Web worker’s log #8 – Free stuff

Two boxes, one is brown and the other is orange with text "Awesome Company"

Everyone loves free stuff but there can be a huge difference in quality between free things. When I was designing dashboard in my 12 weeks challenge I encountered a calendar which wasn’t designed very well. Visually it was fine but the underlying structure was mess.

I complained in that video about the quality but I changed some of its properties anyway to fit my own design. And it also got me thinking if designer can create high quality free stuff. My conclusion is that there are two options:

  1. It’s part of marketing
  2. It’s part of getting a job

In the first case the rule of thumb should be that time and energy does not matter that much but it needs to be shippable in a finite time, hours, days or weeks, not months or years. In case of resources it’s good to keep a good structure to show that the designer is organized and not a chaotic monster.

There are organizational exceptions. One of them are the videos from my challenge and that’s because weekly I spend hour and a half on average for the design part and two hour and a half for code part. So even when I try to be as organized as possible chaos will creep in because I am multitasking at that moment, talking and coding/designing, and because of the time pressure.

When it’s part of getting a job it should be perfect, right? Wrong and the reason is because the design brief is just a first step and design process is a full mile. Without going through the complete design process designer can create only generic websites which may not give a client a clue if the designer is right for the job. Examples of generic websites can be found in my 12 week challenge.

There is technically nothing wrong with generic websites as web design becomes more and more commoditized but if you really value your brand you will try to find a designer who will help you stand out. Generic websites can’t do that because someone else will have similar website.