A List Apart

Menu

Topic: Business

  • Structuring a New Collaborative Culture

    by Rosie Manning · Issue 397 ·

    Collaboration is crucial in creative ventures, yet building a culture that allows it to flourish can be tricky—particularly in traditional, hierarchically minded organizations. But with a little tweaking, any space has the potential to become a hotbed of connected thinking. As Rosie Manning learned recently, true collaboration thrives in an environment built on trust, openness, and flexibility.

  • Lessons Learned by Being the Client

    by Rachel Andrew ·

    Great ongoing business relationships are good for both sides. But often developers aren’t in tune with their client’s day-to-day business needs and where their work fits in. And clients’ focus on immediate practicalities can make the developer’s work stressful and unsatisfying. Well, what better way to learn about the needs of the other than by becoming the other?

  • Prototyping Your Workflow

    by Mark Llobrera · Issue 396 ·

    Atomic design. HTML wireframes. Style tiles. We’re all trying to adapt our processes, deliverables, and techniques to meet the challenges of the fast-moving, multi-device web. But replacing your workflow in one fell swoop is probably impossible—and who’s to say someone else’s guidelines will work for your team, anyway? Learn how Mark Llobrera’s team let go of the idea of the perfect workflow, and embraced a more iterative approach to process change instead.

  • Living up to Your (Business) Ideals

    by Geoff DiMasi · Issue 396 ·

    We all want to do work that matches our values—that lets us live up to our ideals for the world. But we also want to keep the lights on, make payroll, and maybe even grow. How can we design our agencies, studios, or freelance businesses to do both? Geoff DiMasi says the answer is in establishing a vision for your work, and directly tying that vision to the way you evaluate prospective clients and projects—and he’s here to help you get started.

  • My Life with Email

    by Matt Griffin ·

    Does your inbox constantly beg for attention? Do you suffer from always-on inbox anxiety? Email can easily take over your life—especially if you’re running a business. If that’s happening, it’s time to get serious about controlling the firehose of asynchronous communication.

  • Me and My Big Fat Ego

    by Laura Kalbag ·

    In a design project, there are usually areas where the client sees room for improvement—and that’s hard to take if your self-esteem is bound up with your work. You need confidence to present your work, but be sure to dial back the ego if it stands in the way of a successful client relationship.

  • People Skills for Web Workers

    by Jonathan Kahn · Issue 392 ·

    The web touches everything an organization does—marketing to customer service, product development to branding, internal communications to recruitment. This is the era of cross-platform digital services, fast networks, and mobile devices. Sounds like the ideal time to be a person who makes websites. So why do we feel frustrated so often? Why do we experience burnout or depression? What makes it difficult to do work that has meaning, that satisfies us? Two words: people skills. Frequent ALA author Jonathan Kahn explains why they matter, and how improving our people skills will give us tools to facilitate collaboration, creating opportunities to improve our work, our organizations, and maybe even our world.

  • Delivery Logistics

    by Laura Kalbag ·

    A client isn't necessarily wrong to specify a PSD as the design deliverable they expect, but part of the design process is making sure we’re communicating with them in the clearest way possible—which could include helping them reexamine their assumptions. Client specs could be based on outdated or secondhand experience.

  • Making Time for Side Projects

    by Rachel Andrew ·

    What’s holding you back from finishing that side project? It’s valuable, but how will you ever find time for it? The secret is…drumroll…real goals and deadlines, and a realistic plan on how to fit it into the open spaces in your schedule. Time to get it on your to-do list and feel the motivation kick in.

  • Your Side Project as Insurance Policy

    by Rachel Andrew ·

    You’re never too young and healthy to make sure you can keep income coming in if sudden misfortune strikes. Often our livelihood depends on our physical abilities—such as typing code. Having a product as a side project can offer security if your daily work is disrupted by illness or injury.

  • The Silent Subcontractor

    by Laura Kalbag ·

    Subcontracting for an agency can sometimes leave a freelance designer in the shadows, unable to talk directly with the client during the project, and unable to show their own work in their portfolio later.

  • Let’s Do It! What Are We Doing?

    by Matt Griffin ·

    When you’re asked to give a quote on a project, you face a dilemma. Ballpark it and hope for the best, or spend unpaid time working up a proposal that may not lead to work after all? There’s a third way that’s better for you and the client.

  • Never Heard of It

    by Lyza Danger Gardner ·

    We’re keen to appear up on all things dev. We work hard to stay informed, but sometimes we have to admit we didn’t see that tweet or don’t know about that new framework. Well, so what?

  • Open for Business

    by Laura Kalbag ·

    The web is a record of all you share (and over-share). So why would you risk looking less than perfect right where potential clients will be getting to know you? Because it’s also the best way to show them how honest, hardworking, and reliable you are—and helps you connect with people who can fill in gaps in your knowledge and sympathize with your ups and downs. So how do you find the right level of openness that can actually help your business?

  • Mastering Digital Project Momentum

    by Perry Hewitt · Issue 384 ·

    Digital projects begin in high spirits and tip quickly into miscommunication and crisis. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Extend your early kickoff meeting harmony throughout the life of your projects. By understanding your client’s organizational drivers and key players before the sticky note sessions even begin, you can establish the momentum needed to keep the extended team focused on goals. And by managing stakeholder communications throughout the job, you can avoid land mines, save time and effort in the long run, and deliver a project that satisfies stakeholders, agency, and users alike.

  • Pricing Underpins Everything You Do

    by Rachel Andrew ·

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing—I can now see that many of the difficulties we experienced as a service business could have been avoided with a different pricing model. Yet what was ultimately one of our biggest mistakes gave us experiences we could draw on when deciding on a pricing model for our product.

  • The Merry Stormtrooper

    by Nishant Kothary ·

    “I work at Microsoft,” I said. “Oh? Ha,” she said. Knife. Twist. It was over.

  • Getting to Flow

    by Breandán Knowlton · Issue 380 ·

    When design and client cultures truly come together, magical and memorable projects emerge. These magic projects aren’t random, though—they happen when you reach a state of flow. The beautiful part is, you can get both yourself and your client into a flow state more often by doing three things: enabling immediate feedback, balancing capability and challenge, and setting clear goals with visible progress. Breandán Knowlton shows you how.

  • How Do You Go on Vacation?

    by Rachel Andrew ·

    The idea that everyone should get time off away from their business, perhaps even completely disconnected from the internet, is a pervasive one.

  • Following Through with Post-Launch Strategy

    by Aaron Mentele · Issue 379 ·

    Design studios have traditionally worked on a “launch and dash” model: we study a client’s business problem; address it in design, UX, and content strategy; inject templates into a CMS; take the money, and run. But while we’ve spent years refining our web and UX practices, we’ve never paid much attention to what happens months after we deliver a site. If we truly want to help the client whose conversions are going flat, it’s time to embrace post-launch strategy—and stop thinking of it as a bundle of shameful SEO tricks that are disconnected from our work. Aaron Mentele shares how his small boutique studio hired a digital strategist, and the benefits that have accrued to the studio as well as its clients.

Topics