22 Things Your Web Designer is Going to Ask You

Being Prepared with These Answers Will Streamline the Process

Developing a website requires a great deal of legwork before any designing or building actually starts to occur, both by the designer and by the client.

Web Design Venn Diagram

The designer needs to first ascertain three things:

1. What the client needs

2. What the client wants, and

3. What technology and
implementation that will be necessary to make the website functional and aesthetically pleasing.


Often these three things do not build a complete venn-diagram, so any potential inconsistencies in these areas will need to be addressed before any work begins in order to head them off before they turn into possible issues down the line.

For example, say you are building a website that sells toys for young children, but your favorite colors are black and grey and you want your website to be black and grey because of this...well, to make a long explanation extremely short: you have to cater to your audience. And in this case, you audience isn't actually children, but their parents...who are buying for their children. Common 'color wisdom' tells us to either go one of two routes: bright, primary colors or soft, subtle pastels (depending on demographic information, more on this later). For this audience, these schemes are tried-and-true, and will bring more visual success than the client's preferred color scheme. Sometimes there's what you want, and there's what works. It's certainly lovely when the two things intersect, but they will not always. Because of this, you must be willing to put your trust in your designer's experience and training in their various specialties.

So, below is the questionnaire I send to new clients in order to gauge what theirs needs are, what their vision is, and what will be necessary to facilitate all three in a fast, affordable, and friendly manner. Feel free to use this list in your own information-gathering as a designer.
Or, if you are looking to really wow any potential designers you are considering hiring, have this list already answered and send it to them along with your proposal...I promise they will love you for it!
And be certain to adjust is where/when necessary (as not all of these questions will always apply to all situations).

1. Who are you?
1a. What is your company/business name? What (if any) products or services do you offer?
1b. What is your unique selling proposition?
(ie: what makes you different from your competitors/peers?)

2. What is your objective/goal for this website?
Some possible examples: to generate income, communicate with clients, present information, as an artistic portfolio, to gather data, provide entertainment, etc
2.a If your goal is to generate income, what will the main vehicle for this be? (ie: selling physical products or downloadable content online, having people sign up for paid workshops, selling lessons, etc)

3. Do you already own a URL (web address) for your site, or will one need to be acquired (assuming it is available for purchase)?
If you do not have one, what would you like it to be? If you do already have one, from whom was it purchased, and do you have access to the admin console?

4. Have you already purchased a hosting (data storage) plan for this site, or will this need to be acquired?
If you do already have a hosting plan, from whom was it purchased, and do you have access to the admin console?

5. Who is your target audience/demographic?
This question is longer than it appears ;)

6. Are there websites by similar people/companies in your field that you like?
If so, what appeals to you most about them?

7.  Are there websites from similar people/companies in your field that you dislike?
If so, what do you dislike most about them?

8. When you visit other websites that cater to your field/demographic, what functionality do you wish these websites offered that they currently do not offer?

9. Do you have a logo or an already-existing branding suite? If you don't, do you already have a designer on board for this, or is this a service you would like me to provide for you?
If you do have a logo and branding materials, do you have access to the source files that can be shared with me?

10. What type of content do you want your website to present?
Do you own this content (i.e.: has it already been created just for you/your business)? Or will the content need to be purchased, or created from scratch (this includes, but is not limited to: photographs, articles/copy-writing, graphics, videos, audio files)?

11. Will the website need to be responsive (mobile phone/tablet friendly)?
50%-60% of all web browsing is now done on devices, so I always strongly urge people to say 'yes' to this question to prevent future scalability issues as this number increases.

12. Will the website need to be served in languages other than English?
If so, which languages? Do you have a translator for this, or will one need to be acquired for you? Additionally, will this website be primarily used in in the USA, or in other countries? (Digital laws vary from place to place)

13.  How often will the website need to be updated?
Ie: on a fixed schedule, such as once every 3 months, or in a more fluid/live manner as relevant things occur?
13a. Who will be updating it? You, me, both of us, or a third party?

14. Do you have social media profiles that you would like integrated into the website?
If so, how? ("follow me on Facebook", or "share this article on Twitter" etc)

15. About how many pages would you like your website to be?
What kind of pages are absolutely essential (about, contact, etc), and which pages would be nice but aren't necessary (make an appointment online, live chat, etc).
What type of pages would you like to avoid?

16. Is SEO important?
Would you like for your page to come up in a Google search when users enter in a certain phrase, or will this website only be given out to individuals on an as-needed/semi-private basis?

17. Will you need outside users (i.e.: customers/clients) to be able to login?
Are there areas of the website that will need to be password protected? If so, please explain.

18. Will you need to be able to process credit card payments on this website?
If so, do you already have a payment processor set up? If you do have a PP set up, who is it with? Do you have the login information for this? If you do not have one, would you need one to be acquired for you?

19. How do you plan on promoting/marketing your website?
Assuming that you do plan on doing so...again, some websites are semi-private and are not advertised.

20. Do you already have a curated email list of people who have consented to receive marketing materials from you?
Or, if not, will you be using the website to build that list? Is this a function that is relevant to your goals, or can it be omitted entirely?

21. Will you need this website to contain a blog? If so, who will create the content?
Will you allow users to share or comment on the blog posts?

22. What it the budget and deadline for this project?


And there you have it!
Yes, it IS a lot to chew on. But you'll be doing both you and your designer a favor by filling it out, or at the very least, giving it some thought and jotting down a few notes...things often tend to flesh themselves out with better clarity after just a few initial brainstorming sessions.


Jinnifer-Douglass-by-Jinnifer-Douglass-2-1.jpg

Jinnifer Douglass is a full-time freelance web designer, photographer, writer, graphic designer, and consultant. She lives in NYC where she enjoys making the internet, taking pictures of birds, and Hearthstone. She can be reached via email, Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram for project proposals and interesting conversation.


Why You Should Donate to the Girls in Tech #StartHerSuccess Fundraiser

Make a difference in the lives of bright tech-savvy young women all over the globe!

Today I received an email from Girls in Tech, which is an amazing non-profit organization that is " focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology. "

Their email was a request to support their new #StartHerSuccess campaign, a fundraiser that helps send young women to an intensive 3-day long entrepreneurial and start-up success boot-camp.

Needless to say, I instantly jumped on board (I was the very first donation!), by creating a pledge-goal page. Simply stated, everyone who signs up for a pledge page has a funding goal (mine is $500), and all of the pledges go towards the greater campaign.

From their website:
"Women entrepreneurs have the odds stacked against them from the start. On average, they receive less than half of the funding male founders receive. Girls in Tech wants to empower and enable women around the world to pursue their dreams with confidence. It all starts with arming them with the education they need to kick some butt in the startup world.

Girls in Tech’s Startup Success Factors Boot Camp is our most popular program. This three-day boot camp teaches new entrepreneurs the foundations of creating a successful business, from ideation to revenue strategies to product development and marketing. Upon graduating from the program, female participants report feeling more confident, empowered—and prepared—to launch their business and thrive in the cutthroat world of startups.

100% of every dollar donated to #StartHerSuccess will go to funding Girls in Tech’s Startup Success Factors Boot Camps. For just $100, you can pay for a woman to participate in the boot camp, setting her on the path to achieving her dreams. That woman may be in the U.S., she may be in Australia. She may be in Singapore, in Kuwait, in Tokyo, in Berlin. While each woman’s dreams may differ, what unites all of us is our drive and our grit to participate in the exciting startup tech ecosystem."

There are two ways you can help:

1. Create you own pledge-goal page and spread the word to have people donate to you campaign, or even easier:
2. Pledge to an already existing campaign (like mine, wink wink nudge nudge?).

So, be a peach and help me out with this amazing cause!


Jinnifer Douglass is a full-time freelance web designer, photographer, writer, graphic designer, and consultant. She lives in NYC where she enjoys making the internet, taking pictures of birds, and Hearthstone. She can be reached via email, Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram for project proposals and interesting conversation.


Selling Stock Photography

For Fun and Profit

I began my journey in selling stock photography in January of this year, and even though getting my submissions uploaded have been a bit on the back burner (eep!) with all of my other projects going on, I do make it a point to carve out time to curate my catalog, process and format the photos, and get them up.

I am currently only uploading to Adobe Stock (and my website obvs) at this time, but I plan to branch out into other sites in the future, as time permits. A lot of the literature on the subject recommends uploading thousands of photos and giving it about 2-3 months before anything sells.

Well, I have uploaded only about 6 photos so far, and though it has been about a month or two since those uploads, I am proud to say that I made my first sale this morning on Adobe!

Selling Stock photography online

The photo in question is actually a snapshot of my husband lounging around on vacation, and the focal point was his wedding band. I shot it with a borrowed Nikon D700 (as in the wake of having my equipment stolen, I am still saving up for an upgraded replacement...a Nikon D750).

<-- So, check it out!


If you are interested in also purchasing this lovely photo (or more!) for your blog, brochure, or other applications, you can do so here at on my website (where I will retain more of the profits), or on Adobe which is an industry-trusted source for quality content.


Jinnifer Douglass is a full-time freelance web designer, photographer, writer, graphic designer, and consultant. She lives in NYC where she enjoys making the internet, taking pictures of birds, and Hearthstone. She can be reached via email, Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram for project proposals and interesting conversation.


Producing a Kickstarter Campaign

A new year, new projects!

Today, I launched my first-ever Kickstarter project for a client (which became over-funded and became featured on their "Projects We Love" section in under an hour). It's only day one, but I am going to go ahead and call that a success! I can't wait to see how it all fleshes out.

My role in this campaign was that of the wearer-of-many-hats, wherein I wrote, shot, produced, and edited their short video (which is absolutely essential for any successful campaign), along with copywriting all of the text for the project description, blog posts, social media updates; as well as having photographed the pieces, and created all of the graphic design for various uses.

Whew! That's a lot!
And all of this was taken from idea to full-launch in just under a week, so it was definitely crunch-time.

Without further ado, allow me to present Boneyard Pet's 4th Kickstarter Project: Brushed Aluminum Dinosaur Skeleton Scultures:

This campaign will only run for 30 days, so if you were looking for a unique, exclusive, limited-edition art piece for your office or home...this is such a great opportunity!

Update:

The Kickstarter campaign finished on February 24th with the following stats:

  • Ran for 30 Days
  • 43 Backers
  • $12,543.00 total pledges
  • Average pledge $292.00

I learned SO much from this project, and by doing extensive research into other successful campaigns while it was running (although the best practice is to do your research FIRST!), as well as having access to the capital required for proper paid promotions, among other things.
If you are thinking of starting a Kickstarter project and are looking for some consulting, writing, photos, or graphics, hit me up!


Jinnifer Douglass Design Blog

Jinnifer Douglass is a full-time freelance web designer, photographer, writer, graphic designer, and consultant. She lives in NYC where she enjoys making the internet, taking pictures of birds, and Hearthstone. She can be reached via emailLinkedinFacebook, and Instagram for project proposals and interesting conversation.


Sky Aesthetics

A few snapshots taken over the 2016 holidays on the plane from NYC to Florida, with some light Photoshop edits applied.








Jinnifer Douglass Blog

Jinnifer Douglass is a full-time freelance web designer, photographer, writer, graphic designer, and consultant. She lives in NYC where she enjoys making the internet, taking pictures of birds, and Hearthstone. She can be reached via emailLinkedinFacebook, and Instagram for project proposals and interesting conversation.


Central Park on 35 mm

Capturing a stroll in Central Park on 35mm Film (Pentax K100)

Completely un-retouched, straight from the film roll (except for the website text). Click to enlarge/view entire image.

All of my Photographic Equipment has been stolen :(

Earlier this month, my Brooklyn apartment was broken into and all my photographic gear was stolen.

My camera, all of my lenses, my filters, my batteries, chargers, straps, and all of my other gear were all in one bag, which was taken while I was at work.
Yes, I did file a police report, but so far, nothing has turned up :(

Since photography is such a significant portion of my livelihood, I desperately need to replace my missing equipment in order to continue to work.

100% of your GofFundMe donations will go towards to replacing my burgled gear, which has played such a large part in earning my (small) income, and which I have been dutifully collecting and caring for over the past several years.

I'm despondent. I first picked up a borrowed camera about 12 years ago to help lift myself out of a depression and I haven't put it down since. It's the ONLY creative outlet that I have ever been able to keep my interest in for any significant amount of time. Additionally, it also provided me with a professional skill that I could use to aid in my making of a living.

I know that times are tough for everyone, and as such every single penny of your donations will be appreciated more than you can ever know.
I am not one to beg, nay, to even ask anyone for help , ever...so this is exceptionally hard for me on many levels.

Every one who donates will receive a framed photograph of their choice from my catalog as a thank you and as a token of my utmost gratitude.

<3

Ultra Shower Head

If you have ever been curious about what the process of hiring a professional commercial freelance photographer is like, then look no further! While I cannot guarantee that my particular steps will be identical to other photographers, I am confident that our strategies are, by necessity, quite similar.

Suffice it to say, one of the most requested services of mine is commercial photography, especially for e-commerce products.

My most recent client was a small business who needed some product shots of a shower head that they would be marketing on Amazon.com.

The client provided the product along with very specific parameters regarding what they required for the photos, more interestingly than just basic "still-life" product shots, they also needed shots in which a model was using the product too which I was able to provide for them as well.

Basically, here is the process from beginning to end:

  1. The photographer is approached by the client, or the client is approached by the photographer (popular avenues for this type of work generally tend to be Craigslist.org, Thumbtack.com, or word of mouth/repeat customers).

    2. The client explains to the photographer what is necessary; this generally includes details such as: how many shots of the product are required (and from what angles, if known), what edits will be required to make the photos conform to whatever their preferred platform requires, whether or not a model is required, what type of background is desired, what size the photos need to be (if known/if necessary), whether the photos will be sued for web or print (or both), and a deadline.

    3. The photographer will take all of this information and use it to draft up an estimate, or a quote.

    4. If both parties agree to the price, then a contract is drawn up where the number of final photos desired is specified, along with all other pertinent financial and technical information. Both parties sign the contract, and then a PDF copy of the signed contract is uploaded to the client's page for downloading or printing. Payment buttons for the exact agreed upon amounts are created and also added to the client's page so they can make their payments for this project online and at their leisure.
    The first payment (an initial deposit of 50% of the quoted total price) is made by the client in order to trigger the work to begin.

    5. The photographer then takes as many shots as necessary to fulfill the previously agreed upon amount of photos to be used for review.

    6. The photographer then uploads these photos to a password-protected webpage made especially for the client, UN-edited (except in that they are of a low resolution and will be watermarked to protect them until the project is completed) to their website for the client to inspect and choose from.
    Also, Photoshop samples of "before-and-after" photos are uploaded to visually aid the customer with selecting the images from the shoot that will work best to suit their needs.

    7. After the client chooses their favorite photos, they inform the photographer which ones they would like to have edited. The photographer then edits them, and uploads the edited photos (still low-resolution and watermarked, but with the requested adjustments applied to them). The client then reviews these new edited photos for adherence to the parameters of the project.

    8. If all of the new, edited images are satisfactory to the client, they will alert the photographer and remit the final payment. This payment is indicative of 2 important things: a) that the images are correct and final (that no further edits are required to be made to them), and b) that the client is now ready to receive the final product (which will be high-resolution, non-watermarked, and edited-as-desired) photos in all of their shiny, new glory. The photos are now ready for the client for them to use as desired, and are then digitally delivered to them (either via the photographer's website, Dropbox, or other popular file-sharing platforms).

To see an example of this process, please check out this page:



 


$29.97

Prescott Primrose 1/2 Page Ad

One of my ongoing clients, Prescott Primrose Florist, is one of the major sponsors of the 2016 Prescott Bridal Affaire Expo

They needed a 1/2 page advertisment designed that would be printed in the expo's program that will be given out to each of their estimated 1000+ attendees on March 6th, 2016.
In addition, their logo will also be exhibited in the February/March issue of Prescott Woman Magazine!

I worked together with Cara, the owner, remotely in real-time to construct a piece that we were both pleased with, and this is the result: