Archive: Jun 2013

  1. 9 Things You Should Not Do in a Design Proposal Presentation

    Leave a Comment 4 min read

    Every now and then designers get the opportunity to pitch for a major contract. Often a business will have an idea for a project in mind along with a budget and ask several designers or design firms to come up with pitches for the contract. A lot of designers tend not to go down this route (as it’s pretty much working for free, with no guarantee of work) but for design agencies the rewards justify the upfront work and it has become a standard way to do business. In this article, we will discuss 9 things you, as a proposal presenter should not do.

    1. Have No Clear Goal

    In a design proposal, it’s a given that the goal is to make the cleint believe in the design you are selling. The idea must be clear as must be the call to action. The structure of the presentation must be streamlined with relevant bullet points that give emphases on the main ideas.

    2. Writing without Reviewing

    Any notes that are submitted for presentation must be carefully reviewed. Note that you will be facing critics, some fresh from business courses and degrees, who will highlight errors in spelling, grammar, and other wrong facts stated in your proposal. If you are writing statistics, make sure that you had a relevant and up to date research from a reputable source. Minor mistakes can mean a loss of trust in your proposal altogether.

    3. Be Too General

    There’s a bunch of motherhood statements you can include in the intro of your presentation to capture the attention of your audience. But these should stop when you are speaking about the meat of your proposal. Show them instances and possibilities and let them imagine these concrete scenarios related to the specific product or service.

    4. Answering Incompletely

    During question and answer portion in the presentation, let a lack of knowledge let you down. As a presenter, you should have a more extensive knowledge than most people about your offering. You should learn about the industry you will be designing for, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business and the trends. A business proposal always consists of these details and it would be totally embarrassing if you miss these important points.

    5. No Financial Estimates

    As much as you should be knowledgeable on the current setting of the market and competitors, you should also give your audience a solid estimate of cost. Break this down as much as possible so that the clients can see exactly where their money is going and how they might begin to calculate their ROI.

    6. Too Technical Details

    A business proposal does not need to have too technical details that may only bore the participants. Some clients who are really adept at specific technical aspects may be the only ones who will be interested at them. For starters, a high-level overview of the business case should be enough. Leave the PHP details and kerning out.

    7. Unrealistic Assumptions

    In truth, you can never know if your design will succeed because you are only in the proposal phase. However, as a presenter you should be confident and at the same time humble about your assumptions. Be realistic when it comes to your design and projected expectations. Do not promise anything you cannot deliver.

    8. Mentioning Risks

    Any good design has risks attached to it, and could potentionally offend a corner of the market. In a design presentation, you should mention these risks but don’t forget to show ways on how to go about mitigating these as well. Otherwise, you could make your audience back away from the proposal, especially if they are big risks to pursue.

    9. No Road Map

    The design proposal presentation is not complete without a list of some long or short-term plans. These will be the foundation of any business as they will lead the direction of the design at every stage. There must be milestones set and targets for you to meet to measure its success.

    Conclusion

    Presenting a design proposal requires hard work and you can’t go easy without thinking the plans through. You should gain familiarity on the profile of your audiences to protect interests. Do your research, get their feedback and win their buy-in.

    Photo credit to Michael Kappel

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  2. 13 Simple Tips for Novice Web Designers

    Leave a Comment 3 min read

    A professionally designed and developed website can really help a business stand out from the crowd, so as a web designer you need to know which methods are the best to follow and which ones are best avoided. For that purpose, a web designer should keep themselves equipped with the latest standards in web design. Here are a few tips to help the new web designers understand what’s best for their designing career.

    1. Loading speed is of utmost importance for any website as this dictates how quickly a visitor can actually view your content. Slower websites aren’t great for visitors, so try to enhance the website speed as much as possible.

    2. Avoid loud colours on your website. The text should be in a colour that is a suitable contrast from your main background colour. Take a look at other websites to get an idea of the colours used for the text and background.

    3. Whilst interactivity in a website is a good thing – make sure that it doesn’t get in the way of the website user. Make sure only the essential elements of a contact form need to be filled in order to submit it, and that things like Newsletter pop ups don’t ask you to sign up time after time. Interactive elements like this should occur as the result of user interaction, not to get in the way of it.

    4. Cross browser testing is a must before making any website live. Use various browsers to check the compatibility and proper display of your pages with them.

    5. Backgrounds should be given due consideration while designing a website. GIFs for the background really aren’t a good choice to go for.

    6. Make use of Photoshop, and other designing software where appropriate. Otherwise, you may have to suffer at the whims of CSS and it might end up taking more time to create intricate elements for the website.

    7. Avoid using a lot of JavaScript. The more it is used the more it would take time for a website to load onto the screens of users.

    8. Always get feedback from the site visitors in order to enhance the look and feel of a website. Give the site visitors reasons to visit your site again and again.

    9. Start designing the basic web page wireframe template and then move towards the complete website.

    10. Keep all of the file sizes small in order to make the website easy to load onto the screens of the site users. The reason is that not all the visitors have speedy net connection (think of mobile users too!), so to appeal to maximum number of visitors; a site should be easy and quick to load.

    11. Acquire reliable hosting services instead of taking it in your own hands. Put maximum efforts in making the design stunning and then go for partnering with a respected hosting company.

    12. Write an appealing About Us page for the target visitors so that they know they are at the right place. Tell them who you are and what your business is all about.

    13. Start learning about the specific components of web designing (CSS, PHP, JavaScript) by reading some books on the related topic. You can buy them or get some from a library. Online books are also available to help you out in learning some best tips about web designing.

    It’s not tough to distinguish a good design from a bad design. The main point is that a web designer needs to stay on top of their learning and keep up to date with any new programs or technologies. You may do what you do very well, but your clients will always expect the most up to date techniques used in their new website.

    Photo Credit to Jayel Aheram

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