Laura Kalbag is a designer working on Ind.ie. She was freelance for five years and still holds client work dear. She can be found via her personal site, Twitter, and out on long walks with her big fluffy dog.
Incorporating accessibility from the beginning of a web design project is easier, more effective, and less expensive than making accessibility fixes after the fact. Yet most of us too often get stuck doing the latter. Fear not! ALA’s exclusive excerpt from Laura Kalbag’s Accessibility for Everyone is here to help. You’ll learn how to make the case for accessibility to reluctant coworkers, bosses, or clients. How to build your team, scope the project, and even budget the job.
The number of predictions that algorithms can make about us from even minimal data is shocking. Although we’re offered privacy settings that let us control who of our friends sees what, all our information and behavior tends to be fair game for behind-the-scenes tracking. We simply don’t know everything that’s being done with our data currently, and what companies might be able—and willing—to do with it in the future. Laura Kalbag believes it’s time to locate the exits.
Businesses aren't all faceless juggernauts. Some are just one or two people. Yet when we interact with them through reviews or social media, we fall into the notion that there's no real individual in the other side whose feelings can be hurt. Laura Kalbag asks us to be sure to criticize the work and not the person.
The most dreaded of all design feedback is the peremptory, “I don’t like it.” Rather than slinking back to the drawing board, it’s important to get clarity on what the client is reacting to. Guiding this conversation can turn a show-stopper into a mutual win.
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.
In the design world, asking about one’s “inspiration” is often code for “where do you pinch your ideas from?” But the act of copying needn’t be wreathed in euphemisms: just like in art class, we learn by copying the work of the masters. The trick is using the experience to learn and then making the technique or pattern your own.
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.
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.
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?
In the web community, it often seems like client work is what people do when they need money to fund the projects they really care about. I might be considered an oddball for not aspiring to work in a hip startup or create a product out of a side project. I love working in client services.