Living in the Now!

Learning to enjoy my life more!

A Big Change

Why Change?

So recently I was working on a web site as part of my college project and after a discussion with another student I realized I have never paid for my own professional web hosting or domain name. It has always been something I wanted to do but never had much need of in the past, I always worked with people who already had hosting and never needed to do anything with domain names. My friend Richard Arkless pointed out how much it would cost to host a site for a year using Go Daddy, so after looking up all the options I decided to take the plunge as the client for my current university project would need hosting with some options.

The Change

This means that I will be stopping updates to this blog and moving it all over to An Unrelenting Mind for the next year at least. Also I plan on morphing that web site into something a little different to this one, but for the time being it’s going to just be the new home for this blog.

My Experience with Go Daddy

My experience with Go Daddy UK wasn’t as easy as I would have hoped, the whole experience of purchasing was a comedy of errors without the comedy. I just want to point out that below were I talk about supporting charity, supporting a charity is a good thing regardless of what country that charity operates, but I live in the UK and I would rather support a charity that does work in the UK or globally. An example is that one of the three charities was supporting US solders, and while I believe supporting soldiers is good I would give my support to my own countries forces before I support another countries forces.

Here is some of the feedback I left Go Daddy UK:

“Well when you try to encourage me to donate to charity I would be more likely to donate to a charity that is a) world-wide or b) UK specific. Also when you say “Charity of your choice” don’t then limit my choices to three US-based charities.

Also had issues with promo code’s, I tried to use the “Linux295” code from the Linux action show. But after realising my mistake and seeing it actually increased my order amount because I didn’t realise I was getting the domain for free. I tried to remove this code but no matter what I did it seemed to be reapplied to my order. it wasn’t till I removed it and added another “go20off6″ did I get the value of the order back down to what I had been offered previously.

Also don’t then notify me that you have changed the amount after I have entered my payment details, I had to go back and look to see what was added. If your going to add tax do it at the start, I am now wondering if I’ve been billed twice and will not be looking forward to explaining this to the bank if I do get billed twice.

It’s almost as if whom ever runs payment processing for your site has no concept of usability and user friendliness. Can’t say I’m impressed, I expected more of such a large name company as yours.”

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Design for free?

I’ve always been in a bind about what to do with clients when it comes to charging, I am an inexperienced designer who has a little knowledge but able to make sites. But in order to improve I take on projects and always do them for free, this is because I feel I am like the trainee dentist, I am still learning my craft and am at a base level of knowledge so to keep projects flowing and to save me from certin problems I do it for free.

A lable with free written on it.

Design for Free?

I suppose its to keep the commitment level for all those involved to a informal level, and I try to get across that I don’t come with any guarantees because I don’t always know if I can deliver on a project. And if I was charging for my time and effort then the customer would be more upset over loss of investment and time than anything else. So far I have done sites for friends and we always have an understanding that I will try to deliver a site for them but if I am unable to then I’m sorry but the project was to big and complex for my current skill level. And they leave feeling a little let down and I will still keep things. In the back of my mind incase I find a way to deliver the site (I never really lay things to rest, just put them on the back burner).

But now and again some one comes along and looks at my work and says “why don’t you charge for this?” Or “Why don’t you start your own business?” And my response is always the same! I am not experienced enough to start doing what I do as a business, also I am not business minded, I don’t know anything about being self employed. Also I feel that having to deal with a business will take quality time away from the work, so I would rather be an employee. But I lack a complete skill set to find employment as a designer (even though I do design work at the moment) or developer.

That is also why I don’t charge, if I charged for my work then I would have to pay tax, national insurance etc and that would make me self employed and I would have a business. I’m not saying I never want to do that but at the moment I prefer not to, and that allows me to devote time and effort to studying design. Now I’m going back to college I can study development, but this is why I do it for free.

Keep it open source
Neil Griffiths

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I’m gonna be starting something!

Had a meeting with David to make him a site to promote his voice talent, and after a productive meeting I have a rough idea where we will go with his site. It’s quite an exciting project as David is quite open to the experimental ideas I put forward to him. A photo shoot will be next where I take the idea of photographing him in his dj get up but in alien environments. Example, dj at the beach or supermarket etc. Although the rest of today will be a bit of down time, have been very busy for the last few days.

Neil Griffiths

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Getting it done!

The other day The Little Web Factory (he he he) was contacted to make a site by an old friend who I’ve been asked to make sites for in the past for various different projects he’s worked on. In the past when ever I get asked to do things like this I get an initial burst of energy and start working on a mock-up and that normally done within a day or two. Once that’s done I start working on the design template to get the page working in a browser and make sure it looks good but when I’m at this stage I am also thinking about the information I need from the client, basically all the copy and pictures or brief for the pictures to be used in the site.

Mockup for Burned Audio

Mockup for Burned Audio

Trouble I find with most people who have never had to employ or ask a web designer to make something for them is they don’t really know what to ask for or what to tell you. I usually get told “make me a site, I want it to be about my business and I want it to look nice.”  what they don’t tell you is what ideas they have or any clue as to what they want. So as the designer I got to guess and make a load of mockups with different styles which is fine because that’s part of what I do.

Problem is I’m not a professional designer and I’ve never worked as one so I don’t know what I should be asking the client , I’ve heard pro’s use design briefs but when ever I try to get my client’s to do one they are quite dismissive and say “oh I’m sure what ever you do is fine!” that’s when communication starts to break down and I start losing interest in the project.

It’s not the clients fault they are obviously concentrating on other things but if they are going to charge some one with completing a task then they should give some attention and some work toward completing the task. One of the things I always tell clients when they first ask me to do a web site is that I will need them to provide the copy (text and photo content) for the site as I feel its unfair to expect me to know what they want to say about them selves on the site. I will tell them if I feel something is not right or could be expressed another way but I cannot write it for them. Problem is a lot of my clients havent thought about this even though when we first talk about the site I tell them I need them to do this.But they don’t do anything about it and then the project comes to a halt.

Problem is then I don’t want to contact the client about anything to do with the site because I feel like I’m pestering them and the last time I spoke to them about it I told them I’m waiting on them so they are aware of the situation. Then out of nowhere 6 to 12 months later I’m looking through my hard drive come across the work I did and think “do they still want it?” and then contact them to see if they are still wanting they site. Almost always the response is “no” or “we got someone else to do it” so then I move the folder to a place where I can use it from my own purposes and as an example of my work.

So now a friend has asked me to make him a site, I want to make this and I want to help so now I’m going to look into what I did wrong and what the pro’s do to deal with the clients. So I can help him make the site he needs and I get the help and information I need to make it.

Neil Griffiths

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