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  1. #1
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    Questions from a web design student

    (I apologize if this is not the right place for a topic like this--staff, please move it to wherever you feel is appropriate if necessary.)


    Anyway, I am studying web design and interactive media in school and, for an assignment, I need to put a few questions to someone (or multiple someones ) currently working in my intended field. If any of you have the time to answer my questions, I would really appreciate it (the sooner the better, if you can swing it).


    1. How difficult would you say it is to stay on top of changes in the industry—both changes to technical specifications, such as (X)HTML and CSS recommendations, and changes in web design trends, like the Web 2.0 craze?

    2. Aside from obvious things like providing high-quality designs and fair prices, what would you say are the best ways to keep customers coming back?

    3. If a web design student intended to become a freelance designer, would you say that it is easier to start working freelance immediately or find a job with a design firm first and then move on later?

    4. Do you have any advice you would give to someone that is entering the field of web design?


    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,
    Achillobator
    Last edited by Achillobator; Dec 9, 2008 at 20:30.

  2. #2
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    All my opinion, of course
    Quote Originally Posted by Achillobator View Post
    1. How difficult would you say it is to stay on top of changes in the industry—both changes to technical specifications, such as (X)HTML and CSS recommendations, and changes in web design trends, like the Web 2.0 craze?
    Not very, imo. Just get an RSS reader that you feel comfortable using (even google reader) and subscribe to loads of feeds

    2. Aside from obvious things like providing high-quality designs and fair prices, what would you say are the best ways to keep customers coming back?
    There's many articles out there about this. Keep in contact with them (send them christmas cards!) and basically be friendly with them, that way they're gonna remember you

    4. Do you have any advice you would give to someone that is entering the field of web design?
    Read. Read lots, read often. And play around with new techniques, have a couple of personal projects on the go (even if they never see the light of day)

    Hope this is of help

  3. #3
    Design Your Site Team bronze trophy Erik J's Avatar
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    Hi Achillobator, welcome to SitePoint.

    3. If a web design student intended to become a freelance designer, would you say that it is easier to start working freelance immediately or find a job with a design firm first and then move on later?
    Try find a job at a firm, the trade experience makes you learn more and grow faster and may give you a jump start later.
    Happy ADD/ADHD with Asperger's

  4. #4
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    1. How difficult would you say it is to stay on top of changes in the industry—both changes to technical specifications, such as (X)HTML and CSS recommendations, and changes in web design trends, like the Web 2.0 craze?
    It is not that difficult. It depends on what types of sites you are designing. A lot of Web 2.0 is buzz. The most important piece are web video integration, forums, blogs, RSS feeds, and CSS code. These things do not change dramatically very quickly. If you use Web 2.0 tools like Wordpress for blogs, the software can practically update itself with new features.

    2. Aside from obvious things like providing high-quality designs and fair prices, what would you say are the best ways to keep customers coming back?
    Marketing knowledge. Designing a pretty site might not add to a customer's bottom line. Tell them how they can profit off their new design and make it happen. Become knowledgable about PPC marketing, conversion points, and site analytics.

    3. If a web design student intended to become a freelance designer, would you say that it is easier to start working freelance immediately or find a job with a design firm first and then move on later?
    The proof is in the pudding. Design a bunch of sites for free if you have to. Any good firm will want to see live examples of your work. Your resume is not nearly as important as your product.

    4. Do you have any advice you would give to someone that is entering the field of web design?
    Increase your knowledge of internet marketing. It is easier to make a sale to a new client when you can speak about how the site will grow their business.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks, everyone. These answers really helped a lot. I appreciate you taking your time to help me out.

  6. #6
    Django Jedi neron-fx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Achillobator View Post
    (I apologize if this is not the right place for a topic like this--staff, please move it to wherever you feel is appropriate if necessary.)


    Anyway, I am studying web design and interactive media in school and, for an assignment, I need to put a few questions to someone (or multiple someones ) currently working in my intended field. If any of you have the time to answer my questions, I would really appreciate it (the sooner the better, if you can swing it).


    1. How difficult would you say it is to stay on top of changes in the industry—both changes to technical specifications, such as (X)HTML and CSS recommendations, and changes in web design trends, like the Web 2.0 craze?

    2. Aside from obvious things like providing high-quality designs and fair prices, what would you say are the best ways to keep customers coming back?

    3. If a web design student intended to become a freelance designer, would you say that it is easier to start working freelance immediately or find a job with a design firm first and then move on later?

    4. Do you have any advice you would give to someone that is entering the field of web design?


    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,
    Achillobator
    Hi Achillobator

    1.) As said previously, its not that hard. Key is to practice regulary, read lots subscribe to a web design magazine if thats more your bag and try to stay up to date with advancements in the industry. New technology? you should have at least heard of it

    2.) Honesty, fairness, good work ethics and enthusiasm seem to go down well with my clients.

    3.) Personally I have worked at two companies for a year a piece and currently still in full time employment. I work heavy amounts of freelance on the side though. I think the experience you gain from working in a professional agency is incredibly valuable and you learn so much stuff that you would never normally learn. For that reason alone I suggest at least one full time job before going full time freelance. I will be carrying on as I have been for the next couple of years to really gain some experience before I go full time solo and start my own company with a friend.

    4.) Practice, practice, practice!! Play around! Experiment, feed your enthusiasm and interest with plenty of books and magazines. Read tutorials, Write tutorials, speak with fellow professionals on a regular basis. Do what you enjoy and above all enjoy it!
    Last edited by neron-fx; Dec 17, 2008 at 11:27.
    Neron-Fx
    Everytime a user opens Internet Explorer, a web developer dies...
    http://www.savethedevelopers.org/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Achillobator View Post
    1. How difficult would you say it is to stay on top of changes in the industry—both changes to technical specifications, such as (X)HTML and CSS recommendations, and changes in web design trends, like the Web 2.0 craze?
    I wouldn't say that keeping on top of CSS or XHTML is hard. The new specifications haven been drafts for quite a while and they don't look that they will finished anytime soon.
    It is quite hard to keep up with new trends though. That is, technologies that have been around for a quite long time, now received a complete different set of names according to new uses of them. A good example is JavaScript (AJAX, Flex, etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by Achillobator View Post
    2. Aside from obvious things like providing high-quality designs and fair prices, what would you say are the best ways to keep customers coming back?
    Fair treatment and honest, good advice (obviously, with a pinch of diplomacy )
    Sales is all about how you treat people. Having a quality product helps, but it is not necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Achillobator View Post
    3. If a web design student intended to become a freelance designer, would you say that it is easier to start working freelance immediately or find a job with a design firm first and then move on later?
    It is always easier to see how others face the problems you will have. Therefore, I would say that starting in a company it is a better option. Now, if your goal is to become a freelancer, you need to make sure that you learn as much as you can about everything (sales and marketing, account keeping, public relations, coaching and motivation)

    4. Do you have any advice you would give to someone that is entering the field of web design?
    If this is what you like, stick with it.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Member unclebills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Achillobator View Post
    (I apologize if this is not the right place for a topic like this--staff, please move it to wherever you feel is appropriate if necessary.)


    Anyway, I am studying web design and interactive media in school and, for an assignment, I need to put a few questions to someone (or multiple someones ) currently working in my intended field. If any of you have the time to answer my questions, I would really appreciate it (the sooner the better, if you can swing it).


    1. How difficult would you say it is to stay on top of changes in the industry—both changes to technical specifications, such as (X)HTML and CSS recommendations, and changes in web design trends, like the Web 2.0 craze?

    2. Aside from obvious things like providing high-quality designs and fair prices, what would you say are the best ways to keep customers coming back?

    3. If a web design student intended to become a freelance designer, would you say that it is easier to start working freelance immediately or find a job with a design firm first and then move on later?

    4. Do you have any advice you would give to someone that is entering the field of web design?


    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,
    Achillobator
    1) Not hard to stay on top of it, hard thing for me is finding time to read about new stuff since I am so busy. A few websites/feeds and you will bet set.

    2) Good communication is always a key, something I have been trying to improve on myself.

    3) I am not sure really, I started at freelance myself, I guess it really depends on if you can find a decent job at a firm or not, I would have loved to start at a firm, but starting at freelance might be easier.

    4) Since you said you’re a student I take it your in college or possibly high school. Look for a public speaking or business speaking or communication course/class and take it. Often times people are very skilled at design and coding but lack good communication skills and this defiantly puts a limit to how well they can do. Most people can write a good email, but if your starting out you need to be able to meet with clients and be good at communication.

    Read up on all the current techniques and standards. Even if I don’t know a lot about a particular one I try to know enough such as its uses, limits, and general idea of how it works so if a client asks me I can give them an informed response.

    Don’t have any work to do? No clients lined up? Learn something new.

    Hope that helps and welcome to sitepoint )

  9. #9
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    1. As already discussed not very difficult at all.

    2. Always give the customer more than what they asked for.

    3. It may take some time to get a job so start freelancing while you're looking. I portfolio can help you land that first job. However, if you're happy with the way things are going as a freeelancer you can consider giving up the looking for a job approach.

    4. Work hard, always return cutomers phone calls and return emails as soon as you can. You'll be surprised at how many people don't do this.


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