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Issue № 343

Discover the latest, hottest responsive image techniques—and why they're not good enough any more. Then learn to charge for your work like the pro you are.

Pricing Strategy for Creatives

by Jason Blumer · 40 Comments

Strategic pricing helps your brand and helps you to make more money. Issuing a price is like handing out a business card—it’s a great branding tool, but be careful about what it says to your market. Beginning relationships with customers at a high price makes the statement: “we’re good at what we do and we know it.” Fighting with a competitor over a low price says “I’m uncertain about my abilities, so I’ll take what I can get.” Failing to use a considered pricing policy will leave you treading water in a sea of design mediocrity, allowing you to just stay afloat while you sell commodities. Jason Blumer explains how to become strategic about your pricing—including three things you can do immediately to kick-start your journey toward strategic pricing.

Responsive Images: How they Almost Worked and What We Need

by Mat Marquis · 77 Comments

With a mobile-first responsive design approach, if any part of the process breaks down, your user can still receive a representative image and avoid an unnecessarily large request on a device that may have limited bandwidth. But with several newer browsers implementing an "image prefetching" feature that allows images to be fetched before parsing the document's body, some of the web's brightest developers are abandoning responsive images in favor of user agent detection, at least as a temporary solution. For us standardistas, UA detection leaves a bad taste in the mouth. More importantly, as the number and kinds of devices continue to grow, UA detection will quickly become untenable—just as browser detection did back in the bad old days before web standards. What's really needed, argues Mat Marquis, is a new markup element that works the way the HTML5 video element works. Sound crazy? So crazy it just might work.

More from A List Apart

Columnists

Rian van der Merwe on A View from a Different Valley

The Distance to Here

The people who determine product strategy move through a world of analysts, media, division leads, shareholders, stakeholders, monetization, and marketability. They seldom get a chance to come back to the corner where users and designers mingle. Rian van der Merwe suspects that increasing the communication distance between the decision makers and the product’s builders and users leads to a loss of perspective—and the results are products with marketable features that no one really needs.

From the Blog

On Our Radar: Faux-Naïve

On our radar these days: Google rebrands. A web animation expert refuses to speak at your conference if it doesn’t have a code of conduct. Preload hints can help you load your web fonts faster. A new site launches that hopes to bridge the gender gap in communication design. Your weekend reading awaits!

On Our Radar: Pretty Advanced Machine Learning

Between bots and blogging, newsrooms are getting into Slack in some very cool ways (take some inspiration and apply for a Knight-Mozilla Fellowship!). Plus more recommended reading: revisiting Cameron’s World; the joy of generalists; the finer points of faving; and one really excellent gif of cats.