seven-and-a-half-soft-skills-to-have-as-a-designer

Design yourself better to be able to design better.

Purva Takkar

A hoarding saying “In design we trust”

A hoarding saying “In design we trust”

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Design is the intentional solution to a problem within a set of constraints. It is everywhere and impacts all areas of our lives. New age designers are crossing fields causing the lines of conventional design to blur out. This discipline of action is calling for the value of impact over form, making it a new kind of movement.

Designers are accomplishing this by embracing user-centred design(UCD). UCD gets the designer to design with the ‘user’ first in mind and actively gets the user to interact and even co-design the product. Designers are now in a unique position to be more than just visual artists. We are now the facilitators and technicians of good design, and good design has the power to change lives.

Now you’ve been nodding positively at this all along. You’re also probably familiar with the importance of focusing on the user and how it can improve and almost guarantee the success of your design. But it’s not just the user and their interaction with the designed product that makes for a good design, it all starts with you. You need to focus inwards before you can take on any challenge and decide to work towards a problem. This new way of thinking to power a ‘new you’ can power your design. Here’s how.

Observe, reflect, build, repeat. But you already do some of this anyway. The trick is to not stop yourself from questioning everything. Tools like the ‘five Why’s’ and ‘Yes and..’ exercises will help you here.

Radical collaboration is the new buzzword that actually works, but it does not come easy. Get different teams to collaborate with you. Fill walls with post its (or digital ones, if you are environment friendly). At the same time, as a facilitator, keep reminding people of your restrictions and your boundaries for the project. Exercise your authority to say ‘no’ to keep the project on the right track. Don’t worry, it’ll lead you where you’re meant to be.

Timelines are important. Magic happens when you are organized. Design your own design session, to help you design better. This will help you set boundaries around your work and the time you invest into it, for a more balanced approach towards your project. We’ve learnt to always respect others’ time, now we need to start respecting ours.

I learnt this one early. The motto for my previous agency was “Fearless Pursuit of the Unexpected” that was pushed hard by my then Managing Director- Papri Dev. She taught me that being fearless can be rewarding. Drive your power from your sense of purpose and value for self. This will come out in your confidence in your work while presenting. Being aware of your surroundings for informed optimism will also help in keeping yourself centred at the same time.

This courage walks hand in hand with how well you articulate yourself. To get yourself across effectively, you need to actively listen to what the other person is saying. Understanding this with an open mind will help guide you to be more informed about everything around you. Design not only your products but also your meetings, presentations, and so on.

As a designer, you have a major responsibility to design for inclusivity by using diversity. Aim to bring not only your community together through your design but also the various teams that help you design it. Variation is good, especially when it helps incorporate so many different views into your design to make it better.

As a designer, one of our most essential skills is empathy. We usually show this to everyone around us, but forget to also use it for ourselves. This comes in handy most when our designs fail, and we need to be resilient and know that we have to get back up. You are only human. It’s okay. Bring in the power of yoga and take deep breaths in.

I recently attended a workshop where my takeaway was that the first prototype is always wrong. We are constantly working to improve ourselves. This is why we are not “whole” yet, and neither is this point number. Prototypes are meant to fail- but if you incorporate all of the points above, you have the ability to rise up and be better than before. After all, isn’t that what design is about- Constantly evolving.

This Restless Reinvention for a better you will impact not only your designs but also your daily life. It’s all about the relationships you foster- those with yourself, your community and your designs. It is a way of living, heck some might even call it a religion. What’s your take on it?

I’ll be happy to take your comments below. But in case you want to do a deeper dive, here are a few resource recommendations to help you on your journey: Connecting Across Differences by Jane Connor and Dian Killian; Discussing Design by Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry; IBM Design Thinking Field Guide by IBM.

6-crucial-skills-for-building-a-good-workplace-reputation

Whether you’re a freelancer with a book of contacts, or established in a corporate structure, your reputation can define your success and be the deciding factor in many professional situations. So what is the impression you leave on those you encounter? Does it reflect your intentions and values, and send the right message? Honing your self-perception is a lifelong task (tools like the Johari Window can help), and the resulting insights will have a significant impact on how others see you. 

Read on below for the basics to maintaining a good reputation from experts who know the ins and outs of what makes for a memorable, positive impression. 

***

1. Practice humility

Tina Roth Eisenberg, CEO and founder of CreativeMornings, receives her share of pitches from those keen to work with her. The quality that stands out the most is a simple one: humility. When considering speakers, the one thing she looks for is a feeling of generosity, “Often times people pitch themselves in a way that lacks humility. When you do pitch yourself, do it humbly. Show up with an appreciation for what this organization stands for, [show] that you get them. And then, explain what you can offer to this community. Show up generously, with a sense of giving, not taking.”

Tina Roth Eisenberg at the 2018 99U Conference.

Tina Roth Eisenberg at the 2018 99U Conference. Photography by Ryan Muir.

Remember to strike a fine balance when touting your accomplishments, particularly if you are keen to collaborate. Be proud of what you have achieved, but make sure to show that you have a self-awareness that will make working with you a memorable experience for the right reasons.

2. Build your emotional intelligence

Shana Dressler, leadership consultant and co-founder of DLW Creative Labs, is a big believer in the importance of working on our humanity skills, especially in the workplace. One of those crucial capabilities is upping your emotional intelligence. In Dressler’s words, this means “self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Being cognizant of how your behavior affects others is at the heart of emotional intelligence.”

To build that knowledge, ask some direct questions, such as “what types of behaviors drive you crazy? Where does your anxiety show up? What do you do when you don’t feel heard? How do your resentments show up in interactions with others?” These may take some time to answer honestly, but having this self-awareness could mean a decisive, positive shift in your relationships.

3. Know how to sell yourself

Dana Leavy-Detrick, owner of Brooklyn Resume Studios, knows the importance of thoughtful branding, and has a sharp eye for the impression we convey when we try to sell people on our skills. Most of us struggle to heap praise on ourselves the way we do with those we admire. “I work with a lot of people who do branding professionally, but who can’t do it for themselves. It’s something that even the highest level of people struggle with,” explains Leavy-Detrick. 

Knowing how to present yourself and your accomplishments (and backing up your statements), is crucial to a good reputation. “Remember,” she adds, “If you don’t promote your skills and talent, no one is going to do it for you. Clients want to read your summary and come away with a sense of confidence that you can do the job.”

4. Network wisely

The majority of our professional communication plays out via email, so make the right impression by knowing your email etiquette when networking with potential contacts. People are likely to remember a pleasant and appropriate online interaction when considering you for a job or a professional partnership, so it’s worth sharpening your email skills. William Schwalbe, co-wrote Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It with David Shipley, so he is wise to the power dynamics inherent in reaching out to make a professional connection. “I don’t mind if someone asks for a favor, but don’t pretend you are doing me a favor if I am doing you a favor,” Schwalbe says. 

Erin McKean, the founder of the online dictionary Wordnik.com, points out the importance of respecting the other person’s time and obligations. “Most bad intros are bad because either the person making the intro or the person being introduced conveys a sense of unwarranted entitlement to your time and energy,” McKean says.

5. Avoid Burnout

As tempting as it is to say “yes” to every opportunity, there’s a real danger to stretching yourself too thin. If you overpromise and then fail to deliver, or don’t offer your best work, it will leave a poor impression on clients and superiors. For freelancers who depend on their reputation for a steady stream of work, this is a double bind. Taking time off may seem like lost income, but it makes for a more sustainable professional presence. “You’re like a cell phone that needs to get charged up,” explains Julie Morgenstern, productivity expert and New York Times best-selling author. “That’s what time off is for. It’s in the interest of your business to rest. It’ll make you a much better, more creative, smarter freelancer.” Remember that you’re playing the long game, even if you work for yourself (especially if you work for yourself!) as work often comes from your personal network as a freelancer. 

6. Embrace a ‘mediation mindset’

We’re not saying that you have to be the designated peacekeeper in every situation, especially if you have to set some important boundaries. But how you handle the inevitable conflicts that arise in your professional life will speak volumes about your character, and has the potential to be a turning point with your peers and managers. Take a page out of Brad Heckman’s book when it comes to navigating those fight-or-flight moments. Heckman is the founder of the New York Peace Institute whose years of experience diffusing tense situations have given him a wealth of wisdom. The key? Communication. “Good communication is a full body experience,” Heckman says. “It’s how we breathe. It’s our tone. It’s our gestures.”

Get into the habit of being aware of potentially defensive body language, listen to the other person, and take the time to clarify and absorb what is being said. It will save both parties a lot of stress and drastically cut down on quarrels, as well as establishing a base of trust and mutual respect in your work relationships. 

how-i-used-my-product-skills-to-increase-revenue-from-a-side-project

CASE STUDY – PERSONAL PROJECT 

CASE STUDY – PERSONAL PROJECT 

CASE STUDY – PERSONAL PROJECT 

Side project, from data analysis to prioritization & execution.

(Build-Measure-Learn). Resume Angels is my e-commerce store on Etsy platform.

Side project, from data analysis to prioritization & execution.

(Build-Measure-Learn). Resume Angels is my e-commerce store on Etsy platform.

MY ROLE: 

MY ROLE: 

MY ROLE: 

Project management,

Data analysis, 

Prioritization,

Design & execution

Project management,

Data analysis, 

Prioritization,

Design & execution

Revenue increase: from 150$ to 1300$/month.

Order conversions rate increase: from 0,5% to 2%.

Traffic increase: from ~100 views a day to ~400 views a day.

Revenue increase: from 150$ to 1300$/month.

Order conversions rate increase: from 0,5% to 2%.

Traffic increase: from ~100 views a day to ~400 views a day.

Etsy_1

What’s the challenge? What’s the goal?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

―Tony Robbins

I was running the e-commerce store on Etsy since 2014 and after an initial good start things started to get worse.

From the past year, my revenue from this project was differing between 27-150$ a month and my traffic since the best period dropped by 82%.

Etsy_2

There wasn’t a single day I was not thinking to do something about it but to be honest I wasn’t acting on it.

It was always a side project for me, like a laboratory where I can test my ideas & assumptions.

I’m still amazed by the new wave of entrepreneurs that through creating an online business are able to create more time for themselves. All of them are able to scale their businesses without increasing the time they are spending on managing it.

There are a few books like Elaine Pofeldt “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business” or Paul Jarvis “Company of One” that show many examples of how it can be done.

With all the online tools that we have now, there has never been a better time to do it.

Having the ability to scale your client base and profit without expediently scale increasing your employees or resources is still mind blowing for me.

“That’s it!” I said to myself  “If you never try you will never know…”

In August 2018 I decided that I will focus more time on my side project.

Learn as much as I can so my side project would be my main experiment.

The goal: Bring more value to my clients and increase my sales to 700$ a month in next 2 months.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

―Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I knew it was not something I could do in a weekend. The time that I could spend on this project was limited.

I knew I needed to commit to the process so that It could be effective for me in the long run.

There are many frameworks that I love (Design thinking, Lean development, Lean Startup, Google Sprints) and there are many articles about their similarities & differences and how to use them (so I I will not get into detail about this now). What I would like to focus on is that all of those frameworks at the core are based on the same formula; Build-measure-learn loop.

Etsy-BML

My plan was to apply these into my process:

  1. Develop hypothesis

  2. Get an idea/product/strategy to the market/target group as soon as possible

  3. Measure the results

  4. Learn from the results

  5. Repeat the process every week

  6. In the long term find ideas that are scalable/repeatable

I took those 3 steps to set up my “Build-measure-learn loop” up and running.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”

― Abraham Lincoln

1/3

I took a deep dive into my data & I made a competitive analysis

I was using mainly Etsy Stats, Google Analytics, Etsy Rank, Marmalead, SimilarWeb & Buzzsumo to take a closer look at:

  • shop & products conversion rates
  • traffic sources
  • reviews
  • my past surveys
  • e-mails & messages from my clients on Etsy
  • presence in social media
  • other products focused on solving the same problem


Key insights:

  • 90% of my customers were women (mostly from creative fields)
  • My clients biggest problem was “How to write a winning resume”
  • My order conversion rate dropped from 1% in 2014 to 0,5% in 2018
  • My organic traffic also dropped by 82% (compared to the best period)
  • I had 2 quality traffic sources Etsy & Pinterest
  • The Pareto principle could be applied to revenue from my products (20% of the best products were earning 80% revenue)
  • The same 20% of products were the most popular and pinned from my Pinterest
  • I was able to estimate how big the market was of my category on Etsy (daily, monthly, yearly sales & revenue of my competitors) and based on that knowledge set more realistic goals
  • All of my main competitors were selling the same products with the same features. Differentiator was the design.
  • Pinterest was also a strong quality traffic source for them. Their bestsellers were the ones that are popular on Pinterest.
  • I had a highest Review Conversion Rate in my niche (from all of my main competitors)
  • I was able to analyse their Etsy search keywords strategies

2/3

I created a master doc with all the ideas based on key insights.

I divided all ideas into different categories, depending on a field:

  • Conversion rate improvement
  • Etsy search
  • Pinterest traffic
  • Ads
  • Product Ideas
  • Virality
  • Content marketing
  • Promo/Giveaways
  • Customer Service

Then I used ICE method to prioritize the best ideas so every idea got the ICE score.

ICE_etsy

As a quick refresher, ICE stands for:

  • Impact: How impactful do I expect this test to be?
  • Confidence: How sure am I that this test will prove my hypothesis?
  • Ease: How easily Ican get to launch this test?

Each criteria is graded from 1–10 and the average presented as the ICE score.

At the end I added “expected outcomes & measures” & “start and end date” of each experiment in the doc. From then on I was treating my ideas as experiments and my master doc as my backlog.

3/3

I set up Kanban on Trello & committed to my weekly sprints.

Ideas with the highest ICE score were added into Trello. I knew how much time I could allocate each week and I had estimates on each strategy. Each week started with planning & ended with retrospective.

Experimenting made all the difference

“You don’t learn to walk by following the rules. You learn by doing and falling over.”

― Richard Branson

Below you can see the stats and the number of orders since I started (August 2018). Those results below are based on many lessons from the past experiments.

Etsy_7

Orders in my shop from January 2018 to January 2019

The main advantage of testing a lot of ideas is that you get a lot of feedback.

You are starting to “connect the dots” and see patterns that you can apply to formulate a new hypothesis or new iterations of the same idea. 

You are able to move faster and each iteration brings you closer to your goal.

1. It’s possible to increase product chances of becoming a bestseller and save a tone of time doing it

Problem: Creating new products is a major time consumer. In the end I didn’treally know whether they were going to be a “bestseller” or a “noseller”.

Hypothesis: The Design of the resume template is the most important factor for my clients during the purchase decision (decision of purchasing).

Idea: Instead of spending the time to create a Resume template pack (3-pages resume template Cover Letter Reference Page) I could create about four or five 1-page Resume templates in the same time.

After some time based on the order conversion rate – upgrade to resume template pack (this should increase Order conversion rate) or take them off from my shop.

Result: I created about 45 new resume templates and upgraded about 15 of them. (5 of them are now my bestsellers.) At the same time, I would be able to create only about 10 new resume templates packs.

The Pareto principle didn’t work anymore – I have now more products that are popular.

2. Lowering the price can increase your revenue

Price in my category on Etsy varies between 1-15$.

When I started my order conversion rate was 0,5% and all of my templates were priced at 15$.

I was able to increase my order conversion rate to 2% by experimenting on my pricing strategy and finally I lowered my price to 8$. (my profits increased)

3. You can set up a whole year promo-sale

Etsy offers a way to set up sales and coupon codes. It’s not rocket science to set it up but it never worked for me so I just stopped doing it at some point.

In August 2018 I started again – each week I was testing a new approach.

The one that I ended up right now is generating 15% of my monthly sales. It is consistent every month.

4. Keywords on Etsy are everything

By experimenting with keywords and Etsy SEO I was able to increase my traffic.

Also I have more products that I’m selling so, if you think about Blog analogy, Each new resume template acted as a new blog post,. This added additional traffic to my shop.

Etsy_8

Traffic on Etsy from January 2018 – January 2019

5. You can increase your traffic from Pinterest by automation

In November 2018 I started posting daily on Pinterest. I’m using Tailwind to schedule the week up front.

Since November when I started I tripled my views on Pinterest & doubled the traffic from Pinterest to my shop on Etsy.

Etsy_9

Traffic from Pinterest February 2018 – January 2019

?Hey! Don’t just sit there, drop me line!

?Hey! Don’t just sit there, drop me line!

?Hey! Don’t just sit there, drop me line!

?Hey! Don’t just sit there, drop me line!

?Hey! Don’t just sit there, drop me line!

Made with ? in the beautiful city of Krakow © 2019 Mateusz Tatara

Made with ? in the beautiful city of Krakow © 2019 Mateusz Tatara

Made with ? in the beautiful city of Krakow © 2019 Mateusz Tatara

Made with ? in the beautiful city of Krakow © 2019 Mateusz Tatara

the-most-important-skills-for-tomorrow’s-cmo:-data-analysis,-privacy-and-security

When I think of today’s CMOs and the vast amount of consumer data at their fingertips, I envision children waking up on Christmas morning to discover the gift of their dreams — only to find out they can’t play with it.

For a number of reasons, the reality of Big Data hasn’t lived up to its hype:

  • In many organizations, the data was collected by different departments through different channels for different reasons, and no one is sure how to combine it into a unified whole.
  • Even experienced analysts aren’t sure what to do with this much data, especially when it comes to what’s called “unstructured data,” like social media posts, emails, images, videos, etc.
  • Consumers are becoming more aware of the amount of data businesses collect and, while they’re often willing to share it, they expect something of value in return.
  • Governments around the world are enacting legislation to make data more secure and to limit the ways organizations can use it without consumer consent.

And that’s just today; we haven’t even started talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) yet. With the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicting that, by 2025, there will be 41.6 billion connected devices generating 79.4 zettabytes of data, we’re just getting started.

Back to our Christmas analogy, it’s kind of like getting the bike you wanted and then realizing your feet can’t even reach the pedals! Today’s CMOs need a growth spurt — fast!

Developing CMOs for tomorrow

If you’ve got to learn a lot in a short amount of time, it’s always nice to know what’s going to be on the exam. Here are the things I think CMOs need to be working on to be successful over the next few years:

Finagle your way into the boardroom

Everything businesses thought they knew about customers has been totally disrupted, and somebody has to tell the CEO (who probably has a finance or operations background and equates marketing with advertising). Today’s CMO needs to be part reality-checker and part soothsayer, helping the board accept these new realities:

  • It’s all about customer experience: Having the right products at the right price matters far less than it used to. Customers want to feel like the stores they visit care about them. They want a relationship and the personalization that follows.
  • The secret is out: Customers know businesses are tracking their every move, and most are willing to accept it if they get something of value in exchange and are comfortable that their data is secure.
  • There’s a wealth of insights to be gained from all of that data, but extracting those insights is exponentially harder than it used to be and requires new approaches applied by people with new skills.
  • Some competitors are already pushing the envelope. If their initiatives succeed, we’d better be prepared to catch up fast — so let’s lay the groundwork now.

CMOs who focus only on the next marketing campaign will fail, and so will the organizations they work for. You absolutely have to be part of setting your organization’s strategic direction. If you need help getting a seat at th table, find an ally. The CIO is a good candidate, as are executive-level leaders from operations and product development.

Consolidate and clean up the organization’s data

This one takes some legwork, but it’s important. Businesses already collect more data than they can analyze effectively, something made even harder when that data is scattered in different departments, collected and stored in different formats, etc. John Hernandez, CEO of the Selligent Marketing Cloud, put it well: “The biggest data-related challenge will be consolidation and a full 360-degree view of the customer relationship.”

The first step is to make allies in every department. You’re going to need their help, so before you ask them to take on such a big task, spend some time hanging out in each functional area. Find out what kind of data they use, how they collect it, where they store it, and what they do with it. This step is critical to laying the groundwork for developing a holistic approach to data management.

(The consolidation itself — gathering all of that information into one database, correcting errors, eliminating duplicate records, etc. — is beyond the scope of this article, but may I recommend taking your CIO to lunch?)

Hire the right talent

The traditional approach to analytics was based on structured data stored in precise fields: name, email, phone number, etc. While that information is still valuable, it’s only a tiny part of the picture in today’s world, where about 80% of the new data generated is unstructured.

Many of today’s organization lack the skill sets to work with unstructured data, and that’s especially true when it comes to pairing unstructured data with structured data and deriving actionable insights.

Machine learning and AI, on the other hand, can do things like combining historical weather patterns with CCTV footage to determine the effect weather has on the way customers shop. They can withdraw sentiment from social media posts and compare it with purchase history to determine the emotional factors that drive purchasing behaviors.

If you haven’t already changed your job descriptions to accommodate this new skill set, I’d advise you to do so right away. Look for developers and analysts who not only have experience in AI and machine learning but who also understand the type of information business leaders need to make good decisions.

Get ahead of legislation

So far, technology has been advancing so quickly that legislation can’t keep up with it. Expect that to change. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set the expectation that consumer data belongs to the consumer, not the organization that collects it. It also foreshadowed the fact that, as consumers become more aware of just how much of their data is out there on the internet, they’re becoming more proactive when it comes to protecting that data.

And, while the GDPR may hog the spotlight, it’s far from the only legislation regarding data privacy and security. In the U.S., California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act, which, in some instances, is just as strict as the GDPR, and in others (e.g., the Internet of Things) even more so. Other countries with similar legislation include Argentina, Canada, Brazil, and Denmark, just to name a few. I’ve created an interactive map with the list of countries with privacy legislation, as well as those where legislation has been proposed.

Adopt privacy by design

It’s almost impossible to keep up with pending legislation, especially if you operate globally. It’s much easier to adopt a policy of privacy by design, meaning that the highest standards of privacy are built into your data collection and analysis processes. (One such step, for example, may be to use only data that you collect yourself rather than data you collect from a third party.)

Adopting privacy by design is a dual win: You won’t have to be constantly scrambling to keep up with changing legislation, and your customers will love you. Privacy by design sends a strong signal to customers that you value them and their data and are not trying to exploit them for your own gain. (Note: If you need a hand getting started with a programmatic approach to privacy management, join my Martech workshop in Boston on Sept. 16.)

As a bonus, an ethical approach to data is likely to appeal to Millennials, who tend to be values-driven. And, since they make up 35% of the workforce, you’ll likely be looking to millennials to find the skills you need.

Spread the word!

Once you’ve completed all of the other steps, and you feel confident that you’re compliant with current legislation and that you’ve addressed consumers’ concerns, it’s time to make data privacy and security part of your branding. 

Transparency

How do you do that? By being transparent with your customers: sharing information about your use of consumer data and making it easy for them to find that information. Whether it’s a tab on your navigation menu or a link in your footer, give it a label that clearly states, “This is where you come to learn more about our use of data.”

Choice

Another good way to earn trust is by giving consumers a choice in what data they’re willing to share and when/how they’re willing to do it. One approach is to design a toggle list that lets consumers know what they’ll gain by sharing a particular type of information, then leaving it to them to toggle “on” or “off.”

When it comes to email campaigns, remind customers that they can choose to stop receiving emails at any time. Give them a toggle board where they can let you know which types (if any) of emails they want to receive. 

Social media and blog posts

Consistently sharing your commitment to data privacy and security shows customers that you’re really committed and aren’t just pencil-whipping some compliance requirements. Write a blog post updating them on the latest developments when it comes to privacy and security, and point them to your own policy if they have any questions. When you see posts about privacy and security on social media, share them with a comment that reiterates your own commitment. The more you do this, the more consumers will associate your organization with privacy and security, until they become as much a part of your brand as your logo, trademark, etc.

CMOs for 2019 and beyond

CMOs play a much more strategic data role than they used to — or, at least, they should. I challenge you to do a quick self-assessment. If you see that you’re lagging behind in any of the skills discussed here, take the time to catch up while you still can. There’s a really exciting future waiting for CMOs who are ready for it. And your organization is counting on you (even if they don’t fully realize it yet).


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.



About The Author

5-website-related-skills-your-clients-should-know

A big part of web design is in implementing creative solutions. One area that requires a lot of attention is in making things easier for clients to manage. This often comes with the use and customization of a CMS such as WordPress.

But fully autonomous websites aren’t really a thing yet. So, no matter how much customization we’ve done, clients are still going to need to do some things for themselves. There are a number of tasks that they just can’t escape.

That’s why it’s vital for them to have at least a working knowledge of some common skills. Just as important, we need to communicate these requirements and, if necessary, help guide them on the path to learning. After all, they may not even be fully aware of what’s involved.

With that in mind, here are five such web-related skills that clients will need to get the most out of their website.

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Basic Image Editing

Modern websites can be very media-intensive. We often build sites with features such as hero areas and slideshows that serve as a showcase for images.

These features often require that images be sized according to some specification we’ve set during the design process. And odds are that standard stock photos will need to be cropped down to this arbitrary size. If your client will be the one updating these elements, they’ll need to know how to accomplish this.

For some, image editing can be intimidating. Therefore, it’s best to advise them based on need. That means we don’t have to necessarily point people towards complicated or expensive tools. Photoshop and GIMP are terrific, but may be overkill for someone who just needs a quick way to crop a photo.

Instead, it may be more appropriate to recommend simple tools – even online image editors. They’ll help your client do what they need without overwhelming them.

A computer workstation with two monitors.train them and are on your merry way. Six months later, they want to add a feature. So, you log in and…the content structure is a mess.

You might say that, perhaps this is how your client wanted to “organize” things – so be it. But this can devolve into a nightmare in a relatively short amount of time.

For one thing, when there is no clear hierarchy to pages or types of content are mixed and matched, items can be difficult to find when you need to make changes. This also leads to scatterbrained navigation and URL structures.

It’s important to make mention of the concepts behind keeping content organized. This is especially useful within a CMS, where different post types may have varied needs. There’s no guarantee that they’ll listen, but any effort towards a well-organized website is worth doing.

Sticky notes arranged on a wall.accessibility in mind. Still, clients can help the cause by using descriptive ALT tags on images and, when applicable, choose colors that provide an acceptable level of contrast.

When it comes to SEO, this is an area where clients can become confused about who they’re really writing for. Sometimes they tend to worry about pleasing an algorithm or automated content analysis tool, rather than real people.

In both cases, it’s important to know the purpose of these subjects and how they can be adapted to a client’s workflow.

Person typing on a laptop computer.third-party services help to develop a healthy sense of cynicism – which can be a boon for security.

Again, the heavy lifting should fall upon us. But things tend to work best when they are a team effort.

WordPress plugin installation screen.