The best startups today understand that great design is a team effort.
We need to deliver a seamless design and brand experience throughout all the things our customers see and touch.
And that’s no easy task when we silo our designers into teams like Marketing and Product Development.
At my company, Zendesk, we’ve adopted a long-table approach where the entire design team works at a single communal table.
Do you find that many of your web design projects start with great energy and clarity, only to slow down and get hairy a few weeks in?
I will discuss the typical problems that arise in web design projects, common solutions many of us have tried, and what actually worked for my company after 8 years of business: the Action Register.
"Nathan," my boss says to me, "we need to get this feature in before we launch the product."
"Don’t worry, it’s fairly simple and shouldn’t take long," I reply.
The request had been lobbed at me out of nowhere. The request seemed pretty straightforward, and apparently it was mission-critical.
If only I’d realized it was actually a grenade threatening to destroy our product release plans.
You’ve probably been in that same narrative before.
These seemingly small and simple requests can quickly become complex, dangerous, and an absolute nightmare.
Whenever I meet with a new client for the first time, I always tell them this: It’s not important that you like the design I’m going to make for you.
It’s always humorous to see the client’s reaction to this statement. Most look inquisitive, others look downright baffled.
The first few things you do after a potential client contacts you about a web design project are the most important. In fact, these initial steps can spell the difference between a good or bad project.
While it’s true that bad client situations sometimes can’t be avoided — it’s an inherent part of working with other people, after all — many of these situations are just simply the result of lack of communication and understanding.
If you’re anything like my team, you probably want to dive right in head first into a web development project as soon as you possibly can. Because we love our jobs — we’re all very passionate about it.
We’re eager to get started without having to deal with the "boring parts" and we have a laser-beam focus towards the more enjoyable, fun aspects of web development — coding, setting up servers, designing the user interface, you know, the good stuff.
I sold my small web design business so that I could focus on my startup, Informly.
If you’re providing web design services as a solo freelancer, or are the founder of a web design agency with several employees, selling your business might be the farthest thing from your mind right now.