10 Steps to a Successful Design Project

Building a complete and effective website truly is a process. In this post we’ll take a brief look at the various steps that lead to a successful project. Of course, this will vary from case-to-case, but this is a pretty standard order of events.

1. Needs Analysis

I believe that it’s important to have a good idea of what you want or need from your website before you really get into the process. Some business owners that decide to have a website built or redesigned simply don’t consider exactly why they are doing it, and what they need to get out of the final product. This is a critical first step, because without knowing exactly where you want the project to go, it will come up short in one way or another.

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99 Flickr Groups for Design Inspiration

Web designers and graphic designers are always looking for new sources of design inspiration. Of course, many of us turn to CSS galleries, and there are even more sources of offline inspiration. Personally, I find the work in many Flickr groups to be another excellent source of inspiration. Aside from the billions of photos on Flickr, there are also some groups that have been established to showcase the work of designers. Here is a look at 99 of them according to category (about half of them are general graphic design groups). Below the link to each group you’ll see the number of members and the number of items (pictures, graphics, screenshots, etc.) that have been submitted to the group, plus I have included part of the group description as listed by the moderator.

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9 Options for Tracking Downtime

Having your website go down is not only frustrating to you, it can also be an inconvenience for your visitors and customers. Most of us aren’t on our sites all day long in order to know when it is down and how often it happens. Fortunately there are a number of tools and online services to accomplish this task for you. There are some basic free tools that will get the job done for most of us who simply want to know the status of our website. However, there are also much more advanced services for larger companies that may want to track downtime for all of their systems. We’ll take a look at several of the options.

AlertSite

AlertSite

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Killer Domains: Helping You to Find the Perfect Domain for Your Next Website

About two weeks ago Daniel Scocco released his ebook Killer Domains: Tools and Techniques to Find the Perfect Domain Name. Daniel owns and manages Daily Blog Tips, Daily Writing Tips, and Daily Bits. In Killer Domains he reveals all of the information that he has learned through the past few years of buying domains and building profitable websites.

Because many readers of this blog are actively involved in building websites, I thought that Daniel’s book would be of interest to many of you. Daniel kindly provided me with a copy of the book so that I could review it here.

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30 Beautiful and Innovative Flash Designs

This post was written by Jacob Gube of Six Revisions.

Flash is unparalleled when it comes to providing users a highly rich, memorable, and interactive experience. For developers, nothing matches Flash’s relative ease in allowing them to develop dynamic, complex web-based applications. For a vast majority of users, the required Flash Player plug-in is already installed, making it the most popular choice when it comes to animation and effects on the web.

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April's Best: This Month in Web Design

It’s hard to believe that April is almost over. Here is a collection of the best design-related articles of the month.

Celebration of Vintage and Retro Design from Smashing Magazine.
Smashing Magazine always provides great resources for inspiration, and this one is no exception.

Vintage and Retro Design

60+ Unusual WordPress Blog Designs from Noupe.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for creating something unique with WordPress, Noura has put together an excellent categorized collection.

Unique WP designs

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5 Steps to Improved Client Feedback

If you’ve done much design or development work for clients you know that getting effective feedback from the client is critical to the success of the project. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a challenge. Depending on the types of clients that you work with, you may find that some of them are difficult to communicate with, not because they don’t have opinions, but because they don’t understand very much about the process of building a website.

From my experience these clients can be a bit more difficult to work with, not because they are hard to please or unreasonable in their expectations, but simply because they don’t always understand how much of an impact they need to have on the process. They hire a designer to create the site and they just assume that the designer can do what is needed.

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50 Essential Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials

Photoshop provides designers with incredible opportunities to create a wide variety of text effects. Some effects are rather simple to create, and others are much more complex. Fortunately, there is a great selection of tutorials available that can teach you the step-by-step process to create all different kinds of text effects.

In this post we’ll link to 50 tutorials where you can learn how to create some awesome text and typography effects that can be used in your own designs.

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop

How to Create a Retro, 3-Dimensional Text Effect in Photoshop

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Tips for Attracting Local Clients

Local

Most web designers work with clients from all over the country or even all around the world. While it certainly allows the designer to expand his or her marketplace, there are sometimes competitive advantages that exist when targeting work from local clients. Because local marketing is sometimes overlooked, I wanted to put together this list of suggestions for doing more work in your own backyard.

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3 SEO Tools Worthy of Your Time

In recent weeks I’ve come across three SEO tools that I’ve found to be very useful. Here is a look at each of these (free) tools.

Rank Checker

Aaron Wall of SEO Book recently released a powerful new Firefox add-on called Rank Checker. If you’re working on moving your site up in the SERPs, you’ll obviously want to know where you stand and to be actively tracking your progress.

As a Firefox add-on this tool is both free and very convenient to use. With Rank Checker you can input the URL that you want to track and a list of keywords that you are targeting (or just researching). You’ll then be able to choose which search engines to check (including all of the international versions of Google). The tool will then go out and get the data and bring it back to you in one convenient place.

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