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Posts Tagged ‘Business’.

We are pleased to present below all posts tagged with ‘Business’.

Brand = User Experience: The Interface Of A Cheeseburger

There he goes, the web designer, stepping up to the counter of an empty McDonald’s at 3 o’clock in the morning. He is scanning the overhead menu, putting a cheeseburger in his mental shopping basket. “Cheezubahga, onegaishimasu,” we hear him say, “with an iced tea.”

Waiting for his order, he examines the wireframe of the display on the cash register, the mechanical logic of the deep fat fryers, the input/output logic of the ice cream dispenser. Coming late from work, with his mind still in design mode, he starts tracing the restaurant’s interaction model, drawing arrows from the entrance to the counter to the tables to the trash cans; seeing how the conveyor-belt kitchen, the trays with the paper liners, the bolted down seats and the meals comprise a single, complete customer interface. “They must have run usability tests,” he thinks, taking his tray to the table.

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How To Identify And Deal With Different Types Of Clients

In business, being able to read people and quickly get a sense of who you're dealing with is an invaluable skill. It turns your encounter with a client into an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the upcoming project and how it will need to be handled. It is one of the building blocks of a professional relationship.

In today’s digital age, the arena has shifted to the Web, and the online office space that most freelancers inhabit limits personal interaction. Though sussing out a client’s personality via online communication is difficult, it still remains an invaluable tool in your arsenal.

In the freelancing field, you will encounter a range of client types. Being able to identify which you are dealing with allows you to develop the right strategy to maximize your interactions with them, and it could save your sanity. Below is a list of the most common personality types and the tell-tale signs that will tip you off.

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How To Persuade Your Users, Boss or Clients

Whether you are getting a client to sign off on a website’s design or persuade a user to complete a call to action, we all need to know how to be convincing. Like many in the Web design industry, I have a strange job. I am part salesperson, part consultant and part user experience designer. One day I could be pitching a new idea to a board of directors, the next I might be designing an e-commerce purchasing process. There is, however, a common theme: I spend most of my time persuading people.

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As Web designers, we often have to nudge people in the direction we want them to go. It is a vital skill we all have to learn. We’re not talking about manipulation. Underhanded techniques, and certainly lying, won’t get you anywhere. But you can present yourself and your arguments in ways that make people more receptive. The first and probably most important way is to empathize.

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How To Draft A Freelance Contract

In the world of freelancing, the entrepreneur has to take on a number of tasks for themselves that would normally be handled by a separate department at a bigger company. Most of these tasks are not part of the creative processes that freelance workers are used to, but rather are more tedious, left-brain paperwork. [Links repaired January/10/2017]

One such task is contracts. Drafting a contract that covers you, and doesn't just enumerate information, is more than important: it is a must. Freelancers do not have the benefit of a legal department dedicated to protecting their interests with a watertight contract. Nevertheless, a freelancer's contract must be comprehensive, concise and clear. It should outline the scope of the job, scheduling demands, the expectations of both parties and more.

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In this post, we'll help you identify the information that should be included in your contract and make sure you have a concrete agreement that leaves little chance of things getting out of hand… as can sometimes happen to those of us in the freelancing crowd.

These do's and don’ts will hopefully remove a lot of the headache and guesswork that comes with drafting a contract. By understanding the rationale behind various contractual elements, you will be able to better customize your contracts to fit the specific job you have been hired for.

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How To Respond Effectively To Design Criticism

Winston Churchill once said: "Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." Regardless of where you work or who you work for, being able to take criticism is part of the job description. Whether you're getting feedback from your boss or a client, having a proper perspective on criticism and a sound understanding of how to use it effectively is important.

Unfortunately, not many people enjoy criticism. In fact, many have developed a thick skin and take pride in their ability to brush it off and move on. However, despite its negative connotation, criticism often presents an excellent opportunity to grow as a designer. Before you can respond effectively, you need to understand what those opportunities are.

How to Respond Effectively to Design Criticism

Uncover blind spots. Doing your own thing is easy, but your habits will eventually become deeply ingrained and hard to break. Criticism gives you a vital outside perspective on your work, uncovering potential areas for improvement that you are unable to see by yourself. Read more...

How To Find Time For… Everything!

Time management is one of the most important skills a freelance worker can learn. With a good time management system you can easily find the time to do the things that are important to you, whether in your professional or personal life. Successful time management can be challenging, especially to those who are new to freelancing or being self-employed. When you have a boss telling you what to do and when to do it by, it's much easier to prioritize and figure out what needs to be done and when. [Content Care Dec/11/2016]

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But when you're not only dealing with client deadlines but also all of the day-to-day parts of running a business, on top of trying to maintain some sort of life outside of work, time management gets a whole lot trickier.

Below are sixteen tips to help you better manage your time and find the time to participate in the things that are important to you. Also included are some further resources to improve your time management.

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Professional Team Management Tips For Creative Folks

Management is a vast subject, with several sub-categories, such as product, team management and project management. While all are interesting topics, this article focuses mainly on team management and offers some useful tips and ideas to promote discussion and help improve the performance and happiness of your teams.

There seems to be in creative sectors a fear of management and a great divide between creative and "business" people. This is often because the people doing the managing are not business-minded or business school graduates but are rather designers or developers. Managers in creative industries tend to be staff who have moved up within the company; for example, a junior designer who reaches mid-level, then senior, and eventually ends up running their own team; or a developer who works for himself but gets a series of major contracts, and before they know it they are the Managing Director of a small company. This type of team has many benefits but also some downsides.

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Some of these ideas are not new or indeed particularly innovative, but they are often overlooked or even ignored. Below is a selection of key items for discussion within your team. The snippets cover a variety of topics to help managers in creative industries who may not have a managerial background. You may agree with some suggestions and not others, but the aim is to gain a basic understanding of key issues so that you can look at how to improve your team. After all, if you spend all your time producing great work and no time creating a great team, the first will be harder to achieve.

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10 Tools For Finding, Registering And Managing Domain Names

A domain name is the starting point for our online brands and identities, be it for a company, online application or a personal website. Some of us may own only one domain for a portfolio site or blog, whilst others have to manage domain names for clients or all kinds of projects. But even if you do not yet have a personal domain, as the Internet becomes more pervasive in our lives, finding yourself a real home on the web becomes more of a neccessity.

Of course, social web services like Facebook, Twitter, etc. do indeed offer usernames, but only domains give us full ownership and control over branding and ultimately how we express ourselves online.

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Many of the traditional sites that offer domain names are poorly organised, hard to navigate and covered in spammy ads. In this article we will have a look at a number of smart and user-centric domain tools which help you to find, register and manage domain names, other than the usual domain registrars or webhosting companies.

You may also be interested in the following articles:

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Marketing Rules and Principles for Freelancers

Freelancers have it hard. I mean, really hard. In theory, the idea of working for yourself, of being able to choose who you work with and what you work on, sounds like the perfect job. In practice though, it’s a lot more than just working on amazing projects for amazing clients from the comfort of your own home.

There is a tremendous amount of competition out there, and a lot of it is willing to play dirty, cut-throat and underhanded to beat you to the clients. How are you supposed to get ahead of those guys? Is it even possible to earn an honest buck? Thankfully, it is possible and can be a lot easier than you think.

Madoff

Marketing and its in-your-face division Advertising are all about one thing. Building brand equity. If you take away only one concept from this article, please let it be this one! In this internet fueled economy, brand strength is everything! But brand and brand equity are often misunderstood concepts, the easiest way to think about brand equity is that it’s the sum total of feelings people get when they think about your business or service. And it’s important to remember that brand equity can be positive or negative.

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6 Simple Ways To Increase Your Productivity As A Freelancer

The best part about being a freelancer is having the freedom to set your own schedule and make your own rules. This, however, can also be the worst part. Without the normal structure of an office environment, many would-be freelancers find themselves wondering at the end of the day where all their time went. Getting the most out of your workday can be tough. So, to help, we present some simple ways that freelancers can increase their productivity.

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Having set working hours creates a feeling of accountability and puts a premium on your time, making you less likely to waste it. Create a clear set workday schedule and stick to it. If you decide to start work at 8:00 each morning, then get up, take a shower, get dressed and get to work on time. Wandering into your home office still in your pajamas doesn't exactly set the mood for a productive day. Follow this rule and you may be surprised to find your level of productivity increase immediately.

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How To Effectively Communicate With Developers

If you have ever worked with a developer or a development team, this article will probably strike close to home. As designers, we work with dozens of developers across the globe each year. Some of us are fortunate enough to find a gem; a developer that just gets it. A developer that you feel is on your same wavelength in terms of what needs to be accomplished with the user interface, and what it needs to happen. Most often, however, we find developers that we generally don’t see eye to eye with.

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When many people are involved in a project, it is very important to make sure that they have a common understanding of the problem and its solution.

This is not meant as a slam on developers, as I believe they are a much different breed than designers; rather, the hope is that if you follow some of the principles outlined here, your development process can hopefully be streamlined a bit more than it was before.

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10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Blogging

I have reached the conclusion that most organizations have a blog simply because they feel they should. Many marketing departments fail to “get” blogging and have poorly visited blogs with few comments. Because their blog fails to perform, they conclude that blogging is an ineffective marketing tool and either remove it entirely or leave it to languish.

A screenshot of the 37Signals blog showing a large number of comments

However, it does not need to be this way. Corporate blogs can be a powerful communication tool that builds brand awareness and nurtures a sense of engagement. You only need to look at the vibrant community surrounding the 37Signals blog to know that corporate blogging can work.

Why are most corporate blogs failing and why do the few succeed? To answer these questions, we need to face a few harsh truths about corporate blogging.

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