A List Apart

Menu

Topic: Business

When you are your own client, who are you going to make fun of at the bar? The designer as entrepreneur. In defense of client services. Accessibility and the law. Web 2.0 is a fresh-faced starlet on the intertwingled longtail to the disruptive experience of tomorrow. Cheaper over better: why web clients settle for less. It ain't easy getting green: why are freelancers the last to be paid? Revenue and other models.

  • The Coming Revolution in Email Design

    ·

    Email isn’t just evolving—it’s staging a coup. More and more designers are coming up with exciting new ways of bringing effects like animation and interactivity to the humble inbox. Crucially, for the first time, email client vendors like Microsoft and Google are listening to concerns voiced by email professionals. The web is leaking into the inbox, writes Jason Rodriguez. Don’t get left behind.

  • Help! We (Think We) Need to Hire a Content Strategist

    ·

    Managers beginning active searches for content specialists frequently have little understanding of what their companies need beyond a title, cautions Jennifer Bassett. Hiring managers at agencies, brands, and startups would do well to hire based on the type of work they want to focus on. And if they’re not sure what type of work that is, talking with a real live content strategist is an excellent place to start.

  • Once Upon a Time

    ·

    To communicate like a grown-up, take a lesson from your inner child. Anne Gibson argues that business interactions could benefit from fairy-tale constructions—start at the beginning, get to the point, and don’t forget to tie up loose ends.

  • It’s the People They Know

    ·

    Chance can play such a vital part in your career. You may be unexpectedly exposed to technology that becomes central to how you make a living. People you meet who seem to have nothing to do with your work, or who were potential clients or colleagues that didn’t pan out, can end up connecting you to someone who turns out to be central to the next phase of your career.

  • Looking for Love: Standing Out from the Crowd of Web Job Seekers

    ·

    You have a solid resume, but can’t seem to connect with the right job. Maybe it’s not you. Jeffrey Zeldman suggests reconsidering your career niche or refocusing your work persona. It could open fresh hiring tracks just waiting for the right candidate—you.

  • Balancing the Scale

    ·

    The culture of a business is closely tied to its size. A small crew with little overhead has flexibility in choosing clients. A big firm offers extensive resources and coworker interaction. Your startup’s character will change as it progresses through these levels too. Knowing what effects come into play during company growth can help you choose the work environment where you’re most comfortable and fulfilled, or give you the ability to control the growth of your own business so you can bring it in at a size that works best for you. In the final part of a four-part series on the money side of the web, Matt Griffin describes the ages and stages of company growth.

  • Singapore, a Hub for Designers?

    ·

    A city with dazzling diversity and a global outlook, Singapore has always been a genial entry point for first-time visitors to Asia. Now the city-state is shaping itself into a center where startups and creative thinking can thrive. Antoine Lefeuvre has traveled there several times. Here he shares his impressions and what he has heard from residents—native Singaporeans and expats—about the business climate transition.

  • Choosing a CMS Your Organization Will Love

    ·

    That never-ending search for the perfect CMS—maybe we’re using the wrong criteria. Too frequently, we approach CMS selection with cost or functionality as our bottom line, leading to solutions that look good, but struggle to adapt to the internal workflow. But finding a tool that matches organizational requirements means shifting focus. Artas Bartas presents three ways of approaching the CMS selection process with your team’s needs and processes top of mind.

  • If Ever I Should Leave You: Job Hunting For Web Designers and Developers

    ·

    At the start of your career, you’re excited to have any job—but at some point you wonder if there’s a better job out there for you. Is it youthful restlessness, or are you learning to recognize the warning signs of career stagnation? There’s no sure-fire way to tell—but if you’ve stopped growing or feeling any passion for the work, it’s probably time to let go. So how do you find a better job without making it worse with your current colleagues and in your bank account? Jeffrey Zeldman has some tried-and-true tips to make your transitions smoother.

  • Software Audits for the Tiny Business

    ·

    Routine software audits sound like just about the most boring thing in the world. But losing access to a DNS server, missing important alerts from a developer, or paying for a forgotten service are adventures nobody needs. Often, a contractor or an employee sets up an account or buys software for company use. When that person moves to another role, important license or login information can get lost in the shuffle. Rachel Andrew wants you to love the drab old software audit. It’s your best ally for preventing nasty surprises.

  • The Art of Creating Accurate Estimates

    ·

    If you make a living in client services, you know how daunting the estimating process can be. Somehow, you have to predict how much time and work will go into completing a client’s project before it even begins. Clients have to trust your estimates in order to commit funds to a project. You have to trust your estimates in order to commit to the next project on your schedule. Matt Griffin shares some tips to make estimating a bit more methodical and a bit less fraught.

  • Resetting Agency Culture

    ·

    When we prioritize billable hours over people, our work environments can take a turn for the tense. Some agencies try to combat low morale with foosball and fancy perks, but what really matters is investing in people: fostering a workplace that supports dialogue, collaboration, and professional development. From onboarding new hires to ongoing engagement, Justin Dauer shares some starting points for a healthy office dynamic and confident, happy employees.

  • On Being King of a Shrinking Castle

    ·

    Being your own boss is awesome. You’re the sovereign of your fate—and with that autonomy comes responsibility for making your business thrive. Your time management skills are more important than ever as you continue to get your to-dos checked off. The thing is… if you get an unexpected call from a friend, can you get away from that tyrannical boss of yours to do something unplanned? Are you able to schedule time with friends or family without feeling that you’re falling behind on work? If you can’t afford to take time to strengthen your connections with others, you’re at risk of being the monarch (and the serf) of an impoverished kingdom, indeed.

  • 80/20 Practitioners Make Better Communicators

    ·

    Approaches that are either too general or too specific can easily overwhelm practitioners—and derail budgets. Fresh from recent experiences with two large-scale redesigns, Katie Kovalcin suggests that flexibility and open communication can transform all team members into what she calls “80/20 practitioners,” creating a more effective balance of time and resources.

  • Looking Outside

    ·

    Partners in a small, close leadership team—such as in a family business—often know each other’s minds very well, and agree on most things. That’s great to keep things running smoothly (though sometimes there’s awkwardness when business disagreements intrude on home life). On the other hand, it can also lead to stagnation. Rachel Andrew is finding that an outsider’s perspective can help when partners can’t quite see eye to eye—or when they agree too much.

  • Stopping the Infighting About Digital Standards

    ·

    Organizations that struggle with their digital presence often do so because they haven’t established proper governance. But good governance is worth pursuing: clear policies and processes can answer questions, empower teams, and enable web strategies to shine. In this excerpt from Chapter 5 of Managing Chaos, Lisa Welchman explains the importance of digital standards—what they are, why they matter for governance, and how to start documenting them for your stakeholders.

  • The Love You Make

    ·

    What’s the best way to present your work on the web? It’s not just about your portfolio pieces—it’s also about cultivating your voice. Jeffrey Zeldman explains the importance of speaking and writing publicly as you build your online presence.

  • The Challenge for the Tiny Global Business

    ·

    Long ago, a company had to grow to a certain size before it could embark on international trade. With digital goods, that’s no longer so. Learning all the applicable laws and taxes can be daunting, but that’s what allows the small business owner to stay independent as an exporter.

  • The Ways We’ve Changed—and Stayed the Same

    ·

    A perusal of the article titles in the seasonal magazine 24 ways shows how the things we’ve needed to learn and keep up with have changed since 2005. Amid all this change, one thing that remains evergreen is the generosity of web people in sharing their knowledge.

  • Pricing the Web

    ·

    If you plan to bill your clients, you need a method for putting a price on what you do. The variables are always money, time, and scope of work, but the way they relate to each other can bring different client motivations to the foreground and fit different agency needs.