Freelancing: How to be more a more efficient web designer

Many web designers pressure themselves or get very overwhelm when they do not have a project completed on time. We all have been under pressure at some point in our lifetime whether from not meeting a deadline to finishing up on personal projects. Well you get the point! In this article I will discuss ways to help you become a more efficient web designer.

Bookmarks:

bookmarksAs a Web designer we are always looking for inspirations, icons, backgrounds, textures etc online. When it comes to such things as listed before then it is very important that you keep those items organized. You might say that you’re already organize by having those items bookmarked but are they organize by group or just saved into your favorites? I organize all of my favorite sites by group and when the time comes to start a new project I then look back at my bookmark group and go to a site that best suites me. Saving websites to your bookmark and organizing your bookmarks is very time efficient because you’re not spending 1-2 hours searching for the right item. If you’re one of those unorganized designers then I recommend you start adding sites to your bookmark.

Frameworks:

Frameworks are very time efficient when it comes to starting a new project. Since this area is so broad I am going to break down all the important frameworks you can use to save time on your next project.

Photoshop Document(PSD)

psdAlmost every website is design in photoshop before actually being turned into a live site. Many designers just get to work and other designer like me like to do mockups before actual designing is begun. To save yourself more time when creating a mockup or design in photoshop then you might like to design multiple layout frameworks. Multiple Layout Frameworks? By multiple layout frameworks I mean create many frameworks that best suites you. For example I have a photoshop folder just for mockup layout’s. Inside that folder are 2 column PSD’s, 3 column PSD’s, and etc. Having PSD frameworks are very good because when you design a website you are most likely going to use your most common settings. So for example I design most of my websites at 960px. So I would create mutiple PSD layouts with the width of 960px. If you use this PSD method then it will save yourself a great amount of time.

Html/Css/Javascript

Every website is created using some form of html/css. As a web designer we often slice our PSD then get ready for coding. Coding may be one of the most intense part of a web designer’s day. When actually coding a website many designers most of the time start out the same every time. By every time I mean that you’re constantly creating 2 column websites or etc. If you aware that you’re doing the exact same thing as before then why not create a framework for your html files. Creating and html framework will save you a ton of time considering most of your presets and basic codes are all ready to go. If you are wondering what to create
then I will explain below.

What to create:

  • Site folder
  • Javascript folder
  • IE folder
  • Images folder
  • HTML File
  • CSS File

Site folder – Contains all website files
Javascript folder – Contains Javascript files such as Jquery, Mootools, etc.
IE folder – Contains IE only stylesheets
Image folder – Contains images for website
HTML file – Basic HTML code
CSS file – Basic CSS markup and reset

Creating and setting up a HTML framework takes a bit of time but is very worth it in my opinion. There are some pretty cool frameworks out there that you can use. Check out this post via Noupe. Gives you a list of popular HTML, CSS, and Javascript Frameworks.

Keeping up with latest trend:

Keeping up with latest trend is very important if you would like to make a name for yourself or you work. By keeping up with latest trend I do not mean copy some else design or work. What I am trying to say is if everyone is creating wordpress themes because they see the potential in that market then why not start creating wordpress themes. Or if everyone is using table-less CSS layouts then why not use table-less css layouts. trendsIf you’re one of those designers that says “I like to be different” I do understand where you’re coming from. It’s great being different from everybody else and if you have great unique designs then people will know you different from everybody else. Just because you create a wordpress theme or a table-less layout doesn’t mean they all will look the same. Keeping up with the latest trends will save you a ton of time from trying to learn something months or years later.

Invoice systems:

fresh booksInvoice systems are very good when you’re a freelancer or own a business. If you take your profession seriously and often find yourself getting work left and right then I recommend using an invoice system to keep track of payments and income. Yes you could used a spreadsheet if you have the time(free) but sometimes its better to invest in something that will later help you out in the long run. Also when the time comes around for you to file taxes then you will be ready since all of your work and payments are saved into an online invoice system. This will save you a big headache. Check out Freshbooks to learn more about invoice system.

Messenger, Email, Skype

Always being available or being available most of the time is very important when you are a web designer. Often I’m outside when I have no work to do but I always keep in contact with any potential clients I may have. As a web designer I recommend you always keep some form of contact up and available for clients to contact you. Whether it’s skype, phone call, email, aim or etc you are able to talk to your client.contact Many cell phones today have the ability to go on instant messenger chat, check email, and of course make phone calls. Often I am outside hanging with friends and most clients write me via email. I usually stay out but respond to their email via cell phone or give them a call if that was requested. If you are available most of the time this will help out your business or freelance career and will also help you build a strong relationship with that client.

Conclusion

There are probably hundreds of steps to helping you become a more efficient web designer. In the article above I’ve listed the main ones that I’ve struggle with over the last 4 years of doing web design. Many of us web designers face problems like not having a project ready or can’t find inspiration etc. I think if you follow steps and tips giving in this article you will become a more efficient designer. It might take a while to get going but once you’re going and moving you will be hard to stop. So what are you doing to becoming a more efficient web designer?

Joe Granados the author

Joe Granados is the owner of WebDevTuts. He is also a web designer & developer who loves to design and develop websites. If you're looking for him you can find him via @webdevtuts

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