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Design

I'm a newbie with my first freelancing job. Anybody want to help me out?

Ok so the client has asked me to make his website look more professional. Here is the clients website: http://www.americanbond.net/ Here is the website that he is looking at for inspiration: http://www.abrahambernsteinandcohen.com/

Ok so I'm pretty excited about starting this but I'm not sure where to start. The main thing that he is look professional like this one: http://www.abrahambernsteinandcohen.com/

Any suggestions where to start?

Jesus Mendoza
Jesus Mendoza
23,289 Points

That's all the content that they gave you?

Ken Alger
Ken Alger
Treehouse Teacher

Ira;

Contact me outside the forum venue if you would like some additional thoughts. View my TH profile and you can find a multitude of ways of contacting me.

Thanks,
Ken

3 Answers

I would start by diagnosing why your client needs a website. (What is the problem to be solved here?)

Work with your client to identify very specific success metrics. (How will you know when you've solved the problem?)

Here's a problem-solving framework known as the 5-Whys that can help you with this. Good luck :)

Dane Parchment
MOD
Dane Parchment
Treehouse Moderator 11,075 Points

So I take it you are a designer or are you developing the code for the front-end?

If it is the former, then to be honest, the design will be entirely up to you! However, here are a few key pointers that I think you can use.

  1. Find out about the audience of the website, it can help determine how your design flows.
  2. Figure out a color scheme and stick with it, this should be discussed between the client and yourself.
  3. If they do not already have a copy writer figure out what the main navigational links will be so that you can determine the pages that need to be designed.
  4. With HTML5/CSS3/JQuery on the rise people are expecting sites that are interactive, so keeping interactivity in mind with your design is a great plus.
  5. Also design a smaller site that will fit on the displays of mobile devices, the web is a very diverse place and can be viewed from a plethora of different devices so make sure that your design will fit or at the very least look nice on many different viewport sizes.
  6. Accessibility is also big, make sure people with disabilities can flow through the site in a relatively easy way.

Hopefully that was enough if you need any more help let me know!

"If it is the former, then to be honest, the design will be entirely up to you!"

This is crazy. The designers job is primarily to solve problems, regardless of the particular domain the designer operates in. A designer β‰  a digital artist. If you do this, you might end up with a pretty portfolio piece but you'll be doing your client a disservice.

Dane Parchment
Dane Parchment
Treehouse Moderator 11,075 Points

Um... I am sorry. I don't particularly think that is crazy though. I mean yeah the job of a designer is to technically solve a problem, but the design will be entirely up to him if he is the designer, that's generally why clients hire designers.

I am a software engineer but I have friends in design, so from what they have explained, they generally get a specification letting them know font sizes, color schemes, etc. but when it comes to the layout and design of the site is that not generally up to the designer?

A designer is not a digital artist, I don't know where I made that comparison? A designers solves communication problems using graphics as a medium while digital artists are just that, artists that employ technology as their toolset.

If I am wrong let me know! :D

"I mean yeah the job of a designer is to technically solve a problem..."

Right...

"...but the design will be entirely up to him if he is the designer"

This is a non-sequitur: it does not follow your premise.

"...that's generally why clients hire designers."

No. That's generally why clients hire illustrators, sculptors and other artists.

"I am a software engineer but I have friends in design, so from what they have explained, they generally get a specification letting them know font sizes, color schemes, etc...."

These are known as constraints and β€”as long they are rooted in realityβ€” they are a necessary part of narrowing down the problem space (read: narrowing down the set of all possible solutions in order to determine the optimal solution).

"but when it comes to the layout and design of the site is that not generally up to the designer?"

Well if the designer is hired by the client, then, of course, the site design is "up to them." But if the designer is interested in actually doing their job β€” as opposed to arbitrarily applying layouts and color schemes and such β€” they will focus on solving the problem at hand. To that end, they will have a reason for each design decision they make and that reason will be based on real data... from real users and other stakeholders.

Dane Parchment
Dane Parchment
Treehouse Moderator 11,075 Points

Sorry Mikis I am just confused about what we are debating. I mean, the site design will be up to him, he can and should use ux principles in his design, but at the end of the day, the way the site is laid out, the graphics that are used and designed in photoshop, the way the colors are displayed on the site, and how typography flows will be entirely up to him, am I wrong? That's all I was trying to say.

"This is a non-sequitur: it does not follow your premise." I don't see how their is a contradiction in my logic. The job of a web designer is to come up with a design for a website that accomplishes all of ux problems that can occur on the website, no? So while a designer may have to follow certain guidelines to keep a consistent and working ux, the task of laying out the parts to create the whole is entirely up to him.

"No. That's generally why clients hire illustrators, sculptors and other artists." Um..I think you are missing what I am saying, I am not saying that graphics, images, or logo need to be created by him, that is what you would hire a graphic artist for. I am saying that the client will hire a designer if they themselves do not know how to solve the problems that the design may call for. You don't hire an illustrator to design a website, you would probably hire an illustrator to create the logo for one though.

I see what you are saying but I fail to see what we are arguing about. I think you are sticking on the fact that I said that the design is entirely up to the designer. Which while I still think that is true, I understand that you are saying that real-world data provided by customers and the like will determine what the designer does. At least that's what I think you are saying. However, I believe that the data doesn't tell a designer exactly what to design but instead gives them a foundation from which they can then create a design on their own. I hope you understand what I am trying to say.

Ira Salem, what features does your client want? Is this just design or does your client want credit card payment options and contact forms, request for documents? The only thing I would advise you is make sure you know JS and PHP for the backend of that site. If its just a static site no worries, but if not, the backend of that site requires a lot of work.

Well the client hasn't gotten back to me. I guess he doesn't really know what he wants. I'm still trying to get in touch with him.

Ira Salem, have a conversation with this guy, find out what he wants, what features he wants, and do an honest evaluation of what you can provide him. If he wants you to build a similar site there are things like PCI standards that you need to know PCI Standards regardless of the PHP code you are going to use. check out this stackoverflow question. So in short find out what he wants, ask yourself if you can do them, and go from there there. Don't be shy, but don't bite off more than you can chew.

Jacob Mishkin Thanks for the advice. Definitely don't want to end up with a bad rating.

Ira Salem Yeah, of course. No one wants a bad rating. Like I said before, have your client define what his needs are and for you know what you can provide for him. If it doesn't match find something that does. In my opinion it's better to hold off on a project that you can't do rather than do one and mess it up, and possibly have legal issues. Good Luck!