Business tips, ideas and techniques for a professional and efficient workflow as well as round-ups, tutorials and articles that will help you improve your personal daily routine in the web design world.
Popular tags in this category: Freelance, Tutorials, Tools, CMS.
Smashing Editorial: Please notice that the language in some parts of this article may be very informal. If you think you might be offended, please stop reading this article now.
I hate the division represented in this title. It’s the major stumbling block in modern business. Power struggle is never constructive, and it at least doubles workforce effort at a time when streamlined is crucial for a positive ROI. You can spell “team” from the word “marketing,” but I’ve yet to see a sense of it in marketing. What can one spell from “creative”? “Reactive”? I’ve seen plenty of that, and for good reason.
Don’t get me wrong: I love marketing as a practice! Relatively speaking, marketing is a fairly new practice (marketing in the sense of "public", broad mass marketing, applied to products in the modern age — ed.), and one that has to evolve each day to keep up with consumerism and technology. As a designer, coming up with marketing ideas is orgasmic. Guerilla, sabotage and viral marketing are the work of genius, which is why we don’t see them very often. But you are probably thinking horrid thoughts about marketing practitioners right now, so let’s rethink for a second. Read more...
You’ve met with the client, done the creative brief and gotten some kind of written agreement or contract. Work has been creative and progressing nicely. The joy and hope for life slowly return as the scent of money looms. So, with an overdose of sleeping pills no longer your retirement plan, you start to delete your suicide note and dispose of the envelopes containing instructions on terminating your accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Then, someone crunches some numbers and realizes that you can’t be paid what was agreed on. Suddenly, your contract becomes either a weapon in a brutal fight or a token to keep the job going in the hope of some pay and a return client.
Many people start an assignment only after a percentage of the job has been paid. 50% is nice, but convincing the big clients that they are not your bank is becoming harder and harder, and the promise of payment in 30 days does not give you a warm feeling inside.
Almost all of us listen to music. We listen at home, while working, on the subway, while driving, while running. Yet many of us don't think of music as much more than entertainment. Did you know that you can use music as a tool? With the right music, you can increase effectiveness, create better stuff more easily, get into your creative zone quickly and kick-start a productive day. Add music to your workflow for better results.
This isn't a recent development inspired by the iPod generation. People have been using music as a tool for thousands of years — ever since humans started hitting sticks against rocks. Indigenous peoples used music in rituals and ceremonies, drummers prepared warriors for battles, and significant life events (like weddings and funerals) are still marked with special music.
When was the last time you made a decision? A big one. What was the outcome? Was it good, and how did you get to that outcome? Every day we all make plenty of decisions without a thought to how we structure them or the basis on which we make them. We simply make them. We're lucky that we work in an industry in which erroneous decisions may have serious financial consequences but rarely, if ever, costs lives.
In fields such as aviation and health care, bad decisions can have massive repercussions. As a result, a lot of cash has been spent studying the human factor and developing methods of reducing error. After all, you'd like to think that the person in the cockpit is fully capable of caring for an expensive jet and its passengers.
We all have an increasing number of sites and online services we're members of, and sometimes it all gets a little overwhelming. At times, we just need to delete our memberships to some sites, either in an effort to simplify our lives or just because we've grown tired of a particular site or service.
What we often don't realize when signing up for all these accounts, though, is how difficult it can be to permanently delete our accounts when we've had enough. Some require complicated, multi-step processes that can stretch over the course of days (or weeks). Others take less time, but still require multiple steps by the user.
Below we'll take a look at the account deletion processes of popular websites and services, and how easy or difficult they make it. Then we'll discuss why sites make things so complicated, and some things to consider when designing your own deletion policies. Read more...
Many things about our business make one glad to be creative; and there certainly are things that destroy the very soul and one's will to carry on. Client interaction can either lead to strong relationships that last a lifetime or make you feel low and worthless. We look at our designs as our own children, and why not? We create our work from our mind and very being. We have an emotional attachment to our work. But we also need to earn a living from that creativity, and there lies the door to our problems and aggravation.
The question arose on a blog about how to screen a client. Perhaps talking about it in terms of how to spot a sketchy client would be a bit much, but like any freelancer, I need to dump my anxieties on those who sign my paychecks. From corporate clients to the single-owner businesses, clients are our lifeblood… and they can be a cruel, cruel mistress. No wonder we drink.
Hardly a day goes by without hearing a client horror story from one designer or another. Whether I hear about it in person, by email, over the phone or on Twitter, one thing seems clear: designers seem to like complaining about their clients almost as much as they enjoy taking their money.
Everyone has a client horror story. Plenty of websites and blog articles feature creative professionals venting their spleen. You can find some of these linked at the bottom of this article. I encourage you to read through them; some are really quite outrageous, but I hope your thoughts are tempered by what I’m about to say.
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A couple of weeks ago we published the article Expert Advice for Students and Young Web Designers, in which we presented a group interview with professional designers and developers. We tried to find answers to questions that are particularly useful and interesting for those just starting to design websites for a living or considering diving into the Web design industry.
In the comments to that article, many readers wished we’d invited more female designers on the panel — in particular because, “There is no way of discerning how the experience of a female designer might differ, simply because there is a complete lack of representation.” So, we decided to prepare an article featuring specifically professional women designers giving their expert advice for young Web designers.
If you are running a design agency, your job is very likely to combine business development, graphic design, technology and user experience design: a basketful of very different fields. When dealing with clients, one faces the challenge of clearly and effectively communicating the goals and results of the work done in these areas. In this post, we'll provide you with some ideas on sharing information and knowledge with developers and clients — a couple of tips and tricks we've learned from our own experience.
As designers, our core purpose is to solve business challenges for our clients. No, I haven’t forgotten you Mac-loving, single-mouse-button-fanatic designers. A business solution includes an application platform, solid data design and a page design that makes the UI and website approachable and easy to use (for converting, transacting, clicking on a monkey's butt, etc.). Your daily challenge, then, is to deliver the project on time while satisfying the client's visual, business and aesthetic requirements. Read more...