Category Archives: Food for thought

Bill Murray: Saying “Yes” Can Imprison You

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In an interview with Esquire’s Scott Raab, award-winning actor Robert Downey Jr. once recalled a time when his team was trying to contact (another) award-winning actor Bill Murray for a potential role in Iron Man, but no one could get in touch with him. In today’s age of expected accessibility, this was unusual.

Raab brought up Murray’s intentional inaccessibility in an interview with him:

SR: A lot of folks worry that if they aren’t available or don’t say yes, they’ll stop getting asked.

BM: If you keep saying yes, they’ll stop asking you, too. That’s a much more likely event. I think we’re all sort of imprisoned by — or at least bound to — the choices we make, and I think everyone in the acting business wants to make the right choices. You want to say no at the right time and you want to say yes more sparingly. I came out of the old Second City in Chicago. Chicago actors are more hard-nosed. They’re tough on themselves and their fellow actors. They’re self-demanding. Saying no was very important. Integrity is probably too grand a word, but if you’re not the voice of Mr. Kool-Aid, then you’re still free. You’re not roped in.

Saying, “Yes,” does not necessarily guarantee that you’ll constantly get more work. Murray understands the power of saying no.

 

source: 99u

10 Quick Productivity Tips for the Freelancer

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Staying productive is one of the biggest challenges I face as a freelancer. WIth the web at your fingertips it is often easy to get sidetracked, distracted, or consumed by other work that isn’t as pressing as the projects at hand. It is important to stay focused and productive during the day. So for this post, I put together 10 quick productivity tips for freelancers that I developed as I gained experience.

1. Combat Daily Stress – Learn to combat daily stress through exercise, breaks, and other activities to clear your mind. This will help you stay focused during the hours you need to be working hard on your freelance business.

2. Plan It Out – Planning leads to organization and a less stressful business. Plan out your day, week, month, and stick with it. This will help you stay organized and on task while you follow it.

3. Develop Relationships – If you’ve read any of my previous articles about freelance you will know that I am a huge fan and believer in the power of networking. Networkinghelps grow your business network, and helps you make friends in the industry, find new clients, and many other great things. Take time to develop relationships with other designers, developers, and creatives it will pay off I promise.

4. Keep It Simple – Another big motto of UltraLinx is the minimalistic lifestyle. We loveminimal architectureminimal design gear, and an all around minimal life because it has helped us so much with our own work. Keep your online life simple. Try to keep your desk and workspace clean. Work on simplifying your tasks in an effort to finish them quicker and more efficiently.

5. Manage Your Time – Dedicate time for fun and time for work. Space your day out in a manner that keeps you creative and motivated to get work done. Never overwork with the idea that staying an extra few hours will help. Sure at times it is ok to finish a last minute project, but don’t make it a habit. It leads to poor work and more stress on yourself.

6. Learn to Say No – One of my biggest problems in the past was overloading my schedule and saying yes to every freelance opportunity that came to me. Learn to turn down certain projects that are too time consuming and less beneficial to you. It is ok to say no at times, so long as you have plenty of other work to compensate for this.

7. Tackle the Dreaded Tasks First – Got something eating away at you? Finish it first and free up your day for other work. There is no use staying worried or thinking about that project all day and waiting to do it later on, just get through it and move on to the less pressing projects.

8. Avoid Email – Avoiding email has helped me get so much more work done. Dedicate time to check your email later in the day so it doesn’t dictate your productivity for that day. Stay focused on your work, and check the emails after so that you don’t get distracted from your significant projects.

9. Cut Out Distractions – Kill those time wasters. Whether it be social media, texting, watching tv, or whatever that is getting in your way of work, try and cut those out. Unless you work in a social media type job of course :) . However; if you don’t try to avoid it when other work needs doing. Like everything else on this list, dedicate time for it so you don’t kill your productivity.

10. Stay Fresh – Avoid burnout by staying fresh and keeping your stress level low. A lot of freelancers have said that working less, but more efficiently has led to more quality work and even higher pay because of it. Keep your day simple and take enough rest so that you can work hard when you need to.

source: The Ultralinx

Azúl

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A small group of cruise-ship revellers find themselves alone on a tropic island. Forced inland, their exploration reveals the mystery that lies at it heart…

Graduation movie from Supinfocom Arles 2012.

A short movie by

Rémy BUSSON – remybusson.com/
Francis CANITROT – franciscanitrot.blogspot.fr/
Aurélien DUHAYON – aurel.the.portfolio.over-blog.com/
Sébastien IGLESIAS – k035.over-blog.com/
Maxence MARTIN – wurizen.blogspot.fr/
Paùl MONGE

Top 100 Design & Inspiration Blogs: Go Media & Friends Favorites

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Read these Blogs

Google Reader has retired, but we here at Go Media believe RSS is far from dead. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 100 of our favorite blogs to follow, however it is you may choose to do so. And even better, we had a little help from our friends.

Designer Adam Garcia is the owner of The Pressure, a creative studio based in Portland, Oregon.Owner of The Pressure, a creative studio based in Portland, Oregon.

 Adam Garcia’s Favorite Blogs

Today and Tomorrow:  Advertising, art, design, fashion, music
BLDGBlog: Los Angeles-based writer Geoff Manaugh provides architectural news and conjecture
The New Graphic: Graphic design goodness by Cina Associates
Banquet Hall Tumblr: Good stuff

James White is a visual artist, designer and speaker living in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Visual artist, designer and speaker living in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

 James White’s Favorite Blogs

Abduzeedo: Great people, great content
Jason Eisener’s Tumblr: Rad inspiration stuff

Jen Adrion and Omar Noory are the designers These Are Things. They love maps!Designers These Are Things. They love maps! See them at WMC this year!

Jen Adrion’s Picks

The Art of Non-Conformity: Chris Guillebeau’s blog pairs business insights with details from his quest to visit all 192 countries
Mark’s Daily Apple: I try to stay updated about health and fitness issues to counteract all of the inevitable chair-sitting that comes with this profession!

Omar Noory’s Picks

I follow a lot of Tumblrs –
mostly illustrators and funny comics including:
Filipe Andrade | Jordie Bellaire  |  Owen Davey | Mcbess (Matthieu Bessudo) |  Kali Ciesemier |  Babs Tarr | Kevin Wada |  Seo Kim | Nathan Bulmer

I’m one of three partners here at Go Media and founder of Weapons of Mass Creation Fest.One of three partners at Go Media & founder of Weapons of Mass Creation Fest.

Jeff Finley’s Picks

Sidebar: The 5 best design links, every day
Think Traffic:  Build a thriving and profitable audience for your site
Medium A better place to read and write things that matter
James Clear:  Entrepreneur, weightlifter, and travel photographer
Seth Godin: Best selling author
Nathan Barry: iPhone and software designer
ISO50: The blog of Scott Hansen
Adventures in Design: Graphic design gossip and artistic growing pains through the eyes of two poster designers
Execute Ventures: Inspiring product designers
Mule Radio: Follow this podcast
HowStuffWorks:  Explains thousands of topics
The Industry:  Brings a new voice to tech media
This American Life:  The most popular podcast in the country
Ffffound!: Find, bookmark and share your favorite images

Margot Harrington is graphic designer, blogger, and sometimes teacher. She founded her design studio Pitch Design Union in the fall of 2008 and has been captivated by all forms of making and doing ever since. Graphic designer, blogger, and sometimes teacher. She founded her design studio Pitch Design Union in the fall of 2008.

Margot Harrington’s Picks

Kottke.org: One of the longest continuously running blogs on the web
Ann Friedman: Blog of magazine journalist and friend of Go Media
Artsy: A new way to discover art you’ll love, featuring work from leading galleries, museums, and private collections around the world.
Design Work Life: A part of Seamless Creative, a New York City-based design studio

Wilson Revehl is one of three partners at Go Media. His title is Vice President and is Go Media's web department's lead developer on custom solutions.VP and one of three partners at Go Media.

Wilson Revehl’s Picks

Slate Magazine:  Online magazine of news, politics, and culture
Inc.:  Inc Magazine’s advice, tools, services
Salon.com:  Award-winning online news and entertainment Web site
VentureBeat:  News about tech, money and innovation
ReadWrite:  Web Technology news, reviews and analysis, etc.
Adweek:  Magazine and website that covers media news, including print, technology, advertising, branding and television
New York Times:  Breaking news, multimedia, reviews & opinion
Fool.com: Investing information and an enjoyably useful site
Harvard Business Review Magazine:  Business management magazine, blogs, case studies, articles, books, and webinars
MIT Technology Review:  Magazine about innovation

Troy DeShano is an artist and illustrator from Traverse City, Michigan known for launching the Old and New project after WMC Fest 2011.Artist and illustrator from Traverse City, Michigan known for launching the Old and New project after WMC Fest 2011

Troy DeShano’s Picks

Peter Rollins: Writer, lecturer, storyteller, public speaker
Lisa Congdon: Artist, Illustrator and WMC speaker
Jared Erickson: Inspiration from this Atlanta Designer
The Fox is Black: A blog focused on design and inspiration
Mollie Greene: Writer and Paper Artist

Andrea Pippins is a designer, illustrator and teacher.  Come see her at WMC Fest this year.Designer, illustrator and teacher. Come see her at WMC Fest this year.

Andrea Pippin’s Picks

Miss Moss: Fashion, Photography, Art, Illustration, Design
Oh Joy!: Oh Joy blog covers inspiration and design by Joy Deangdeelert Cho
Park and Cube: Fashion blog by graphic designer Shini Park

Sean Dockery is an illustrator & designer raised in Cleveland, OH and currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA.An illustrator & designer raised in Cleveland, OH and currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA. See him at WMC Fest this year!

Sean Dockery’s Picks

Austin Kleon’s Tumblr: Author of Steal Like An Artist
Conceptart.org: Sharpen your drawing skills
Matthew Woodson: A role model for his amazing line work and beautiful color palettes
Artist Mike Mitchell: Artist Mike Mitchell’s innovative paintings
Ted Talks: Ideas worth spreading, a great way to get through the work day and stay motivated

Kern and Burn is an online and print publication by Jessica Karle Heltzel and Tim Hoover that curates discussions, interviews and essays. Kern and Burn is an online and print publication by Jessica Karle Heltzel and Tim Hoover that curates discussions, interviews and essays.  See them at WMC Fest this year!

Kern and Burn’s Picks

99U: Our go to source for quick reads on productivity, relevant resources and tools
The Great Discontent: Beautifully presented and written interviews with creatives and artists
A Well Traveled Woman: Gorgeously curated lifestyle and travel blog
Its Nice That: A great place to discover unique work in art and design
Fast Co Design: Features centered on the intersection of business, innovation, and design
LifeHacker:  Easy reading for tips, tricks, and best-ofs for the web/tech crowd

Freelance graphic designer specializing in the music apparel industry and WMC 2013 speakerFreelance graphic designer specializing in the music apparel industry and WMC 2013 speaker

Brandon Rike’s Picks

Draplin Design Co: Adventures in design with Aaron Draplin
Mr Cup Blog: An inspiration blog and a shop for graphic designers who need to improve their life and creativity
Remodelista: The authoritative sourcebook for interior design and home remodeling

Jacqui Oakley is an illustrator; she specializes in hand-lettering and portraiture .Illustrator who specializes in hand-lettering and portraiture. Hear her speak at WMC Fest this year.

Jacqui Oakley’s Picks

50Watts: Features book covers, ephemera, weird kids’ books, features on forgotten writers, artists’ books, contemporary drawing
Dangerous Minds: A compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture
Public Domain Review: Showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online
Open Culture: Brings together high-quality cultural & educational media
UbuWeb: A completely independent resource website dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts

Graphic Designer from Wichita Falls, TXGraphic Designer from Wichita Falls, TX

Simeon Hendrix’s Picks

Blog Spoon Graphics:  Tons of great inspiration and tutorials into hand lettering, photoshop techniques, illustrator techniques, etc.
Field Notes: Awesome memo book company that releases limited edition custom unique memo books every season of the year.  It’s full of awesome old school vintage inspiration
Aaron Draplin/Draplin Design Company: Brilliant graphic artist, touring speaker, outspoken, amazing

Front-end developer and designer here at Go Media.Front-end developer and designer here at Go Media

Bryan Garvin’s Picks

CSS Tricks: A Couple of best practices for tablet-friendly design
Webdesigner Depot: Web design resources for web designers
Android Central: News, reviews, help & tips, buyer guides, forums and accessories
Smashing Magazine: Online magazine for professional web designers and developers

Project Manager at Go MediaProject Manager at Go Media

Sarah Traxler’s Picks

Good: Ideas and tools for progress
Design Observer: Features news and critical essays on design, urbanism, social innovation and popular culture

Designer at Go MediaDesigner at Go Media

Aaron Robert’s Picks

Collate: Design Inspiration
Creative Review:  Advertising, design and visual culture
Minimalissimo:  An online editorial platform that celebrates minimalism in design
AisleOne: Graphic Design, Typography and Grid Systems

Arsenal Manager at Go Media and co-founder, partner and designer at Studio Ace of SpadeArsenal Manager at Go Media and co-founder, partner and designer at Studio Ace of Spade

Simon Birky Hartmann’s Picks

But does it float?: Painting, photography, drawing, typography, design
Rob Sheridan’s Tumblr: Creative director for Nine Inch Nails
Signalnoise’s Inspiration Tumblr: Inspiration by our friend and amazing designer James White

Editor of the GoMediaZine & Community Manager at Go MediaEditor of the GoMediaZine & Community Manager at Go Media

Heather Sakai’s Picks

Swiss Miss: A design blog and studio run by Tina Roth Eisenberg
This Isn’t Happiness: Art, Photography, Design and Disappointment
You the Designer: The Graphic Design Lifestyle Blog
Web Design Tuts+: Tutorials, Articles, Tips, Etc.
Design Modo: Professional Design Framework for Designers and Developers
Codrops: Tutorials, Articles and Freebies
Grain Edit: Focused on classic design work from the 1950s-1970s

Currently interning at Go Media Currently interning at Go Media

Kyle Saxton’s Picks

Daily Drop Cap:
A project by designer & illustrator Jessica Hische
Awwwards: Website Awards that recognize the talent of the best developers, designers and web agencies in the world
Colour Lovers:
Community to share create and share colors, palettes and patterns
Beautiful Type:A blog dedicated to beautiful typography
Flat Studio: Design Inspiration

source: gomedia zine

Product strategy means saying no

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If you’re building a product, you have to be great at saying No. Not ‘maybe’ or ‘later’. The only word is No.

Building a great product isn’t about creating tonnes of tactically useful features which are tangentially related. It’s about delivering a cohesive product with well defined parameters.

As Apple’s latest advert points out, there are literally tens of thousands of permutations of your product based on every addition, both minor and major. Most of these variations will flop. Only a select few will properly serve the market.

SO MANY REASONS TO SAY YES

When your product gets traction, you’ll find yourself inundated with good ideas for features. These will come from your customers, your colleagues, and yourself. Because they’re good ideas, there’ll always be lots of reasons to say yes to them. Here’s 12 arguments in the style of Don Lindsay that are commonly used to sneak features into a product:

BUT THE DATA LOOKS GOOD

We’ve tried this feature with a small group and engagement is off the charts.” Often this approach suffers from selective data analysis. Products are complex systems. What appears to be an increase in engagement is really just pushing numbers around from place to place. Even if the data is solid, and the increase in engagement is good, you still have to question whether it fits within the purview of the product. Add Tetris to your product and you’ll probably see a boost in engagement, but does that mean your product is better?

BUT IT’LL ONLY TAKE A FEW MINUTES

The main problem with this argument is that the scope of work should never be a reason to include a feature in a product. Maybe it’s a reason to bump it up the roadmap, but that’s a roadmap decision, not a product one.

Lots of bad ideas can be built quickly. Don’t be seduced. There are no small changes. Also, even the tiniest additions add hidden complexity that isn’t accounted for in the “but it’s just 5 minutes” estimate.

BUT THIS CUSTOMER IS ABOUT TO QUIT

This is feature blackmail. No customer can be more important than a good product. The road to consultingware is signposted just this once for just this customer. It leads to the perfect product, for just one customer, provided you keep doing what they say. Delivering extra value to one customer comes at the cost of taking value away from many others.

BUT WE CAN JUST MAKE IT OPTIONAL

This leads to death by preferences. Making features optional hides the complexity from the default screens in the interface, but it still surfaces everywhere else. The visible cost of this is a messy interface with lots of conditional design and heaps of configuration. The hidden cost is that every optional feature weakens your product definition. You become “A Time Tracker that can also send invoices and, sorta, do payment reconciliation, but not reporting, yet, I think, I don’t know.

BUT MY COUSIN’S NEIGHBOUR SAID…

This is the “Appeal to the Anecdote”. It is rife in consumer products, or in a SaaS company that can’t decide what precise jobs they do. Extrapolating from a tiny sample is an easy way to by-pass years of experience, research, data, and behaviour to make a statement that sounds reasonable. Saying “My brother’s company use Google analytics, they all use advanced segments” is an easy way to make a case for advanced segments, bypassing the question of what your product actually does, whether your brother’s company are a good target customer, whether they actually use it or just say they do, and whether advanced segments are actually the right solution for what your customers are trying to do.

BUT WE’VE NOTHING ELSE PLANNED

The devil makes work for idle hands. The problem here is that someone sees one or more engineers sitting idle and immediately rushes through a new feature to “keep em busy“. Decisions are rushed and designs are cobbled together all in the name of avoiding idle time. This is a bad way to ‘improve’ a product.

Instead of adding to technical debt here, there’s an opportunity to pay some off. As anyone who’s worked in a kitchen knows: “If you’ve time to lean, you’ve time to clean.” Idle time is best used fixing bugs, cleaning up test suites, refactoring, etc. rather than derailing a product vision just to “keep the team productive”.

BUT WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE ALLOWED WORK ON WHATEVER WE WANT

This argument appeals to cultural pride. There are many big name companies that promise engineers they can build whatever they want and ship it. Usually this promise has one of two outcomes:

  • It’s a lie told to attract engineers. This gets noticed quickly and falls apart.You can’t fake culture.
  • It’s true, and the end result is a one-size-fits-none product full of half baked ideas.

There’s a difference between encouraging engineers to build things internally (a good thing) and letting people add features to a product bypassing product management(a bad thing).

BUT 713,000 PEOPLE WANT IT

Always beware when someone falls back to raw numbers to justify something. Any product with any amount of traction can make an emotive claim using numbers. E.g. “You could fill Dolores Park with people who have asked for Excel integration“. Such a claim forces you to take off your product design hat, and be one of the “people”. Are you really going to say no to all those faces?

You have to. Because the majority of your users will suffer otherwise. The question isn’t “Could we fill Dolores park with people who want this feature?”, it’s “Is this a valuable feature, within our purview, that all our customers will use?”

BUT OUR COMPETITORS ALREADY HAVE IT

That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It could be something they’re trying out. It could be a shit idea. It could be something they’re planning on killing. It’s a mistake to assume that your competitors are in any way smarter or more tactical than you. Obsessing about your competitor’s features relegates you to permanently deliver yesterday’s technology tomorrow.

BUT IF WE DON’T BUILD IT SOMEONE ELSE WILL

That doesn’t mean it should be in your product. If someone else builds it, do customers no longer need your product? Will they all switch over? Simply saying “someone else will” sounds good, but means nothing. I’ve caught myself saying it many a time. Often this is the logic used to expand a product because you’re not willing to admit your product stops somewhere. You’re afraid to draw the line.

Here’s an example: A typical date might involve a movie, dinner, and a lift home. If a cinema owner is constantly worried about what other businesses will build, and hungry to capture more value, they’ll put a restaurant into their cinema and start a cab company. They’ll then be shit at all three. Then restaurants start screening movies…

BUT THE BOSS REALLY WANTS IT

If the boss is also the product manager, and has the necessary time and insight to make smart holistic decisions, then this is fine. However, if someone is trying to earn brownie points by focusing on pet projects that their manager has a penchant for, this leads to trouble.

BUT THIS COULD BE ‘THE ONE’

This is a classic “Appeal to the Unknown”. Editing a product requires some hard decisions about what to build. You can speculate that any unbuilt featurecould transform your product. But speculation is all it is, nothing more. When you’re afraid to make hard decisions, you fall back on appealing to the unknown, and therefore building everything. You end up with a repository of features, not a product.

WHY IS ‘NO’ IMPORTANT?

The thing is, no one keeps crap ideas in their roadmap. Identifying and eliminating the bad ideas is the easy bit. Real product decisions aren’t easy. They require you to look at a proposal and say “This is a really great idea, I can see why our customers would like it. Well done. But we’re not going to build it.Instead, here’s what we’re doing.”.

Getting Your Clients To Go Content First

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The spotlight has been shining on content for quite some time now: content strategy, content audits, content first, content in context. As a studio manager working with clients on their content, and as a content creator myself, this emphasis is exciting. That’s not to say it’s a straightforward process though. Managing content development can be brutal at the best of times.

The first hurdle is always going to be getting clients to understand the importance of content, and why it’s best to a develop a clear plan for content before any design work is created. A lot of clients find this frustrating as they usually want to hop and skip straight to the shiny visuals, but as a manager of a small design agency, we’ve successfully made the transition to ‘content first’ and not only have our clients been on board, they have praised the process when the project has been completed and launched.

Selling content first

So how did we get our clients on board with this new process? Well, maybe I had it easy, and maybe it sounds too simple, but after a straightforward chat explaining the benefits of getting content first, they understood, they embraced this process, and they delivered.

If you need to have this chat with clients, then the benefits of this ‘content first’ approach can include:

  • Greater understanding of who visits your website and why
  • Better structure of information
  • Clear and consistent tone throughout
  • Targeted messaging
  • More effective and efficient content
  • Easier to keep project on time and on budget

It’s also worth explaining the potential pitfalls if you storm ahead with design work before any real content has been defined, these might include:

  • Trying to shoehorn content into an existing design
  • Having to change a design to suit the content
  • Having a 90% completed website that can’t go live due to missing content

These troubles of course lead to spiralling timescales and budgets, mention the latter, and a client will start to listen. This isn’t to say that you can’t design an effective solution without any content, especially if you have been through some sort of user research phase prior to doing anything, but there are likely to be more stumbling blocks and changes if you use placeholder content.

Empathy for the authors

One thing to be sympathetic of, depending on the client, is that the person who is supplying the content may have a different full time role, with content creation being thrown at them out of the blue.

In this case you could suggest bringing in a copywriter or content strategist, or perhaps you have someone in-house who can help (just make sure their time is charged for).

The key here is to set realistic milestones and to manage expectations, as well as to teach the client about producing the content they have been asked for. You have to empathise with the fact that they might not have any experience writing (not to mention writing for the web). Hosting writing workshops, working with the client to produce style guides, and using content templates can be a good way to smooth this process (and end up with better content).

The time needed to get the content will be determined by the number of people involved, and other client side commitments, whether they are starting from scratch or working with existing content. If any additional tasks needs to take place regarding content such as audits, training workshops, technical reviews or legal approval processes, then these should also be taken into account.

All of this information needs to be gathered at the beginning of a project so a project schedule can be determined. When things kick-off, it’s important that communication between both parties is clear and frequent. The client must let you know if they are going to miss a deadline and vice versa. The impact this will have on overall budget and schedule will then need to be agreed.

Keep the client in the process

Clients can often be scared for the finality of agreeing to produce the content first and then follow with the design. So you need to let them know that follow-up changes can be made (within reason!). Tweaks here and there are fine, and expected, and there may well be parts of their site that will need to be updated regularly. With this in mind, providing 50 words and then once design is all signed off, stating that you actually need 500 words, that’s not going to work (without the aforementioned budget implications).

Projects I have worked on in the above way have resulted in great feedback from the client. Having to create all the content at the start really got them thinking about what they wanted to say and who they wanted to say it too. This information was often a total revelation and they realised that there was content on their existing site that was totally irrelevant and similarly, realised that they had nothing on their current site about one of their key services, or audiences.

The closer you can work with the client on their content, the better your understanding of the user journeys and purpose of the content too. You may be able to fill in some gaps when it comes to the attention to detail such as button labels and calls to action but nobody knows your client’s business and audience better than they do.

Once you have the content and begin to design your solution, there should be fewer amends and iterations as every decision you make will be informed and everything you show the client will be in context, in a context they understand. It’s unlikely that you’ll get everything signed off first time, but working with actual content is likely to make the design and development stage of the project more efficient. This is important to tell the client because they can be put off by the fact that there may be several weeks between committing to the project and seeing any design work. Just keep reminding them that the latter stages of the project will move much quicker.

You did it!

The client worked hard on providing relevant and accurate content, you then used this from day one of the design, made a few tweaks along the way and launched a well considered and targeted website!

Job done?

Not quite. There should be regular intervals where the client or project team review the content. This might involve an auditing or timeline, or putting someone client-side in charge of updating content on schedule. What is right at the time of launch may not (and it’s very unlikely it will) be right several months later as the business, market, or customer segments have evolved. Changes that need to be made could be minor text amends or a shift in tone but reviewing content regularly will ensure the website remains relevant, and useful.

We all know that there are no two projects the same, so it is hard to apply one complete process to all, however, I’ve found that nearly all projects could adopt a content first approach, and strongly benefit from doing so.

Explain the benefits to your clients and the risks of storming ahead with design. Set clear milestones for both sides and keep communication channels open during the whole project duration and confirm an auditing and update workflow once the project is complete. As long as expectations are managed, any issues that arise should be able to be dealt with effectively, keeping the project on track.

source: Gather Content

Tips for Effectively Working from Home

By | Food for thought | No Comments

If you’re considering working from home, it’s important to find a healthy balance between getting your work done and having a healthy home life. Before you commit to anything, you might try out working from home for a short period of time to see if it’s the right environment for you. A lot of people can have a difficult time disconnecting from their work, even after the work day is over, which can cause them to work too much and over exert themselves. Other people have difficulties focusing when they work from home. In the end, it’s all about finding the balance between work life and home life.

You should take time to consider the effects of working from home before you fully commit to it, because you may not realize that there is a difficult balance of separating your work life from your home life. In addition, it can be difficult for remote workers to feel connected to the office environment simply because you’re not in the same place as your co-workers. This means it will take extra effort on your part and on the part of your co-workers and employer to stay connected and in constant communication. There are so many benefits to working from home, but it’s also important to make sure it’s the right and healthy choice for you. We’ve compiled some tips to help you find the perfect balance between your personal life and your work life, and hope these help you effectively and happily work from home.

Define Your Workspace

No-Fly-Zone

One of the first things you should try to do if you’re going to work from home is set aside a space to work where you can completely focus on work. It’s nice to have a little area that is specifically set aside to get things done that you need to. At the end of the day you can step away from this space, with the comfort of knowing all your work papers and documents are safely in one place.

Partitioning off a part of your home is a great way to help you find a balance between work and home. Setting aside a space just for your work, means that the rest of your home is dedicated to your home and personal life.

Stay Organized

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Sometimes it’s difficult to separate work life from home life, but it can become increasingly more difficult when you’re working from home. The key is to stay organized. For different people, this means different things, but it’s all about finding what is going to work for you.

Check out these ways to stay organized:

  • Keep an Up-To-Date Calendar: Use a paper calendar or a digital calendar to keep track of upcoming tasks and events. Whatever system works for you, use it so that you don’t forget what you have to do or get done.
  • Use a To Do List: Create a daily, weekly, or hourly to-do list to help you keep track of the variety of things you need to get done.
  • Everything has a place: In your defined workspace, make sure that you keep all of your different papers and projects neat and organized, don’t complicate your space by incorporating household bills or projects…

Understand Your Expectations

Before you can work from home and have it be effective for both you and your company, there should be expectations established on both sides. The employer has to fully trust the employee and lay their expectations out on the table clearly. Are there work hours? Are you expected to be online and available at certain times? Do you simply have to get the job done as best you can, no matter what your hours? From the worker perspective, you have to trust yourself that you can get the job done from home. If you’re easily distracted and this could impact the performance of your work, why tempt fate?

Take Breaks

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When you work at the office, you’re bound to take breaks. Whether it’s going to get coffee, or taking a few minutes to chat with your co-workers, you won’t always be going 24/7. When you work from home, it’s important to remember to take time for yourself to breathe and step away from from your work. You still need to eat meals and give your brain some time to pause and relax for a little while. Scheduling reminders to take a break may seem a little silly, but hey, whatever works!

Further reading: How to Stay Fresh When You Work from Home

Define Work Hours

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Try to set certain hours that you’re going to work when you work from home so that you continue to maintain some sort of a schedule. Tell yourself you’re going to work from 8-5 and take breaks in between. When 8am comes around you should be ready to work with 100% effort, and then when it’s 5pm it should be time to stop and take care of yourself and go out and have a little bit of fun. Maintaining balance is important so that you don’t burn out and end up driving yourself mad.

Don’t Isolate Yourself, But Also Set Boundaries

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It’s super important to stay connected with your co-workers, or if you work by yourself, to try and stay connected with the outside world in some way. You can try going to a co-working space, a coffee shop, or anywhere where you’re not always by yourself. If you want the ambiance of a coffee shop, but can’t leave your house, you might try something like Coffitivity to bring the coffee shop to you.

It’s also important to set boundaries with your friends and family. Make sure the people in your life know that you have a job and you have to get work done, even if you’re working from home.

If Possible, Go Into the Office

Sometimes it’s good to go in to the office and actually get people to see your face in real life. It will make a big impression and show a lot if you make that little bit of extra effort to be present and show your face to the company. Skype is great, but so are face-to-face meetings.

The Final Word: Working from home is a privilege, you just want to make sure that you don’t let your work life completely consume your home life. Be sure to take breaks, find the balance between working, and having a healthy personal life.

source: Creative Market