Everyone loves a good infographic. This one shows which birth dates are most popular … as you might expect, September seems to be the most common month for birthdays … all that winter time cuddling … predictably, Feb 29th and Jan 1st are the 2 least common dates.
Anyway, a nice heat map illustration of the data:
This is interesting. Browsers are slowly ditching ‘favicons’ (the little logos that appear in the URL address bar of your web browser), and Firefox is the latest to do so. The reason is that it is very easy to create a favicon in the form of a padlock – giving your dodgy e-commerce site fake legitimacy. I’d never thought of that.
So, today I received a really interesting looking tender document. It was well thought out, neatly presented, contained all the information I’d need to put together a full proposal and was, all in all, pretty enticing. Except for one thing. One of the things they requested in their document was:
A concise submission should be returned including: (…) Sample page of Proposed Design
You see this less and less, but it’s still there. This request for free work. It is well documented why designers of all stripes should resist this type of request but I don’t think anyone has put it better than Paul Boag in this article.
And it was his first point that I used to come back to the person in question: it costs everybody money.
Photo by e-magic – http://flic.kr/p/5Y57G
Whilst on the face of it, the potential client is getting a good deal (they send out 10 tender documents, they receive 10 pieces of free design) it actually ends up costing them money. There is an undeniable cost of doing business involved in creating a design mock up – it takes time (not just design time, but you’ll need to research the industry, the competition, etc.), there may be materials involved (stock photography, fonts, etc), and – unless you’re the designer I’ve not yet met who nails it first time every time – you’re going to want to do a couple of revisions yourself before you send it to the client.
So, let’s say, there’s 8 hours work involved in putting together a reasonable home page mock up. The cost of that to the designer is likely to be over £400. Now, if I have to do this for each proposal I receive, but I only win one in 3 tenders, then I have to cover the cost of the failed two tenders in the one successful one.
I end up having to bill the ‘successful’ client for 24 hours work, but only do 8 hours for them.
That doesn’t work for anyone.
Last year I wrote about a better pitching process and this speaks to some of the same issues. If you want to assess the skills of a web designer before you hire them – and of course you should – then look through their design portfolio. Get some references. Speak to past clients. You want to hire someone who has the design skills – but design is about more than drawing pictures, it’s about solving problems and communicating goals.
You’re not going to be able to understand if your designer can do that by producing a piece of speculative design work.
Are we starting to see a little bit of a Google backlash? Not sure, but two major players in the past week or so have announced that they are no longer going to be using Google Maps to provide their mapping solutions.
Foursquare is an extremely popular social media site that lets you discover nearby shops / businesses. Last week they announced that they were going to partner instead with OpenStreetMap for all their mapping needs. OpenStreetMap is an open, ‘crowd sourced’ mapping project that has been gaining a good bit of traction lately … and will likely continue to do so given that Apple also just announced they would be partnering up with OpenStreetMap for some of it’s mapping requirements.
This isn’t an across the board decision by Apple, but it’s a step away from Google – and follows their decision to exclude YouTube integration from their latest OS (Mountain Lion) social sharing system (Share Sheets) – YouTube being owned by Google. You can read more here on .net magazine.
Interesting times for Google, I think.
I love needmoredesigns.com – they’re a web firm based in Portland, Oregon. They do good work, which you can check out on their site. But it’s their blog that is never less than informative and frequently fascinating.
Today, for instance, I learnt that boiling water first and then letting it cool, reduces the oxygen in the water – perfect for making clear ice cubes that last longer! I’m going to be needing a Gin & Tonic this evening to test this out …
… one key to making great ice cubes is to boil water and let it cool, and use that to make the cubes … full article
Follow their blog here: Needmore designs blog
It had to happen … and it did in 2011. Sales of smartphones outstripped sales of traditional computers. Apparently, there was a 60% increase in smartphone shipments from 2010 to 2011 – which is remarkable in itself when you think how ubiquitous iPhones and the like have been – or, rather, for how long they seem to have been part of our lives.
Clearly, as more people have smartphones, it seems unlikely that such growth will be repeated (the figures, of course, hide the fact that most people already have a PC), but what is undoubted is the fact that more web browsing is being done on smaller devices than ever before.
Ah, this makes for sad reading. Groupon’s Messy Business.
If you don’t know what Groupon is, briefly, it offers small businesses a quick way to dramatically increase the number of customers through your door by publicising dramatic discounts across their wide reaching network. Sounds like a good, quick win for businesses – and, in some cases, it is.
But Groupon’s structure is such that businesses can make less than a quarter of their regular sale price on an item – and the massive influx of customers for a short period of time can have deleterious effects on existing customers and business structures.
In this case – it has led to the closing down of a small business, which is incredibly sad. If you’re a small business and you’re tempted by the idea of Groupon – by all means check it out, but do the maths and try and think through the long term consequences of signing up.