From time to time I get emails asking for advice about freelance matters. I hope that by publishing these inquiries and my response I can do a better service to my blog readers than just responding one email at a time. Plus, those of you who may have input on the matter that I didn’t think of can chime in with a comment!
I’d like to make this a regular part of the blog — so if there’s a question you have or a subject you’d like to get an opinion on, please contact me!
I am a web designer who is trying to get my freelance business built up. I really enjoy the creative/problem-solving part of design and sometimes I also really enjoy the coding part (it also feels creative at times to me!)
The problem is that most of the freelance work that comes to me is from designers who have already completed the website design and ONLY are looking for someone to code it for them. I take most of these jobs, because – it’s a paycheck — but I usually find myself getting really frustrated with the process when designers hand off website designs that use bad web design practices or aren’t put together with the Content Management System we are using in mind at all.
I feel bad saying that what they’ve designed sucks or that I ”can’t” do something or give them what they want. But this usually ends up in development taking WAY longer than it should and the end result being sub-par and not something I even want to include in my portfolio!
Have you ever had this problem? How do you handle it?
– Will Code for Food
I love web design. I love the whole process, really. Everything from client meetings about target audience and content to choosing HEX colors and Photoshop layouts to defining CSS classes. Every step of it generally makes me giddy. It’s the entire process as a whole that is very rewarding and after working through each step, your final result is something that you can really be proud of.
Of course, not all clients will be looking to hire you for that whole process – some may have completed their own information architecture and just want you to design the site and create a theme… they may have the full design and just need you to turn it into a functioning website. These projects aren’t as exciting to me as those that allow me and my client to create something together. There has been some “development only” jobs that I really regretted taking.
For a time I thought this was because I didn’t really love development, but then I realized it was the restrictive aspect of simply coding another persons design, especially in situations when those doing the design didn’t have a solid knowledge of code or the CMS being used. I’ve found that the best solution for this can be to add a collaboration stage into the process where the designer agrees to be open to layout modifications based on my knowledge of web design.
This added step will make development run smoother, quicker and your end product will be something you, the designer and your client will be much more pleased with! Don’t be afraid to bring this up to the designer you’re working with — they WANT to create the best work possible, so as long as you approach it from that angle (and don’t say ”your design sucks!”) they will be grateful to have your expertise at their disposal!
What’s your advice?
Am I missing something? Do you have experience with a similar situation and would like to share how you handled things? Leave a comment and tell us about it!