Author:

Jeremy Girard was born with six toes on each foot. The extra toes were removed before he was a year old, robbing him of any super-powers and ending his crime-fighting career before it even began. Unable to battle the forces of evil, he instead works as the Director of Marketing and Head of Web Design/Development for the Providence, Rhode Island based Envision Technology Advisors. He also teaches website design and front-end development at the University of Rhode Island. His portfolio and blog, at Pumpkin-King.com, is where he writes about all things Web design.

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How To Deliver Exceptional Client Service

We often hear companies, including Web agencies, boast about how they provide exceptional client service. But how do they define exceptional? Consider this scenario. You are hired to design and develop a new website for a retail client. The client loves the design, and the pages you develop use the latest in HTML5, CSS3 and responsive design, resulting in a website that works wonderfully across browsers and devices.

How To Deliver Exceptional Client Service

The e-commerce features of the new website help the client significantly increase their online sales, and the entire project is delivered on time and on budget. Now, is this “exceptional” client service? I don’t think it is. When the client hired you, they expected that you would design and develop a great website. They also expected it would be done according to the timeline and budget set during the planning stages of the project. As successful as this project may have been for both you and the client, in the end, you did exactly what you were hired to do. You did your job.

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Assuming Leadership In Your Design Agency

There comes a point in the career of many Web designers where the logical progression in that career is to take on a leadership position. A logical step or not, when a designer "assumes" this type of a position, there is often another "assumption" happening at the same  —  that wizard-like proficiency with HTML and CSS, coupled with a number of years in the industry, equips someone to take on a leadership role. This is, of course, not always the case.

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Over the past few years, I have gone through this transition myself, moving from a Web designer to a Creative Director to my current role as the Director of Web Development. During this transition, I turned to the blogs and other resources that I had found helpful in my career to that point, looking for tips and lessons that would help me in my new role. I quickly realized was that while there are countless articles to help you become that aforementioned HTML and CSS wizard, there are precious few that deal with the move from designer to director.

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Giving Users Some Credit

Websites are designed to be used by people of varying backgrounds, educations and technical levels. One of the challenges we face when designing for the Web is finding a way to create sites and applications that can be accessed by a widely disparate audience while avoiding the pitfall of sacrificing the quality of our work to cater to the dreaded ‘lowest common denominator.’

Even though it happens to me with some frequency, being told by a client that one of the requirements for their project is that it must be ‘idiot proof’ never fails to give me pause. The sentiment itself is offensive enough, but the concept also seems somewhat misguided to me. Do we really want to begin a project by assuming our site's users are idiots?

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