Designing a website is an exciting opportunity, but it can also truly challenge your project management skills. There may be clients vying for your time, new code to learn, and design mock ups to develop all at the same time. Use the advice below to become better equipped to handle the project management necessary with web design.
Carve out a quiet place to work that is distraction-free. Distractions can make the creative process of good web design very difficult to accomplish. It’s important then, to carve out a place of your own where quietness is the norm. If you are working from home, create a home office where your family knows not to bother you during work hours. If you work in an office environment, select times of the day where you shut your office door for quality creative time. If you don’t have the luxury of a private office, purchase noise canceling headphones and make a “Do Not Disturb” sign for your desk, alerting fellow peers that you are not available. You need this time for your best ideas, so find a way to get it.
Be realistic and transparent about your skill sets when taking on a project. Companies and clients often want the moon when it comes to web design, but be careful to manage their expectations based off of your training and skills. If they are expecting an e-commerce portal and you have limited experience in that area, saying yes to the project without any transparency on your part can lead to many stressful hours of cramming and an unhappy client. Instead, be communicative and honest. Let them know of your experience level and the time you will need to deliver a completed site. You may lose that specific project, but your truthfulness will keep your sanity in check and your overall business relationship strong.
Create to-do lists nightly for the next day. Web designers are always juggling many short-term code issues and long-term projects. It is easy to lose track of what you need to do on any given day! To help keep on top of things, write out your next day’s goals the night before. This way you can jump right into work first thing in the morning without having to muddle through what is most important and where to begin. There are many excellent to-do applications out there, including OmniFocus, ToodleDo, Things, and Producteev. This is an investment that can make you both more efficient and less stressed.
Develop a realistic timeline. It’s easy to suffer from over-promising and under-delivering in web design. Clients push designers to give the shortest timelines possible to projects and designers often underestimate a project’s complexity in the initial pitch. This can lead to poor work, angry employers and ultimately no money. Instead, analyze every potential project thoroughly before settling on a time frame. Map it out piece by piece in a realistic fashion, and give yourself a buffer of time for unforeseen complications. Use this timeline to walk through the project with your employer or client, so they can see exactly where the challenges are and what to expect. By doing this, you are setting proper expectations for the project.
With this advice you are better prepared to handle the project management associated with any web design project. Remember it and use it often, and you’ll soon see your projects are less stressful and much more rewarding.