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Compassion in Web Design

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Compassion is an emotion that most people wouldn’t think of when it comes to web design.  However, I believe that compassion is one of the missing qualities in many web designers today.  Compassion can give you understanding and opportunities that you would other wise miss out on.

If you have a client that is compassionate about the subject your being asked to make a website of, then being able to relate with that client could really help you take that website to the next level instead of just delivering an average product.

Being compassionate to clients can bring unforeseen opportunities as well.  Consider doing some free sites for non-profit groups sometimes, or giving certain clients price breaks.  These acts of compassion can bring more paying clients later on down the road.  Not only are you being compassionate, you are also networking and getting your name out in the world.  Perhaps you just created an awesome site that looks good in your portfolio.

In the web design field you are always thinking about technology, coding, design and other things most people don’t deal with on a daily basis.  Compassion is one of those things that lets your clients and colleagues know that your still a human and not just another coding/designing machine, so keep that in mind when choosing to work in this field. If you can remember that, then you have a much better chance at succeeding in this field.

Categories: Web Class

Diversity with Web Design and Web Development

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Diverse Designs

Being diverse in your designs can really help to grow your comfort level and accommodate more clients.  If you are used to building simple small fixed width web sites you could really be limiting yourself.  Experiment with fluid layouts some or maybe even mobile design and you could find yourself with many more opportunities.  Improve your Photoshop abilities and you could provide that next great look that someone is looking for instead of the plain old boring graphics every website has.

More often than not clients today want more than just the simple website that so many have been asking for and getting over the years.  They expect more out of their web professional and you should be looking to improve yourself in multiple areas.  Once you stop pushing yourself to learn new things, you will soon find yourself left in the dust by developing technologies and techniques.

Diverse Coding

To be diverse in web development you have to constantly be learning new coding techniques.  You can choose to specialize in a certain language or be very good at developing in a certain CMS but you will always run into an opportunity where a client may need something different from your specialty.  You may be good at WordPress, but you have a client already using Drupal that needs some work done.  Perhaps you are switching them from Drupal to WordPress. It would be helpful to know the basics of Drupal to recover the most that you can from their current website.

Another example would be the different Javascript Libraries out there.  You may be comfortable with jQuery, but someone else is using MooTools.  Or perhaps you like to code in PHP but the project you are working on would be a better fit for Ruby or Python.  There is no right choice in choosing what to learn when you are a web developer.  Obviously it helps to focus on a specific area, but you can certainly shut yourself out of some opportunities by not learning some of the other technologies out there.

Categories: Uncategorized, Web Class

Goal Setting

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Goal setting is one of the most important aspects of any type of job.  When you relate it to web design and development I think that it plays an even bigger role. To me there are different types of goal setting.  You have long term goals and short term goals.

Short Term Goals

You should think of short term goal setting as bite sized pieces, tasks that can be accomplished in a short period time.  What am I going to finish today, what will move the project forward?

For instance if you were working on a full website for a client, you may want to make the following short term goals.

  • Home Page Mockup
  • Sub Page Mockup
  • Blog Page Mockup
  • Home Page Content Creation
  • Sub Page Content Creation
  • Coding the home page
  • Coding the sub page
  • Coding the blog page
  • Styling the home page
  • Styling the sub page
  • Styling the blog page

You get the idea, do it one piece at a time so that you don’t become overwhelmed.  If you ever get stuck you can always move on to the next bite sized piece and then come back.

Long Term Goals

Long term goal setting is a completely different mindset.  Your long term goal would be the overall goal.  What do you hope to accomplish with your project, what do you need to provide as an end result to your client?

So maybe your long term goal would be to deliver a website to a client on time and with in budget.  That seems like a pretty daunting task when you look at it that way.  That’s why you always want to set short term goals that are contained within the long term one

There is no reason to freak out if you can break up your tasks and set small goals to accomplish the larger one.

Categories: Web Class

Choices

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Girl choosing Candy

Web Design & Development is almost entirely about choices.  Choices about clients, choices about coding, choices about design, choices, choices, choices.  Did I mention that we are talking about choices here?  Let’s break some of this down a little farther.

Client Choices

You as a web designer or developer may have the ability to choose your clients.  What type of clients do you want to work with?  There are small businesses, non-profits, large corporate businesses, bloggers, photographers, the choices here are endless.  Are you going to acommidate  all of these, or are you going to focus your work on one certain area where you can specialize in what you do?  If you are the type of person who doesn’t want to make these decisions you will probably want to work for someone where these decisions are made for you.

Coding Choices

When it comes to coding a website or a web application you have to determine the best way to accomplish that task.  What CMS are you going to use, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla?  What type of code are you going to use, PHP, Ruby, Python?  Many times the type of code you end up using depends on whether or not your client is already using a certain system.  Is that system outdated, would something work better, how do you tell that client?  Did the designer give you something that can’t be coded, or is time consuming to code?  What options can you go back to them with that will still fit their design?

Design Choices

Many times when designing for the web a client will already have an idea about what they want, but sometimes they will throw up their hands and let you make that decision for them.  What color would work best here, where should the navigation go, what type of navigation should it be ( a list, dropdowns, etc.).  As a web designer you also need to be aware of the choices of your client’s end user.  What browsers are they using, what screen resolutions are they viewing the website in, is javascript enabled?

 

As you can see when it comes to Web Design and Development their are many choices that come up from before a project even starts to when it finishes, and the ones I noted here are just a few of them.  What choices have you had to make when working on a website?

Categories: Web Class

Excellence Dude!

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

bill and ted large

So what’s so excellent about excellence.

When you talk about excellence as it relates to the web industry, I think it’s pretty obvious to spot someone not producing excellence.  Everyday you can go to all sorts of websites and see that someone has settled for less than excellence.  Whether you are a designer, developer, or customer you have a choice when it comes to making or having websites made.

DESIGNERS

If your a designer push your abilities to the limit.  Try something new that is eye catching, or maybe learn what goes into coding some of your crazy designs.  By learning a bit about coding maybe you can make your developer friends job a bit easier the next go around.  If you see a cool new design on a site you went to see if you can replicate it.

DEVELOPERS

If you do development and coding take the extra time to learn a bit about the design of websites.  You may be used to coding all day, but knowing a bit about design goes a long way to improving your work.  Maybe you could learn some new coding techniques like HTML5 or CSS3.  Doing so could improve the time it takes to build the website, as well as save your customer on bandwidth.

WEB CUSTOMERS

If your a customer searching for a company to work on a website for you please listen to what the web professionals have to say.  There are some developers and coders out there trying to make  a quick buck, but I guarantee you will get what you pay for.  Excellence costs money, but in the end excellence is what you will get.  Look over multiple portfolio’s before choosing a web company to work with, and you will see if this is a person or company you want to work with.

Excellence is obvious.

When you strive for excellence you will never be disappointed with the end result.  If you always do just enough to get by you will find out quickly that others are always a step ahead of you and that you may be looking for a new profession or someone else to redo your website.

Categories: Web Class

Wokplace Ethics

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

eth·ics

-plural noun

a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.

Now that we’re clear on a simple definition of what ethics are we can have a more in detail discussion.

 

Ethics are morals, so workplace ethics would be your personal morals as they relate to your work field, and also may include the morals of your employer.  In my experience there are just some people out there who apparently have no workplace ethics.  In just about any field of work you will find a number of people that either don’t have workplace ethics or think they can get away with less than ideal ethics.  Let’s go through a small list of bad workplace ethics that I have been privy to.

  • Doing side work while on the clock.
  • Hosting your own websites on company property.
  • Playing games while on the clock.
  • Pilfering supplies.
  • Cheating the time clock.
  • Using bad language when speaking with employees or clients.

This is a small list of things that I have witnessed or been told about personally in my short work life of 10 years thus far.  In the design world you may find other employees who are willing to work on side projects while on the clock.  If you see this happening and your certain the boss doesn’t approve of it, notify them.  If that person is actually done with their work, they should be asking what else they can do for the company rather than wasting the companies time.

DON’T host your own websites on the companies servers.  Especially don’t host sites of the pornographic nature.  Trust me your employer won’t appreciate it, and you will be out of a job.  I feel that this one is pretty straight forward.

Playing games while on the clock is also a no no believe it or not.  Whether it’s solitaire, minesweeper, or even World of Warcraft, work is not an appropriate place to play games unless your in the video game field and your job requires it or your boss asked you to do it for some odd reason.

Pilfering aka stealing supplies is just plain bad.  If you were to put together all of the supplies that some people took from my previous employers I would bet you can find out where some of everyone’s raises went for any given year.  Sure buying supplies for one person doesn’t seem expensive, but when you add that up for 100 employees its a lot.  Don’t steal at work or in your personal life.  It’s bad the bible says so.

I’m sure you’ve heard about people cheating the time clock on your local news if you have not known someone personally.  As a tax payer I don’t like hearing about a police man or a public official doing it so why should you.  Your basically stealing money when you do this, not very ethical at all.

Would you kiss your mom with that mouth?  Don’t curse while at work, it’s not professional and it shows your lack of vocabulary to describe certain situations.  I can honestly say I have slipped up here when complaining to other employees, but in no way what so ever should you talk this way with a client or customer.  I like the idea of not using any language that you wouldn’t use when standing next to your grandma.

Well I hope that clears workplace ethics up.  I’m sure I could put another dozen things in this post, but it would be too long to read and it’s not necessary to get my point across.

Categories: Web Class

RESPECT – I know what it means to me!

March 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Respect is a something you earn, and is not something to be given lightly.  When it comes to web design and development it is my belief that you need to earn the respect of clients and other people you are working with.  Without their respect your job can become increasingly difficult.

If you tell a client or another coder a certain way something needs to be done, and that turns out to be wrong you can lose respect with that person.  For example, if you were to tell a client that you didn’t think that it was necessary to do some simple things to help secure their website from SQL injection and then that exact scenario played out.  They would not only lose respect for you and your work, but you would also have a trust issue at that point. They may decide to go somewhere else, or you may have a lot of explaining to do.

Either way it would have been better to do things right the first time by putting in the extra time making their website secure.  Doing your job to the best of your ability is the easiest way to earn respect.

Categories: Web Class