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  1. #1
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Hi everyone. Just a quick note to point you to a TemplateMonster.com guest-blog I wrote talking about the importance of character in web design. There's a link to WDF at the bottom

    http://blog.templatemonster.com/2009...tes-feedbacks/

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Steven,
    Not to sound like I'm sucking-up, but your design blows away all the others.

    My typical problem with all of the "design" aspects are the client's preferences.
    The clients typically like an ugly or not-so-functional design. I try my hardest to
    steer them, but they insist on their preferences.

    I've gotten to the point where I no longer "design" websites.
    My focus is now on the development of the scripting and "how the site works".
    The whole process is very frustrating and tiresome.


  4. #3
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    ML,

    Thanks! I used to be that way, doing exactly what clients want, but I realized along the way that if you do work for your clients that will not work (design-wise) you're doing them AND yourself a disservice.

    It's true that many potential clients have poor taste and believe that they know everything. Often times, these clients use subjective taste, or lack thereof, to guide their marketing decisions. This is a completely illogical way of conducting one's business, but nevertheless, small businesses are often small for a reason - they don't know what works, and they don't know how to delegate responsibility, because they usually do everything themselves.

    Such companies cannot benefit from your or my services unless trained to learn how to be clients and allow the experts to serve them (i.e. how to delegate responsibility). Your best course of action when presented with a dilemma where a client wants you to create something badly, tell them straight-up that unless they can delegate full control of their marketing effort to you, you will not be able to serve them. If they are persistent, just plainly state that you will not contribute to a project that is bound to fail, and thank them for their time.

    Don't be arrogant or snobbish when you say it. Conduct yourself in a professional manner. But let them know that you are an expert, and that they're doing themselves a disservice if they don't allow you to use your expertise to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing plan.

    You'd be surprised how much respect you'll garner from small biz owners by standing your ground and defending your expert opinion. If you do so in a professional, yet unyielding manner, you can often take full control of such a situation. If you can't, you're dealing with an OCD personality who is completely illogical and who will micromanage every aspect of your work, and ultimately, you'd be better off without that type of person as a client, because they will make your life as a vendor hell, they will never appreciate what you do for them, and they are less likely than "smart" entrepreneurs to become successful clients (the kind you want in your roster!)

  5. #4
    Senior Member aeroweb99's Avatar
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    So well said Steve. I especially agree with "Delegate Responsibility", such an important role in being successful.

    I have a potential client right now, a jeweler, who wants a splash page made from flash. I told him I can do the Flash, but strongly suggest (basically I won't do a splash page) it goes on the home page and made much smaller. A couple of other things came up that we didn't see eye to eye on. I have not heard from him in a week and frankly don't care.

    There is a fine line when communicating with a client in a professional manner and not coming off as an a-hole! Easier said than done unless you have lots of experience. But you're right, I figure the smart ones will understand what I'm telling them and I don't want to deal with the ones that are destined to fail.

    A little off topic...sorry.

  6. #5
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    A little off topic...sorry.
    No ... this thread will help a lot of people.

    Another common discussion is about providing a client with example pages.

    How many example layouts do you provide, and how much time spent on them?
    This can be a problem because some take a while to create. I suppose the
    designer/developer could render some photoshop example, but the clients may
    want to see actual XHTML/CSS for functionality. So say I spend a full day on
    making three site examples, and the client says no to all of them. Maybe it's not
    always a good idea to spend time on examples?

    Case in point, the example page Steven made for the Hotel. Maybe they would
    say, "wow, I love it ... you're hired" ... or maybe they'll say, "thanks, but that's
    not what we're looking for", we selected John's site example and hired him.

    People getting started in the design/development business need to know how
    to "start a project", and how to "be efficient" at nailing the design quickly.
    Perhaps some discussion on this topic would fit-in with the "Hotel" example.

    thanks.


  7. #6
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    If you're selling design services, you have to have a Work Order Agreement that specifically outlines the creative work you will do for your client, and the charge basis for that work.

    Typical types of design WOs:
    1. Iterative - Iterative design means you provide a single concept with a series of revisions. This is how we work. We consult with the client to get a sense of their taste and brand character, and based upon that, we provide a first concept. From that point, we offer up to 1 major revision and 2 minor revisions. A major revision involves more than 2 hours of work in revising the design - and can be up to a 100% revision (completely new design). A minor revision involves less than 2 hours. Changes beyond that are billed hourly at a predefined rate.
    2. Selective - Selective design means you provide a set of concepts (typically 3) to the customer for selection. Some companies will also allow integration of concepts or iterative revisions o a selected concept, or a fixed number of hours towards revisions on a concept. This is how most web design companies work.
    3. Time and Materials - T&M means the customer pays you hourly for yoru work, and you will provide as many revisions as they want, and bill them for your work and materials (stock photography, etc.) when complete. This is how most ad agencies work.

    I find that if you meet with your customer or show them templates (like TemplateMonster's) prior to beginning your work, you can skip the extra work in Selective design. There's no point to making 3 designs for one client. If you analyze them properly, you should hit the nail on the head in your first try. It's like the old adage, "Measure twice cut once."

  8. #7
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    To explain how Iterative design works, here's an example of an iterative design we provided to a client.

    1. maxcash_01 is the first design we presented to the client. They liked the layout and the overall concept, but they felt the colors and style were all wrong, and the site was too spaced out.
    2. maxcash_02 was our first revision to that design. It is a major revision, and changed the style, color, and compressed layout significantly. The client was generally happy, but had some minor change requests.
    3. maxcash_03 was our second revision to the design. This is a minor revision. We tweaked the logo, changed the menu per the client's request, tweaked some margins a little, changed up a couple colors, and changed the photo in the middle, along with some other changes. This is a bit more than we would do in a minor revision - it was about 3 hours of work.
    4. maxcash_04 was our final revision to the design. The client decided we were right about the menu, and we changed up the logo again, and tweaked some margins a little more. You can see that between #3 and #4, we did very little to complete the design.


    Hope that explains iterative design well! It's worked really well for us. We have super-happy clients who can see the design process working for them, and who get a good price on a fixed set of iterations.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #8
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Very informative!

    I see that I'm sort of in a different league, that's part of my problem.
    For me, this stuff is more about a part-time freelancing, towards more
    of a hobby (which is a bad word to use). But for those visiting WDF that
    want to go into Design and Development, this is priceless information.


  10. #9
    WDF Staff Wired's Avatar
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    You may want to post some entries on your blog or here somewhere about how you and your business grew and changed over the years in terms of website design, etc. It'd probably make for an interesting read.
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  11. #10
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    I think I'll save that one for when I'm rich and famous. :-P


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