Web Design Nightmares

Now I have had my share of bad clients in this freelance world of web design. It comes with the territory. Which is why I would like to direct you attention to Jeffrey Zeldman’s humorus but OH SO TRUE!! post : 20 signs you don’t want that web design project. It’s a good guide to help you avoid potential freelance claymores. enjoy!

Useful Links About Using Twitter for Business

Updated : I have compiled a list of several sites that I feel have some good information for those thinking about using twitter for marketing your business.

My Creative Design Process

We as designers all have a design process. It’s the way we go about creating and building our projects no matter what they may be. So I thought I’d share mine. It’s a pdf of my design process that I share with clients. Now it’s a birds eye view of my process and does not drill down in to the gritty details of project management. It’s meant to be simple and straight forward. You can download it here.

Comparison: Importing an image using ActionScript 2 and 3

If you are going to develop flash based content using AS3, you should know it takes a bit more work to do simple things.  For example, say for inistance you want to load an image into a movie clip called “imgHold_mc” using ActionScript 2,  you could use the following code:

function loadImage() {
imgHold_mc.loadMovie(imgUrl);
}
loadImage();

-or-

var url:String = "imgUrl";
function loadImage(link:String){
imgHold.loadMovie(link);
}
loadImage(url);

If you wanted to do the same thing but using ActionScript 3, you would need to use the code bellow:

var imageLoader:Loader;
function loadImage(url:String):void {
imageLoader = new Loader();
imageLoader.load(new URLRequest(url));
imageLoader.contentLoaderInfo.addEventListener(Event.COMPLETE, imageLoaded);
}
loadImage(imgUrl);
function imageLoaded(e:Event):void {
imgHold_mc.addChild(imageLoader);
}

-or-

var imageLoader:Loader = new Loader();
imageLoader.load(new URLRequest(url));
imgHold_mc.addChild(imageLoader);

thanks Luis :)

Twitter for Business : Pros and Cons

I’m doing some research on using twitter as a marketing tool to present to some folks. I’ll post my findings after I have given the presentation but until then, here are some initial pros and cons for businesses thinking about using twitter.

Pros

  • Free!
  • Global reach
  • Quick communication with followers and public time line
  • Large user base and growing : Comscore shows page views growing from 10 to 20 million between February and March.
  • Ages 17 – 45 / early adopters and web savvy users
  • Free publicity – Can’t Beat That! Currently anyone with a computer/mobile and access to the internet can join and post what ever they want
  • Customizable. Certain features of the page can be made to look like your brand, product, and or company
  • Great for SEO! Crawled by search engines which puts more links out that lead to user to your site.

Cons

  • Uptime? Downtime?
  • Possibility of being blocked by users if you are viewed as a “spammer”
  • No moderator which means your messages will be public unless you block them, which defeats the purpose if you are trying to reach users in your demo who you are unaware of on the system. That also means the posts of anyone you follow out of courtesy will appear on your page.
  • Customer Service nightmare!! If users are customers, they may use twitter as a way to alert the company to service issues or complaints with your products and or services. And depending on the type of product/service you are marketing, laws will need to be followed when addressing complaints.

More pros and cons to come.

Follow me on Twitter.

Understand Your Target Audience

I am amazed when I come across a designer or a company for that matter that does not understand or know anything about their target audience. They make guesses about what the visitors to their sites are like but never really connect with them. I have found myself reminding the decision makers that they too are consumers of their own products. What would they like to see their website provide?

They will spend thousands of dollars to watch people in a controlled room during focus group sessions but does that really show what the target audience wants? Don’t get me wrong, I understand that focus groups have their usefulness however, I feel that as a designer, I get a better understanding about the user when I observe them in the market place. Watching for patterns and listening to customer requests and translating that into functionality on the web.

LiAnne Yu hit the nail on the head when she said…

“If you want to understand what motivates a guy to pick up skateboarding, you could bring him into a sterile laboratory and interrogate him… or you could spend a week in a skatepark observing him interacting with his friends, practicing new skills and having fun. Ethnography is observing people’s behavior in their own environments so you can get a holistic understanding of their world—one that you can intuit on a deeply personal level.”

— LiAnne Yu, cultural anthropologist

Art Review Stumble

Working on a design project it’s best to make sure all of the people involved are on the same page when it comes to the final review of t he artwork. I recently ran into a situation where 5 days after the creative was handed off and the project was about to go live, the VP of the department asked for changes. This pretty much caught me off guard because up to this point I was told that all approvals were in. So I let the client know that I would be able to make the change because I knew the change was not a deal breaker however by doing so, I opened myself up to a possible train wreck. Thank the Lord it didn’t go any further than the small creative change. So what did I learn from my little fire drill?

  1. Make sure that all responsible parties sign off on the creative. That way I have legs in the event I need to push back a bit when changes are being requested at the last minute.
  2. Review the changes and determine if the request is business critical. If not, let the client know that the project will move forward as is and the changes will be made and properly tested before going live.