Exploit Your Strengths to Become an Expert in Your Field

We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, and each of us varies in how good we are in one area over another. Design and development are very talent-driven fields, and because of this, there seems to be a lot of professionals out there who focus on constantly building their weaknesses in order to improve in their practice.

There can be a real problem with this though. By always focusing on your weaknesses, you never build upon your strengths. Without doing this, you can never really develop your skills to the point you’d like to. In this post, we’re going to talk about a new method for improving as a web designer, graphic designer, developer, or just as a freelancer. This new method focuses on our natural talents; what we’re already good at, and not our weaknesses or points of defeat.
Why Focusing on a Weakness is Bad

It seems almost logical: you have a negative point in your work that you’d like to improve, so you practice and practice until you get better. Practice makes perfect, right? There is no doubt that by doing this you are making your weak point stronger, but what about all of your other points?


By: Kayla Knight
http://www.onextrapixel.com/2010/10/11/exploit-your-strengths-to-become-an-expert-in-your-field/

We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, and each of us varies in how good we are in one area over another. Design and development are very talent-driven fields, and because of this, there seems to be a lot of professionals out there who focus on constantly building their weaknesses in order to improve in their practice.

There can be a real problem with this though. By always focusing on your weaknesses, you never build upon your strengths. Without doing this, you can never really develop your skills to the point you’d like to. In this post, we’re going to talk about a new method for improving as a web designer, graphic designer, developer, or just as a freelancer. This new method focuses on our natural talents; what we’re already good at, and not our weaknesses or points of defeat.

Why Focusing on a Weakness is Bad

It seems almost logical: you have a negative point in your work that you’d like to improve, so you practice and practice until you get better. Practice makes perfect, right? There is no doubt that by doing this you are making your weak point stronger, but what about all of your other points?

Why Focusing on a Weakness is Bad
Image credit: Darwin Bell

If you are always focusing on your downsides and lack of talents, you may begin to feel as though you have very few skills overall. This can cause a lack in confidence, and therefore a lack in the quality of your work. By focusing only on what you’re bad at, even if you feel it is essential to win over those bad skills, you begin to perceive yourself in a very negative mindset. Leer más “Exploit Your Strengths to Become an Expert in Your Field”

50 Clean & Minimalistic Web Designs That’ll Inspire You

This time we’re having a look at some web designs that are examples of true art: keeping it simple. Making a simple and clean design can be quite a challenge for any of us, and it usually needs a lot of practice to be able to get it right with as few elements as possible.
Why do Simple and Clean Web Designs Work So Well?

There are several reasons why these clean designs seem to work very well and have become so popular:

* They load quickly
* They’re easy to navigate through
* The content stands out better
* They feel comfortable to visit
* In a world with a lot of info, they stand out
* They stand the test of time better than many other designs

There are more reasons as well. Be aware though, that making them doesn’t necessarily have to take any less skill or work hours compared to more complex designs.
Keeping It Simple

These designs have been selected by browsing design galleries for hours. What we looked for were simple and clean designs that give a solid and professional feel.


By: Hilde Torbjornsen
http://www.onextrapixel.com/2010/10/14/50-clean-minimalistic-web-designs-thatll-inspire-you/

This time we’re having a look at some web designs that are examples of true art: keeping it simple. Making a simple and clean design can be quite a challenge for any of us, and it usually needs a lot of practice to be able to get it right with as few elements as possible.

Why do Simple and Clean Web Designs Work So Well?

There are several reasons why these clean designs seem to work very well and have become so popular:

  • They load quickly
  • They’re easy to navigate through
  • The content stands out better
  • They feel comfortable to visit
  • In a world with a lot of info, they stand out
  • They stand the test of time better than many other designs

There are more reasons as well. Be aware though, that making them doesn’t necessarily have to take any less skill or work hours compared to more complex designs.

Keeping It Simple

These designs have been selected by browsing design galleries for hours. What we looked for were simple and clean designs that give a solid and professional feel.

50 Clean & Minimalistic Web Designs

Now, let’s have a closer look at our selected websites!

Chama inc.
Chama inc. Leer más “50 Clean & Minimalistic Web Designs That’ll Inspire You”

What One Thing About Web Design Would You Change Today?

As Web designers and developers, much of our time is spent carving out little corners for ourselves: setting up stops along the information superhighway, creating hangouts to populate the virtual landscape. We shape areas of the Web as we choose to or as our clients command—like Neo altering the Matrix. Unlike Neo, though, we have rules to follow, standards to meet. Web development and design exist in a framework that dictates what we can and cannot do. With this idea of molding the Matrix in mind, we once again turned to our followers on Twitter.

In a recent poll, we asked: if you could make one thing about Web design different today, what would it be? To avoid repetition, we included a caveat: other than making IE disappear? With that, a wide range of answers flooded in on hash tags.

As always, we appreciate everyone who took the time to respond to the poll. Having a strong connection with our readers is rewarding—that’s one thing about the Web design and development community that we hope never changes. Below is a peek at what Web development and design would be like if our Twitter followers and Facebook fans had their say in shaping the industry.
Better Browsers…


http://www.noupe.com/design/what-one-thing-about-web-design-would-you-change-today.html
(…)

Better Browsers…

Even with the proviso in our question, most responses dealt with browsers—just not Internet Explorer. They also brought up how we build for the Web and how our work is interacted with, but browsers seemed to be the topic of the day. Judging by the amount of noise about it, the most frustrating problem is cross-compatibility between vendors. A number of different makers build browsers, and each browser has a unique way of rendering code; in this environment, designing and developing can be a burdensome task, and our readers would change it if they could.

Browsers in What One Thing About Web Design Would You Change Today?

Below are selected responses from our followers that offer a number of approaches to bettering the browser experience, and most of them deal with rendering code. There was variety in the responses, but making all browsers adhere to one set of enforced standards is an extremely popular solution. Compatibility was the focus.

  • I’d make every browser standards-compliant… and every website look amazing!
  • I would make every browser render the same code the same way.
  • Kill vendor-specific codes. No more of this -webkit crap.
  • Make all browsers be in sync. They are out of sync now. That’s the big difference between being a Web and graphic designer.
  • As many have said, cross-browser standards. So much time is wasted creating cross-browser compatibility. I’d also like to see better methods for separating content and navigation forms.
  • I’d ask all developers and companies to create one standard all-in-one Web browser. Need competition anyway? Here: plug-ins!
  • All browsers should have a unified rendering engine.
  • Standardize form elements across platforms and browsers.
  • Force standards. The W3C should have to “allow” browsers to browse the Web—and if -webkit, -moz or 90% of IE’s browser-specific bullshit were there, they’d block the browser. In a week, we’d have development heaven for all.
  • Make every browser read visual elements mathematically the same way so that developers wouldn’t have to care about cross-browsing.
  • We need a single open-source rendering engine (i.e. WebKit) that every browser could use and contribute to—and then we can scrap all other engines.
  • Fix font rendering. Leer más “What One Thing About Web Design Would You Change Today?”

Free WordPress Themes For Personal Bloggers

WordPress is already a widely used blogging platform. One of the reasons is the ease of customizing its look to suit your needs and preferences. Many bloggers have designed their theme to stand out among others while there are others who make a living selling such themes.

For those who are not friendly with HTML and CSS yet, we have prepared 35 great resources for WordPress Themes, which are suitable for personal blogging. You can use them for a good start.


By: Citra Sudiro
http://www.onextrapixel.com/2010/10/12/35-free-wordpress-themes-for-personal-bloggers/

WordPress is already a widely used blogging platform. One of the reasons is the ease of customizing its look to suit your needs and preferences. Many bloggers have designed their theme to stand out among others while there are others who make a living selling such themes.

For those who are not friendly with HTML and CSS yet, we have prepared 35 great resources for WordPress Themes, which are suitable for personal blogging. You can use them for a good start.

Free WordPress Themes… Leer más “Free WordPress Themes For Personal Bloggers”

Usability Resources to Win Arguments

Today’s post is a big one and it’s most definitely one for your bookmarks menu, because from time to time when speaking with clients it becomes necessary to have material to backup the statements which you are making.

Sometimes clients will suggest things such as forcing all users to register with a six page long form before they can even access the site. They aren’t web professionals, it’s not their fault for not knowing that this isn’t a good idea from a usability perspective.

If you’re going to convince them that this is a bad idea, however, then you’re going to need some rock solid material to back that up. While an element of trust is always important to a working relationship, you have to respect that sometimes clients will just need to see the facts in front of them to fully understand that what you’re saying is correct.

So, what we’ve done for you today is compiled a list of some of the biggest, most compelling usability articles which address common issues. Hopefully this should help you during tough conversations about what does and doesn’t work on a a website.

Bookmark this post, come back to it, use it in meetings and educate your clients on the things which work for other websites, so that they might also work for them.


thumb

http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/10/usability-resources-to-win-arguments/

This post was authored exclusively for WDD by John O’Nolan, a core contributor to the WordPress UI Team, writer and entrepreneur based in Surrey in the United Kingdom. John loves to talk to people, so why not follow @JohnONolan on twitter too?
Today’s post is a big one and it’s most definitely one for your bookmarks menu, because from time to time when speaking with clients it becomes necessary to have material to backup the statements which you are making.

Sometimes clients will suggest things such as forcing all users to register with a six page long form before they can even access the site. They aren’t web professionals, it’s not their fault for not knowing that this isn’t a good idea from a usability perspective.

If you’re going to convince them that this is a bad idea, however, then you’re going to need some rock solid material to back that up. While an element of trust is always important to a working relationship, you have to respect that sometimes clients will just need to see the facts in front of them to fully understand that what you’re saying is correct.

So, what we’ve done for you today is compiled a list of some of the biggest, most compelling usability articles which address common issues. Hopefully this should help you during tough conversations about what does and doesn’t work on a a website.

Bookmark this post, come back to it, use it in meetings and educate your clients on the things which work for other websites, so that they might also work for them.

How Not Forcing Users to Register Increased Sales by $300million

1

A truly fascinating article covering how one ecommerce site removed forced user-registration during the checkout process, with a result of a $300million increase in revenue. Very impressive.

 

10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines

2

  • Form labels work best above the field
  • Users focus on faces
  • Quality of design is an indicator of credibility
  • Most users do know how to scroll
  • Blue is the best color for links
  • The ideal search box is 27 characters wide
  • White space improves comprehension
  • Effective user testing doesn’t have to be extensive
  • Informative product pages stand out
  • Most users are blind to advertising

Leer más “Usability Resources to Win Arguments”

Charging Per Hour vs. Per Project

If you’re a corporate designer, you don’t have to worry about things like how to bill your clients, as you’re likely either on salary or have a predetermined hourly rate and regular work schedule.

But for freelancers, figuring out how best to charge clients for work completed can be a nightmare. After all, you want to charge clients a fair price, make a decent living, and get enough work so that you’re not struggling to find the next project.

In the world of web design, there are two basic ways most designers charge: per hour or per project. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and there are situations where one method works better than the other.

In this article, we’ve presented an overview of what’s involved in each method of charging, as well as what you need to consider when choosing a method.
Charging by the Hour

Charging an hourly rate is incredibly common in the world of freelancers, both for designers and other professionals.

It’s a pretty straight-forward way of charging. I just tell you I charge $X per hour and you either think that’s reasonable and agree to pay it or you don’t and you find someone who charges less.

Advantages to Charging by the Hour

As mentioned, hourly charges are very straight-forward. Some designers have a flat hourly rate regardless of the type of work they do. Others have different hourly rates for different functions (designing, coding, testing, etc.).

It’s easy to lay out for your clients exactly what you charge, and they often feel like it’s a more transparent way of doing business. It’s also a method clients are used to dealing with, as that’s likely how their lawyer, accountant, and other professionals also charge.


Written exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.
http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/10/charging-per-hour-vs-per-project/

If you’re a corporate designer, you don’t have to worry about things like how to bill your clients, as you’re likely either on salary or have a predetermined hourly rate and regular work schedule.

But for freelancers, figuring out how best to charge clients for work completed can be a nightmare. After all, you want to charge clients a fair price, make a decent living, and get enough work so that you’re not struggling to find the next project.

In the world of web design, there are two basic ways most designers charge: per hour or per project. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and there are situations where one method works better than the other.

In this article, we’ve presented an overview of what’s involved in each method of charging, as well as what you need to consider when choosing a method.

Charging by the Hour

Charging an hourly rate is incredibly common in the world of freelancers, both for designers and other professionals.

It’s a pretty straight-forward way of charging. I just tell you I charge $X per hour and you either think that’s reasonable and agree to pay it or you don’t and you find someone who charges less.

 

Advantages to Charging by the Hour

As mentioned, hourly charges are very straight-forward. Some designers have a flat hourly rate regardless of the type of work they do. Others have different hourly rates for different functions (designing, coding, testing, etc.).

It’s easy to lay out for your clients exactly what you charge, and they often feel like it’s a more transparent way of doing business. It’s also a method clients are used to dealing with, as that’s likely how their lawyer, accountant, and other professionals also charge.

Leer más “Charging Per Hour vs. Per Project”

5 Tips for Handling Pricing Objections

One of the most difficult aspects of business for many freelancers is the pricing of projects. While some designers offer package-based pricing, most will have to provide a custom quote for every new client. Making an accurate estimate as to how much time will be required is often a challenge, but for many freelancers what is even more difficult is closing the sale and getting the client to commit by signing a contract and agreeing to the price.

By nature most designers are not interested in sales, but it is a necessary part of being a freelancer. Of course, the more demand you have for your services the easier it will be, and the less pressure you will have to land each potential client. But in reality most freelancers today are not in a position to lose out on projects if it can be avoided.

In this industry pricing objections from potential clients are relatively common. Maybe the client doesn’t have much knowledge or experience in the area and they have unrealistic expectations of what is involved in the process and how much work is required. Or maybe they have a friend or family member who claims they can get a website for much cheaper somewhere else. Whatever the case, freelance designers never enjoy dealing with pricing objections.

In this article we’ll look at a few key things that you can do when you are in a situation where a potential client is hesitating to move forward due to price. While there will always be some clients who expect a top notch website for a bargain basement price, most clients are very reasonable and effective communication can often lead to some way to come to an agreement.


Via
http://vandelaydesign.com/blog/business/pricing-objections/

One of the most difficult aspects of business for many freelancers is the pricing of projects. While some designers offer package-based pricing, most will have to provide a custom quote for every new client. Making an accurate estimate as to how much time will be required is often a challenge, but for many freelancers what is even more difficult is closing the sale and getting the client to commit by signing a contract and agreeing to the price.By nature most designers are not interested in sales, but it is a necessary part of being a freelancer. Of course, the more demand you have for your services the easier it will be, and the less pressure you will have to land each potential client. But in reality most freelancers today are not in a position to lose out on projects if it can be avoided.

In this industry pricing objections from potential clients are relatively common. Maybe the client doesn’t have much knowledge or experience in the area and they have unrealistic expectations of what is involved in the process and how much work is required. Or maybe they have a friend or family member who claims they can get a website for much cheaper somewhere else. Whatever the case, freelance designers never enjoy dealing with pricing objections.

In this article we’ll look at a few key things that you can do when you are in a situation where a potential client is hesitating to move forward due to price. While there will always be some clients who expect a top notch website for a bargain basement price, most clients are very reasonable and effective communication can often lead to some way to come to an agreement. Leer más “5 Tips for Handling Pricing Objections”