary because all the elements and parts that shouldn't clutter the header would become a sore spot on the design due to it being a visitor's first experience when visiting.

Another issue I face is the timing of this request and I wonder if a proper execution was done, a mockup developed, a sit-down, content examination, did the client request all this in the footer, etc? In the end to your question, yes, as stated it's the client's site but you need to make sure that you document accordingly if the client wants to come back in a few months or year and asks for it back. I would also make sure, as Lauren mentioned in her comment, that the present footer doesn't have any required elements that need to be added because then you may be taking the path of a site re-development and that will still hender on the client's "experience".

A solution I would take is to possibly find a happy middle ground between you and the client. If the client wants it removed because it clutters or there isn't enough content than you might need to look into implementing something like a nice modal solution that could dim out the background and embrace the current content but again, you should find out why and ask nicely. I also agree with there must be consistency but you can still execute that but with a twist can be added or a different element could be added. Either way you need to figure out why the client says "the footer will distract people and they will leave the site/not finish the journey" because it may seem the footer is the issue but it might be something different that could be better placed that is causing the client to feel that way.

As a designer you will always feel strong about the direction and what is done in a project whether a site, design, or something print related. The client has a reason for something and in the end it is there's to say and do but there is a line to that. So I would suggest finding exactly why the client feels this way and constructively make a suggestion because you might learn that the footer is not the issue but something else. Hope that helps.

The clients footer contains links to terms and conditions, how the site works, other related websites which are his and a few documents.

I would look into how to re-develop this. One issue I'm trying to understand is why you would have related websites but one example that clearly stands out to me is you could always display the each site's logo, do a sub-footer with some well designed icons for the related websites. In regards to the how the site works you could just make a simple link or icon to display this and have a dedicated page to how the site works. The document's could even be displayed in a manner that would lead to a specialized page that could almost mimic a sitemap. Look into possibly having a theme, such as creatively designed icons for each area that would free up. If you have literally everything in the footer than that would be over-whelming so step back and say, how can I make them take in this does this but not really have to include everything.

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A footer is a wayfinding device and wayfinding devices are important for users when navigating a web site. To remove it on only some pages is to introduce inconsistency for no real benefit.

As for the client is always right, that's true. But it's your job to convince them what is right to begin with. :)

(And remember, we don't always succeed at that. Some clients are just plain stubborn.)

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If that's what masta wants, that's what masta gets.

He's the client. He's paying you. It's his website. You can push a little, and try to get your point through and explain it fifteen ways from Sunday, but ultimately it's the clients choice. If you decide to get too pushy and take a stance, you'll lose the job.

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For every website I design, i add "Designed by" with a link to my website. This is a great way for me to get new clients and help my SEO by having links to my site on other sites. If a client wants to remove that, no problem! But I like to charge a fee to remove that. You can add that into the contact - a $75 fee or something like that. This way if they REALLY want it gone, no problem!

:)

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You are right, the footer is not going to distract a visitor. If you are insisted, you can make it blind or write it in comments also. Blind as in match it with the background color so that it is only visible when the whole page is selected and not otherwise. I would suggest though that you should write your brand details as comments anyway.

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