Articles tagged as ‘Design Process’

7 Keys to Effective Blog Re-Designs

Many blogs get re-designed every couple of years, if not more frequently. Re-designing a blog brings a number of challenges because more content is being added to the site all the time, new types of content may have been introduced since the last design, and the priorities and goals of blogs often change or evolve over time. This means that when re-designing a blog you’ll need to take some time before jumping into the design work in order to think about how to prioritize the right content, how to make it easy for visitors to find what they want, and how to use the design to make the blog more effective at achieving it’s purpose for the owner.

The success of a blog re-design is more heavily influenced by a proper planning process than it is by the design skills of the person creating it. A blog can get a fancy new design that looks great, but if it doesn’t help to make the site more user-friendly and it doesn’t do an effective job of achieving the blog’s purpose, the impressive look ultimately has very little impact.

In this article we’ll take a look at 7 keys to the blog re-design process. These are all things that should be considered at the time of the re-design in order to make the site more useful for visitors and more effective for its owners.

1. Same Design Style or New Approach?

Most of the time when a blog is re-designed it will maintain a similar style or look and feel, just with an updated approach. Brand development takes time, and if a blog has established a certain identity with its audience you will usually want to maintain that identity through the re-design process. However, there are some cases where the re-design presents the opportunity for the blog to go in a new direction. This includes color schemes, logos, and general design styles.

One of the first decisions that should be made is whether the blog should keep a similar style to the existing design, or if it should feature a new design style. Think about the blog’s current audience, how they view the blog and the brand, and if that still fits with the direction the blog is headed.

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15 Invoicing Tips for Designers and Freelancers

Most designers don’t particularly enjoy the financial side of running a business, but handling it properly is a necessary part of being a freelancer or running a design agency. The financial side of the business includes invoicing clients, and in this article we’ll look at some tips and best practices for invoicing.

1. Decide on an Invoicing App or Software

There are plenty of online invoicing apps available that have been created with designers and freelancers in mind. Additionally, there are some software options as well. Using either an online app or software to handle your invoicing will allow you to save time and to have better organization over your invoices and receivables, as opposed to using a manual system or spreadsheets.

With so many options to choose from (see 20 Invoicing Tools for Web Designers), you should be able to find an app or software that includes all of the features that you need, and ideally, not a lot of those that you don’t need. Online apps are available in a wide range of prices, some are even free. Prices will usually rise as more features are included, and most invoicing apps will have a few different plans according to the number of invoices and clients that you need to manage.

If you’d like to avoid monthly or yearly fees of online apps, you can purchase invoicing software for a one-time fee and manage an unlimited number of invoices and clients.

For invoicing software we recommend Fanurio. For online apps we recommend FreshBooks. Find a solution that meets your needs and it will help you to have more accurate invoicing and financial records with less time commitment.

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21 Resources for Getting Design Feedback

Getting feedback and making use of it is essential to a successful design project. However, the communication process with clients and with team members can become quite cumbersome to manage with the amount of emails that are sent back and forth and the various revisions and versions of the project. Fortunately, there are some very helpful resources out there that can improve efficiency and organization with feedback.

In this post we’ll look at 21 useful resources. They are categorized by purpose.

Feedback from Clients:

Of course, every successful project needs to involve communication and feedback between the designer and the client. These four resources can help in this area.

ProofHQ
ProofHQ simplifies the design review, feedback and approval process for you and your clients. Clients can provide feedback conveniently through ProofHQ and you can benefit from better organization through the process. Prices range from $17 – $499 per month, with a free trial available.

ProofHQ

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Interview with Tyler from Snobby Slice (PSD to HTML)

PSD to HTML services have become incredibly popular in the past few years and many designers use these services regularly. Personally, I was hesitant to try PSD to HTML providers for a few reasons, one of them being that I just wasn’t sure how it worked and what was involved. I assume that many other designers out there are curious about PSD to HTML services, so I asked Tyler from Snobby Slice to do this interview to help those designers.

Snobby Slice

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Different Methods for Choosing Color Schemes in Web Design

One of the most challenging aspects of design for many web designers is color selection. The color scheme of a site can have a huge impact on the overall look of the site, and it will have an impact on visitors as well. There are a number of different methods that can be used for finding the right color scheme for a particular project, and in this post we will look at several of those methods. Throughout the post you will find links to helpful resources that you may appreciate.

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Practical Tips for Taking Design Inspiration without Copying

Designers of all kinds rely on inspiration for their work in order to achieve their best results. Inspiration can come from just about anywhere, but for web designers who are online virtually all day it frequently comes from gallery sites, design blogs, or just websites that you come across in other ways. The amount of inspiration of this kind that is available can be a huge help when you are struggling with a project of your own, but one challenge that designers face is how to put that inspiration into practice while still creating something unique and of quality.

There are ways to take advantage of the inspirational work that is available from other designers and use it to create something of your own, and in this article we’ll look at the subject in detail.

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9 Things to Understand About a Client When Starting a Design Project

As a designer, each of your clients and projects is unique. However, there are certain things that you will need to know or understand about all of your clients in order to produce your best work for them. An effective website will be built to address the specific needs of the business, which will require the designer to accurately understand a lot of details about the business.

In this article we’ll look at nine things that should be discussed between the designer and the client at the start of the project to improve the likelihood of success. These topics focus on getting to know the business and their needs, rather than contractual issues like payment and deadlines.

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Guide to Completing Projects On-Time

Part of being a web designer (or any other type of service provider for that matter) is dealing with the reality that deadlines are going to be a part of your job. Deadlines often have a negative stigma, but they actually freelancers and independent designers to keep themselves on track and to promote efficiency and productivity, which will lead to a profitable business.

Last week I wrote about some various steps to achieving a productive workday, and in many cases your days will involve the need to meet deadlines, or at least to make progress towards meeting the deadlines at a later date. In this article we’ll take a look at 10 different things that you can do to help yourself in terms of meeting deadlines on client projects.

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15 Steps to a More Productive Workday

Freelance designers, as well as those who work for small design studios, often face the challenge of getting the most productivity out of their time and achieving maximum efficiency. While this can be a struggle for anyone in a more “typical” job, freelancers have added distractions, unique challenges, and no one to hold them accountable. To be a successful freelancer you’ll have to place a priority on productivity and find ways that work for you.

Each of us is unique and no process will work for everyone, but all of us have plenty of things that we can do to improve our workflow. In this article I’ll cover some of the lessons that I have learned through my own experience. For me, productivity is a constant goal, and always interested in finding new ways to get more out of my time. I’m far from perfect in these areas, but making consistent improvements. Hopefully some of these things will help you in your own work.

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Developing a Client Process from Inquiry to Project Completion

Efficiency and effectiveness are equally important to freelance designers and small design firms (and large ones as well, but that won’t be the focus of this article). There are obviously any number of different things you can do to improve your workflow or to produce a better end result for your clients. One area for potential improvement is systemization or standardization of process.

The process of designing and developing a website for clients is rather complex and involves a lot of different steps. First, there is the initial contact either through an online inquiry or maybe a referral. Then comes a quote for service, a contract, the opening stages of the design, client feedback, revisions, development, completion, final billing and record keeping. Of course, the exact steps may vary from one designer to another, but the point is that a lot goes into the complete process of taking a client from inquiry to the completion of the project.

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