4 Signs You Shouldn’t Hire a Web Designer or Developer

The days of spending lavishly on your first/second/tenth website are doomed. For a host of reasons, it doesn’t make sense. It’s like buying a factory before you have seed money or your first customers.

If you’re in the early stages of growing your business or even your idea, save your marketing spend for experimentation and business modeling, not creative design firms who will give you a “corporate identity.”

All the effort that pre-IPO company spent with that sexy downtown design firm for a $100K, 3-month website project is being copied by a bunch of Eastern Block kids with immaculate PHP/CSS skills

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a sharp logo/name/tagline. By all means, you have to be memorable.

But as for your website? Take a long, deep breath should anyone tell you to hire a web designer/developer. You may need to, but here are four signs that maybe it’s not the best strategy. Read more

How Adobe Could Take Over Design (Again)

Adobe’s Creative Cloud is an ecosystem waiting to rain on everyone.

Designers (and pigeonholing them into a single group is already tantamount to imprisoning them in Abu Ghraib) are a notoriously cliquish bunch who have a guttural reaction to  LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. where their 7AM lattes come back up their throats. Pinterest (for inspiration) and Deviantart (for gloating) are okay. But their activities around the “job” of design can’t be socialized as easily to pull faithful creative types away from their Photoshop layers and Bezier curves. Cat videos are an exception. Read more

Services versus Products and Stuff in between

For software entrepreneurs, there is an epic struggle as to whether software is a service or a product. To the untrained user eye, it’s a product with the expectation of service.

I have a theory. Software applications are for all intents and purposes automated processes. They perform information “work” in much the same way a power saw simplifies cutting. That said, information changes, so the machinery has to change with it. Well, until software writes itself, you need a human to change the applications. If the application comes from a vendor, this is the service part.

So this introduces several challenges. You now have a software lifecycle that churns out bug fixes, patches, and feature updates. You may also face implementation needs such as integration, data migration, etc. that are unique to every customer.

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Using Web Meetings for Usability Testing

Football coaches and players pour over game and practice film to learn how their plays are working. Software developers can do the same and with the magic of the interweb, you can do so without having to sit onsite with your customer.

First, identify a good customer candidate. Someone who is friendly and trusts you and who uses your software fairly religiously is a good choice. This is your “ideal user.”

Second, get web conferencing account. The one you demo with is fine, but there are plenty (WebEx, GotoMeeting) including some free options (DimDim).

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