Articles tagged as ‘Design Process’

Why Designers and Content Strategists Need to Work Together

Content creation, content strategy, content marketing–these are all trendy terms right now, but nothing that web designers need to worry about, right?

Wrong.

Design and content are two sides of coin. They are both necessary for an effective website.

Imagine yourself in a grocery store searching for a package of flour. On the shelf, side by side, are two bags. Both bags contain the identical type and amount of flour. Both bags cost the same amount of money. But one bag is beautifully designed with an eye-catching graphic. The other bag is plain beige and the only design element is the word “Flour” in a plain font.

Which bag would you be most likely to notice?

As designers, you probably realize that bag with the eye-catching graphic is more likely to catch a customer’s eye. The well-designed bag is probably also the package of flour you bought.

Web design is like product packaging. Good design determines whether the content reaches its intended audience. Bad design means the content is likely to be ignored.

In this post, we explain why content strategists and designers need to work together. We also share some tips to help you add content strategy to your design process.

If you liked this post, you may also like Why Writers and Designers Need Each Other.

design-content

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5 Excellent Options for Creating Proposals

A major part of being able to secure clients for design projects is the ability to present proposals and communicate with clients who are trying to decide which designer to hire. Having a professional-looking proposal that provides the right details for clients will help to increase your conversion rates and to land more work.

There are a few different web apps that exist for the purpose of helping with the creation and the management of proposals. In this post we’ll take a look at the leading options, along with some templates for printed proposals.

Bidsketch

Bidsketch

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Top Wireframing Tools Every Designer Needs to Consider

As an ardent designer, I am sure you might have experienced the tedious task of gathering feedback on page layout and navigation. Web design requires proper planning and communication for completing the project fruitfully. To assist you throughout and to make your web designing process uncomplicated, you need a wireframing tool.

Using a wireframing tool is indeed a fast and easy technique to plan the layout and to easily communicate your ideas with the clients. This part of design supports the entire web design process starting from its preliminary stage. Its unique ability to detect any errors at the early stage has made wireframing a valuable practice for web designers worldwide. While there are numerous wireframing tools available over the internet, locating the most prominent ones can be a daunting task. With that in mind, here I am going to give you a sneak peek into the top tools every designer should consider.

Balsamiq

Balsamiq is a rapid wireframing tool that allows the users to create sketch-like mockup designs for websites and applications. With 75 pre-built controls to select from, this amazing tool helps you to design anything from a super-simple dialog box to a full-fledged application ranging from a simple website to a rich internet application.

Balsamiq

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5 Basic Tips for A/B Testing

A/B testing is arguably the simplest way to analyze the effectiveness of a particular component of your marketing campaign. Some consider this synonymous to split testing. Others consider it as a variant of split testing, with multivariate testing being the other.

Entrepreneurs who observe a sharp decline in their sales and conversions can run this test to bring back the vigor of their site. A/B testing, after all, provides one of the most efficient ways to know more about consumer preferences. This allows businessmen to device strategies that can guarantee an increase in their profits.

In the vein, web masters can garner an idea on how they can tweak web designs to get more visitors on the landing page. Suffice to say, A/B testing helps developers determine all the right adjustments on colors, buttons, layout, and web content that can get them ideal results.

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You Only Have 8 Seconds

It’s important to realize that web design is not just about making a site look good. Just focusing on the visual appeal will not enable your site or business to achieve the goals that you have set.

Do you know that an average website visitor takes just 6-8 secs to decide whether to stay on your site? Most of the visitors are not ready to grant you more time. So, what can you do in these 6-8 seconds to convey your real message, when you already know that other websites are just a click away? If you don’t really understand how they think, behave, what influences them, how to persuade them and how they finally make their decision then you have a problem. We will take a quick tour of few important things that matter in the very first seconds.

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Establishing a Client Intake Process

One of the most important aspects of the web design process is getting to know the client, their customers, and the specifics of what they want and need to get out of the project. Without this knowledge you could create an amazing design, but it really won’t matter if it doesn’t fit the specific needs of the client and doesn’t communicate effectively with their customers. Most designers would prefer to get to the actual design work quickly, but it’s important to do your due diligence during the client intake process.

Communication during the client intake process is critical because it is needed to get the designer and client on the same page, helps to avoid lost time from unnecessary revisions, establishes the responsibilities and expectations of both the designer and the client, and it sets the foundation for design decisions that will be made throughout the project.

Having a set process for client intake can help to streamline the process and save time. Additionally, it will also help to ensure that nothing is missed or skipped accidentally, and it will help to make the communication smoother and less time consuming for clients. While there will always be differences from one project to the next that may require special attention, the major aspects of the client intake process will be applicable to almost all of your projects.

At Vandelay Premier we have released a resource that we feel can be an extremely valuable resource for helping freelancers and small design agencies with the client intake process. Many designers use questionnaires to help with gathering information from new clients, so we created a resource to help with this process. Our Design Brief Print and Web Template has an InDesign template that includes a variety of common questions that help to gather the basic information that is needed on most client projects. The questions can easily be edited in InDesign to customize the document to meet your needs.

Design Brief

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17 Tools For Making Awesome Client Presentations

Ask five designers how they handle client design presentations and you’ll get five different answers. Some like to do their presentations in person, accompanying their designs with printouts detailing specific highlights. Others prefer utilizing an online screen sharing experience and talking their clients through their design in real time. And then there are those who simply ship off the jpgs in an email outlining the design’s main points. No matter what your method is for revealing your design, it is important to use tools and resources that can make your presentation successful. Without further ado, here’s a list of some of the best apps and tools for delivering the perfect client presentation.

Calls and Screen Sharing

Join.me
It’s simple, easy, and free. Either join someone’s screen share or share your own. You can invite up to 250 viewers into your screen share and can even let them take control of your computer. Join.me has a great list of features, such as internet calling, chat, and file sharing, which makes it a great all-in-one solution for screen sharing presentations.

Join.me

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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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