April 22nd, 2011
March 21st, 2010
Today my friend Kelly sent over an article from the Unclutterer website called, “Three universal truths for why projects are not completed on time”. Within two minutes of reading the first paragraph and the three universal truths, Craig and I were into a discussion about how we’ve experienced them over the years.
1. “Clients are never as prepared as they say they will be.”
Is almost an understatement. As I am reminded by stories on the website Clients From Hell, it’s all too common. I think this also leads to many in the creative field, myself included, feeling like we’re not being respected. But I am also reminded of an article in the February 2010 issue of HOW magazine, “The Q Factor” by Andy Epstein. In the article Andy described how helpful it can be to our projects and how they progress, by being involved and educating the people around us. Our jobs are not only relevant but they add value.
The issue, at least for myself, is educating takes time. I’m usually rush, rush from one project to the next. Better. Faster. Next. In many companies this step is usually under valued and seen as a time and money waster. Not to sound cliché but being proactive can help immensely as the project advances. I often forget this and jump right in. The times I haven’t, and put the effort in, it’s made all the difference.
Will this solve all clients not being as prepared? No. There is only so much as the provider you can do. Some people have no desire to change from rush/react mode. I’m trying to get better at reading these signs and stepping away from clients who refuse to at least meet in the middle.
2. “Clients always change their mind.”
Again, so very true. Similarly being proactive and anticipating clients’ expectations/fears will reduce this, and there will always be changes.
Recently I was in a relatively heated discussion around this topic. I still feel my point is valid and possible to implement. My issue was regarding a change to a header that I made six times, back and forth between two options. I did not have direct contact with the client, so I could not test my method. What I would have liked to see happen was explaining to the client that each change back and forth was going to cost more money. That maybe, they needed to pause for a moment, get everyone on the same page and then make a final change. This is not an unreasonable request. It saves everyone involved time and money as the project progresses.
3. “People always underestimate the amount of time it will take to do something.”
Absolutely. I’m a horrible offender of this. I know I do work quickly and I always think I can do it even quicker, because I think the client will be happier if it’s faster. Of course this is the farthest thing from the truth. The client will inevitably hold me to it and be unhappy when I don’t make the deadline.
In the article, Erin recommends taking your time and doubling it. If you think it’s going to take two hours, make it four. It never fails, that my quick off the cuff estimate didn’t realize that the client supplied a flattened PSD, or didn’t actually have a copy of the original source document, only a PDF.
Designers, Developers, Project Managers, Sales people can all benefit from remembering these three truths when starting a project with a client. In a field that seems to try to move at the speed of light, we could all benefit from taking a breather, doing some more thinking, laying some ground work to make all of us saner at the end of the day. Really, what is the rush?
January 28th, 2010
Client: Cathy Setterlin
Software: Photoshop, Coda, CSS Edit, Web Developer Toolkit, IE Tester
Cathy came to me looking to design a website for her business which she was getting ready to launch. I decided to use the project as an opportunity to push myself and code a site by hand again. I never broke out the WYSIWYG editors. I wrote my CSS from scratch with books by my side to help me out. I made sure to test in IE 6 and IE 7.
Regarding design. I picked up colors that I have seen Cathy wear frequently and ones I’d seen around her home. I wanted the site to feel like an extension of her. I wanted it to be clean, simple and easy to navigate. The range of possible visitors was quite wide.
I’m very happy with the outcome.
December 20th, 2009
I haven’t shared much of my web design work. The Housatonic Friends Meeting website is based off of the Hemmingway theme for WordPress. Quakers are by a rule simple and plain and my objective was to keep the site that way as well. I integrated a Flickr feed of photos of the meeting house, along with a Google Calendar feed for the events. I’m still building secure sections of the site for the minutes and other documents.
Visit the site: http://housatonicmeeting.org
November 25th, 2009
by Walt Whitman
Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.
November 21st, 2009
Earlier last week on Twitter I saw someone post a link to Mockingbird. I have enough trouble convincing project managers and sales people that wireframes are worth the time, so anyway to do them faster and easier I’m all for.
I signed up for an account and laid out a sample page. The first thing that really impressed me was the complete lack of any lag. I figured using a browser interface it would have some delay but there was none. The app also uses your normal keyboard shortcuts. Just clicking delete really deletes it from the page. They have a nice library of default items including social media icons.
The other feature that I really liked was the ability to Share. It generates a special link that you can then send to someone and they get a viewable version of the wireframe.
I still need to play with it more and try some actual projects in it. I’d recommend going to their site and trying it out.
September 19th, 2009
Americans have access to:
- 1,000,000,000,000 web pages
- 65,000 iPhone app
- 10,500 radio stations
- 5,500 magazines
- 200+ cable tv networks
Pretty impressive numbers. The folks at XPLANE™ have created another video educating and inspiring the community. This is from their Did You Know series.
We forget sometimes how much things have changed and what kind of future possibly lays before us. The power of the computers in our pockets is incredible in relation to just 20 years ago.
September 7th, 2009
I stumbled across SAAB’s microsite called “Change Perspective” tonight, all I can say is I’ve been back to it 5 times to play with it and sent it to several friends.
Flash has been of much debate in the web design community. Some vehemently oppose it, others think it’s the solution to everything. My feelings are more middle of the road. In the right application it’s the only tool for the job, this site happens to be one of those.
The music is great. The whole site is clean, simple, easy to use and just feels like fresh air. My favorite part is the safety section with the pop up book. Visit the site.