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Working as a Web designer can suck sometimes. This is especially true when you don’t get to work alongside the client. Unfortunately this scenario is more common than you would think. Many organizations have been carefully structured to keep the Web designer and the client apart. But is that really sensible? Would projects run much smoother without your account manager or boss acting as the middleman?
This issue came to my attention following the release of my latest book “Client Centric Web Design.” In this book I provide advice about how to work more effectively with clients. However, I had made an assumption in the approach I presented, an assumption which turned out not always to be true. It assumed that the Web designer and client can work collaboratively together. Following the book's release I realized that for many Web designers that this is not the case.
There is no doubt about it, I am a hypocrite. Fortunately nobody has noticed… until now. Here’s the thing. On one hand I talk about the importance of having a good work/life balance, and yet on the other I prefer to hire people who do personal projects in their spare time.
Do you see the problem with this scenario? How can one person possibly juggle work, life and the odd side project? It would appear there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Being the arrogant and stubborn individual I am, when this hypocrisy was pointed out to me, my immediate reaction was to endeavour to justify my position. A less opinionated individual would probably have selected one or the other, but I propose these two supposedly contradictory viewpoints can sit harmoniously together.
Can you have your cake and eat it, by working on side projects, holding down a job and still having a life beyond your computer?
To understand how this is possible we must first establish why a work/life balance is important and what role side projects play. Let’s begin by asking ourselves why it is important to have a life beyond our computers, even when we love what we do.
The term “social media guru” has almost become a dirty word within the Web community. In fact, despite most of us being early adopters of social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, we consider social media the purview of marketeers.
It certainly isn’t our responsibility—we build websites, we don’t run marketing campaigns. But are we justified in this point of view? Is social media really somebody else’s responsibility?
This is not a normal Smashing Magazine post. I’m not going to teach you something new or inspire you with examples of great work. Instead, I want to encourage you to complete a Web design challenge. I believe this will help to address a weakness that exists in many of our design processes.
If you complete this challenge, it will make it easier for clients to sign off on your designs, and it will improve the quality of your work. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.
Have you ever wanted to take a client by the collar, shake them around vigorously and demand that they take you seriously because you are the expert? If so, you are not alone. Whether you consider yourself an expert and want recognition or are looking to one day become one, you need to step back and ask why being perceived in that way is important.
Many of us desire to be seen as experts because we would like our opinions to be taken seriously. Others want to be respected and valued, partly to satisfy our own ego, but largely due to a belief that we know best and that things should be done our way.
Are you fed up with hearing about yet another Silicon Valley Web application built with fairy dust and funded by magic pixies? If so, this post is for you. Most of us will never get to work on a Web application that is funded by venture capital and for which the business aims are a secondary consideration.
For us, developing a Web application is about meeting a particular business need as part of our job working with some large organization. Whether as an in-house developer or as part of an agency, we work under strict business constraints and with limited budget and time. Personally, I thrive on this. But it is challenging, so finding the right approach is crucial.
Truth be told, I am a philistine. When people talk about recycling, I don’t think of saving the planet. In my earlier post, “Lessons Learned: Productivity Tips For Running A Web Design Business,” I wrote about how we can reuse and recycle what we do in the Web industry to save time and money.
Now let’s explore the subject further. We will look at how we can recycle existing work (done by ourselves or others) in order to be more efficient. By doing so, we can finish projects more quickly and generate a better profit margin. The great thing about recycling is that we can all do it, whether we are a developer, designer or website owner. Let’s begin our journey with the masters of recycling: developers.
In recent years there has been a move away from generalist Web designers to specialists such as content strategists, user experience architects and front-end coders. Where once there was a single job, there are now many, with ever-narrower spheres of responsibility.
Not everybody agrees with Paul Boag. Anita Hart is convinced that well-rounded individuals have a depth in at least 1 area of expertise. Do you agree?
While my peers are becoming more specialized, I have stoically refused to do so, remaining a generalist. If anything, my interests have broadened, encompassing subjects such as marketing, psychology and business strategy. This has drawn criticism from some who view generalists negatively, which is in line with some of what I am reading in the blogosphere.
It didn't work out as you expected, did it? The freelance life was supposed to give you more time with the family and free you from that incompetent boss. You even thought you might be better off financially. Instead, you're working longer hours and under constant stress, worrying about various aspects of your business.
To relieve the pressure of entrepreneurial life and avoid burning out, freelancers and business owners need strategies. In this post, I'll share some tactics that have helped me be more in control of my business, my projects and life in general. I hope they help you, too.