When working on a new web design project with a client, especially a new site launch, it is vital to have a clear definition of the project’s scope and the expectations of the future website owner. It’s far too easy for corporate politics and personal preferences to drive the features and processes of a website unless you consciously force the client — and yourself, at times — to focus on the needs of the users and the purpose of the site. Outlining the basic requirements and goals also helps to limit scope creep later on in the project.
Personal outsourcing isn’t quite the hot topic that it was two years ago. With virtual assistant firms available left and right, could-be assistants have become less of a unique work accessory and much more of a sustainable, ubiquitous business addition.
What was once a quirky but useful tool for the digital age has become standard — nowadays it’s rare to find a small design firm without a personal outsourcing strategy.
It’s a familiar situation for any freelancer — you open your email inbox, scan through the day’s spam and auto-responder messages, and come across a request for proposal.
It’s the same as the other design requests, aside from one small detail — instead of the standard "we can pay [this much]" message, there’s a line at the end asking how much you think the project will cost.
Being asked to name your own price might seem like a miracle situation, but it’s rarely a relaxing experience for freelance designers, particularly those without a solid and secure price structure for their services.
That one request can end up triggering anxiety and worry, as even the most skilled designer begins to wonder just how much their work time is really worth.
When we use social media tools, whether it be updating our status or checking-in to a location, the last thing we ever think about is the repercussions of our actions on social networks.
Little do you know that you’re divulging information that could impact your business life a lot more than you think.
Disclaimer: What I discuss in this article was merely an experiment and I hope that no one employs these tactics with malicious intentions. This is a story about the dangers of exposing too much information on social networks.
Reminding yourself that you love what you do is an important part of keeping your mind and your work fresh. As creative professionals, it’s easy to get caught up in the business end of things and not actually spending much time doing anything for ourselves. If you are freelancing or working at an agency, it’s important to have something in your pipeline that’s done just for the fun of it.
The first thing to do is look back at your motivation for getting started in this profession in the first place. Why’d you start doing this, anyway?
The phrase "design by committee" evokes a range of emotions from designers, mostly the kind you save for an arch-nemesis (think Lex Luthor) or expend on your Windows-based PC. A quick search will uncover a variety of articles and jokes bemoaning the process, and with good reason; it has long been the Achilles’ heel of many a designer’s creative freedom.
However, as enjoyable as it can be to slam the design feedback process, there are steps you can take to make the most out of it — because let’s face it — you usually don’t have a choice to design on your own (and if you do, consider yourself lucky).
I was pretty proud when I netted my first clients as a freelancer. Wow! Someone is actually willing to give me their money and have me design their site? I was ecstatic that someone had picked me out of all the talented designers out there.
But my joy didn’t last very long.
The projects were underfunded and the clients always asked for more, so I ended up designing and coding entire sites for about half the cost of what I currently make.