I recently read an article in a popular design magazine. It was a discussion of information architecture and how it relates to building websites. Information architecture, in a nutshell, is the organizing and labeling of websites to support usability. On a website, you are presented with options (for example, links or buttons), you make choices, and then you are presented with what you were seeking. In so doing, you're completing a series of steps that were all laid out by a designer.
I recently received a response back from a proposal we had out. The client said the proposal was great, the price was just right, but they went with another firm because they, "felt that the portfolio of work of the company we finally chose was closer to our current needs". So basically, they did not see exactly what they wanted in our portfolio. As part of our on-going series on "client education" I'd like to take a closer look at this line of thinking and reasons why making it the number one deciding factor on choosing a designer might not be your best bet.
To many companies and individuals seeking design services the attraction and benefits of crowdsourcing (outsourcing a task to a larger group of people) seem like a win-win situation. On the surface, it appears that you don't have to worry about researching designers and contacting them on your own. You can get a large variety of designs to choose from for just a fraction of the cost of hiring a single designer or company. And on many crowdsource sites it seems very, "no strings attached" in that if you don't see something you like, you can simply walk away or keep asking for more designs.
Recently we had a client contact us concerned that her domain name might be expiring, but also confused as she had just renewed her web hosting (and her domain name was with the same hosting company). Along with the message she sent us was a very intimidating "notice" that she had received in her email. She wanted to just, "check with us" to make sure. I reassured her that she did the right thing in NOT just automatically thinking this was a legitimate email (and bill) from a company she's already doing business with.
"It is our responsibility as designers to make sure our clients understand the basic principals of what we do for them during a project. This gives them a level of comfort and understanding about their project that will allow them to answer questions later."
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In our modern times of “dot coms” and companies that come and go, it's often easy to overlook businesses who have a long track record and have yet to go belly up in the uncertain economy.
While a lot goes into the success of a company, let alone one that's been around for over a hundred years, there are some specific examples we, as small business owners, can learn from each one of them.