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Web Photos Pro Published

It’s today!

After a long wait, one of my favorite designs (and super client and friend) has finally published the new design at http://www.webphotospro.com. I loved creating this design, and even more loved working with Frank buy finasteride 1mg

Web Photos Pro is a software for bloggers of all kinds! Web Photos Pro creates thumbnails, resizes and compresses photos, builds web pages, and uploads it all with a click of the “Upload” button.

Check it out at http://www.webphotospro.com.

So this is what it is all about, eh.

The Blog.

Well, I have one now – suppose I better write some goodies in here every now and again. I expect I will mostly fill it with resources for web standards, and neat things I find. Better than bookmarks (since I have about three zillion of those).

As you can see with my new blog, I have also freshened up the site – not that I feel it was bad before (and clients tend to like it), but I dunno – just felt like a face lift. The old Zenful Creations is still accessible via that little purple dot down in the footer. I think I am going to do a few different styles – it is a good test for me and my ability to adhere to standards, while practicing my design skills.

Don’t mind the mess of style on the blog – I am working on that part now.

Next stop: CSS ZenGarden.

This is my next project — I have done a great deal of planning thus far, and think I am ready to delve in to a design for submission to Dave! Keep looking for that 🙂

Setting Your Price

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if my clients could weigh my imagination and creativity and pay me $12.99 per every pound! Then all I would have to do is to dump all that thought onto a scale and come up with what they owed me. No one would then question why I’m charging the way I am or give comments like “Oh that looks like it didn’t take much time at all… all you had to do was put this here and put that there.”

First off, if you run into a client that degrades your efforts or work, please do yourself a favor and refuse service to them completely. You’ll realize that you’re not losing a customer, but gaining a lifetime of relief from all the anguish and emotional abuse that you’ll most likely go through. I’m getting off course with this, but I really want young designers to be firm in regard to setting the initial tone and professional values of their work.

Always discuss your fees ahead of time and give yourself a good range in terms of estimates just in case the project turns out to be the project from hell. For example, if you decide to take on a project of designing a logo, tell your client initially that you will charge a conceptual fee as well as hourly rate for your work. Let them know that your conceptual work will cost $350 and that your hourly rate is $45 per hour. Then tell them that the maximum they are expected to pay for such a project(taking into account changes and revisions) is $850 (or whatever it comes out to). It would be a great idea to also let them know that if they keep their changes and revisions to a minimum, that amount will be much less. This method will prepare them for the worst case scenario and cover you just in case the client turns out to be one of those demented types that freaks out once you send them the invoice. And lastly, always ask your client for a 50% upfront deposit, assuring yourself of at least some money in case the client decides to bail.

Anyway, let’s get back to your pricing guidelines. I have worked in this industry for many years and have come up with some sort of pricing plan which I know works quite well. It takes into account your overhead, talent, experience and know-how and scrunches it into a nice hourly rate that everyone can understand. Of course if you work out of an office, you have the advantage of tacking on some extra cash just for the fact that you have a professional establishment as well as overhead.

a) Let’s start with a base of $10 per hour for a recent graduate.
b) For every year of experience, add $6 (up to 12 years).
c) If you work from an office, add $10 for small, $12 for medium and $15 for large.
d) If you have won any sort of awards or recognitions, add $5 (not per award, but for all).
e) If you have a Master’s degree or better, add another $10.

Based on this formula, my hourly rate for my 9 person company is as follows:

$10 (base)
$60 (10 years experience)
$12 (medium office)
$5 (for 6 awards)
$0 (sorry, no master’s degree here)

$87 / Hour (total)

I also want to mention that although these prices are fair, there are those who do not see the value of design. Unfortunately, everyone with a computer thinks they can design, and this sometimes includes the client himself. For instance, someone was in my office the other day talking about re-designing his company website as well a getting a new logo done. During the length of our discussion, he made mention to the fact that he has a computer at his office and he can buy PhotoShop for a rather fair price, making notion that he too could do the design work himself, but admitted that he has better things to do with his time!

I was tempted to say “Well what the heck are you doing here then?” but decided to hold my tongue until I got home. The truth of the matter is that although we know our prices are fair and that so many people out there are making more money designing professional sports team logos than the president of the United States makes in a year, we have to be able to bend a little to get the business. I’m not asking you to put up with abuse, I’m merely saying that for a client like this, which you know is from a reputable company that may need your services again in the future, you have to have some room for a discount.

In my case, I asked him if our price was what concerned him the most, and upon hearing “yes”, I quickly assured him that we can work out something to keep both parties happy. I told him I’ll give him my “friends and family rate” of $75 per hour. He was ecstatic and told me to fax him our working contract.

Be firm, be selective and bend a little bit when you can. It will not only make your life easier and more joyful, but it will also gain you the respect and business that you deserve.

credit to Kevin Javid & American Design Awards

The 10 (or so) Commandments of Web Design

SUNNYVALE, CA (REUTERS)  A recently located makeshift ‘instruction manual’, has been located under the backseat of Tim Berners-Lee’s car. The ‘manual’, a short treatise on web design principles, was scrawled on a series of old Denny’s napkins and has revealed the lost 10 Commandments of Web Design.

Commandment 1

Thou shalt be clear about what the heck thou art presenting to the user. Unless your user is the Amazing Kreskin.

Commandment 2: 

Thou shalt design the site so that it’s appropriate for your audience. Don’t use a dark Tomb-Raider theme if you’re an online shoe store or a financial service.

Commandment 3:

Thou shalt not use java applets unless Moses himself appears in a burning pile of copier paper in your office and insists that you should.

Commandment 4:

Thou shalt not force a user to wait for a megabyte or more of Flash file downloading as the first thing they experience at your site.

Commandment 5: 

Thou shalt make the more important parts of any given page layout more prominent than the less important parts of your page.

Look at the newspaper. The front page headline is the biggest. There’s a good-sized page 1 photo keeps the page from becoming a visual wasteland of black type. There are headlines above each story. There are subheads within some stories. The body copy is legible, but not too big or too small. The author bylines are small. There is a menu somewhere on the page telling you how to find movies, sports, etc. The page is organized in easy to understand columns. There’s a reason why every major newspaper in the world adheres to these basic design principles.

But don’t make your web designs look like newspapers. That’s not the point! If you don’t get the point yet, wash, rinse, and repeat the preceding paragraph.

Commandment 6: 

Thou shalt not use too many colors. Thou shalt attempt to learn something about color harmony.

Commandment 7: 

Thou shalt kern thy bitmapped type unless thou wantest to be known simply as “Shmendrick, the Village Design Idiot”

Commandment 8:

Thou shalt look at thy site on a variety of browsers. Just because you’re on a PC using IE 6 doesn’t mean your users are. You can’t accommodate every browser config for sure, but it’s horrifying how many site submissions we get that ONLY look good on a PC on IE 6.

Commandment 9:

Thou shalt make sure your images are clear, and free of those dreaded Mad-Cow disease causing jaggies. On somebody else’s site, jaggies are hilarious — but not on your site.

Commandment 10: 

Thou shalt not be accused of Flash-love. It’s habit forming and causes hairy palms and blindness. Everything in moderation grasshopper. Use Flash when it’s appropriate.

Commandment 11:

Thou shalt learn as much as possible about typography, layout, and color as soon as possible.

Commandment 12: 

Thou shalt achieve BALANCE in thine page layouts. Look at the elements on the page as if they all possess weight and gravity. The larger items possessing more weight than the smaller ones. Imagine a seesaw underneath all the page elements, supporting the entire page layout. The seesaw should seem as though it would balance itself due to the weight of the elements being evenly distributed. Not too much weight on either side so as to ‘tip’ the seesaw.

Commandment 13: 

Thou shalt proofread, proofread, proofread. Then do it again. 
Contributed by: CJackson www.junkology.org

Commandment 14: 

Thou shalt have clear and easy to use navigation which does not change with each new page.
Contributed by: Ely Cannon

Commandment 15: 

Thou shalt not use the HTML tag <BLINK>
contributed by: Mike Hagan

Commandment 16: 

Thou shalt not loop a sound over and over without a ‘Sound Off’ button. No matter how cool you think the sound loop is.
Contributed by: Anthony Keenan www.custombike.org

Commandment 17: 

Thou shalt not apply for web-design jobs after a single community college class on using FrontPage.

Commandment 18: 

Thou shalt not using Comic Sans as a header font unless thou wants to induce vomiting for someone that has ingested poison. (Ed. Note: This is my favorite Commandment!)

Commandment 19: 

Thou shalt not use horizontal rules that are rainbow animations unless you are a Hawaiian.

Commandment 20: 

Thou shalt not sneak in links to their sponsors as ways to increase click-throughs. We will hunt you down and kill you for this!

Commandment 21: 

Thou shalt realize that 42 fonts is not better than two on a page.

Commandments 17-21 contributed by: 
Josh Spivey www.jlswebsource.com

Commandment 22:

Thou shalt look up the word ‘consistency’ in Webster’s Dictionary before layout out all your site pages. The user should not be confused with a different page design every time they click to a new page.
Contributed by: Chris Irwin

Commandment 23:

Thou shalt use thy Spell Checker. 
Contributed by: Danna Griego www.pinkflamingodesign.com

Commandment 24:

Thou shalt see a doctor and get rid of it if thou sufferest from “Pop-Up Window Madness”. Pop-ups are not meant to be used as a way to get to the next page.
Contributed by: Rich Rodecker www.testa.com

Commandment 25: 

Thou shalt optimize thine images
contributed by: Ann Schwartz

Commandment 26:

Thou shalt not use the same Photodisc photos that everyone else uses. 
Contributed by: Mark Priestap

Commandment 27: 

Thou shalt attempt to design pages that look great on low-end or high-end systems. To achieve this is truly a sign of divinity.
Contributed by: Mark Kathmann www.kathmann.com

Commandment 28: 

Thou shalt not use frames unless there is a need.

credit to CoolHomepages.com