Freelance Usability Designer Tips for Independent Contractors
In depth knowledge of user Interface Design principles can help freelancers make the right impression with clients and employers. Your user Interface Design portfolios are your most important visible asset. More than just a showpiece of your expertise, your finished products for clients are testimony to the excellence of your real world ability.
To get more freelance projects, however, don’t depend on your portfolio as your only marketing asset to keep the checks coming. Prepare critically important support information to convince clients that you are the best choice for their projects. Describe, on paper and at interviews, your process to effectively marry the two main components of user interface design: website aesthetics and information organization and retrieval.
Emphasize that you are more than an accomplished graphic designer. You are a usability professional, who understands how to create a user-centered design that attracts and holds visitors and customers. More than just a “sticky” website, you create masterpiece interface designs that clients and other usability experts consider first class. Using simple navigation tools, common icons and other conventions, and a focus on the client’s audience and customers, you will achieve client goals with efficiency, on time, and on budget.
Freelance User Interface Design Tips to Impress the Best Clients
Usability experts are perceived as Interface Designers that focus on user-centered design websites that stress simplicity. That is not an undesired perception, but it overlooks the complexity of arriving at a creation that emphasizes user Interface Design principles that increase client revenue and net profit. Usability Designer tips are incomplete if these critical interface components are not stressed as strongly as you feature your portfolio.
Display, on paper and during interviews, that you have developed a wonderfully efficient process and technique that helps you design the impressive websites shown in your portfolio. Convince prospective clients that, as aesthetically pleasing as your designs are, they also employ usability engineering tools that feature the following.
• Simple and consistent navigation functions for users.
• User-familiar icons and other conventions.
• Information organization that makes it simple for users to retrieve information quickly, often in three clicks or less.
• Minimum of user scrolling necessities to find answers.
• No overuse of graphical design to distract users.
Stressing your process and technique in this manner reinforces your expertise and makes prospective clients more comfortable with and confident in your ability. Consider using only the top sources for a usability professional, like ArtisanTalent.com, as they can introduce you to the best clients with the best projects.
Usability Experts Must Market Both Their Portfolios and Their Process
Hiring usability specialists is strongly dependent on their portfolios. But, suppose your completed project portfolio is not yet overly impressive. How can you get noticed by better or more well-known clients? Try impressing prospects with your usability engineering expertise and the process you’ve developed to create the wonderful website designs in your current portfolio.
Newer Interface Design professionals can win a good usability job if they convince the client prospect that their process includes –
• Learning about the client’s customers – current and potential – to create a user-centered design.
• Creating a website that makes it obvious what users should do to get the information they want.
• Effective and pleasing graphical design, but uncluttered and tasteful web pages.
• Usability testing procedures that reinforce the successful interface design or identify areas needing improvement.
• Obvious optimization of usability, simplicity, and consistent navigation processes.
• High level ability to meld pleasing aesthetics with information presentation and organization that is wonderfully user friendly.
Combining an effective display of your Interface Design portfolio to date with a presentation of your process and technique used to create your finished products should impress major clients even if your next Fortune 500 project will be your first.
Why Usability Testing Procedures Are Critical to User Interface Design Principles
An experienced usability professional understands the criticality of employing usability testing procedures to optimize their interface design. Less experienced, although possibly technically superior, Information Architects and Interface Designers sometimes overlook the importance of testing to high level performance on a usability job. Here is why experienced usability experts include user testing as part of their process.
First, for a moment, think about the wide variety of needs of companies and websites. A Government site desires a user-centered design, but lacking a profit motive, seldom needs the best of the best when hiring usability specialists. Contrast this position with a large e-commerce company, like Amazon.com. These companies need to maximize user Interface Design principles to offer a totally user-friendly experience for customers to enjoy the most revenue possible.
Usability experts, who incorporate effective testing into their design process, usually refine their architecture to produce websites that embody the mantra, “Don’t Make Me Think Too Much”, espoused in his book of the same name by usability expert, Steve Krug. Usability testing procedures can achieve the ultimate goals of users: Simplicity, consistency, and conventionality of site navigation and information retrieval.
How the Internet and E-Commerce Have Made User-Centered Design Critical to Success
The early days of the Internet – the late 1980s – lacked any user Interface Design principles. Since most Internet access was via dial-up modem, slick graphics, effective navigation, and usability engineering was non-existent. Fast forward to today and all freelance Usability Designer tips include user-centered design as a critical – sometimes the most important – component of website architecture.
Just as brick and mortar businesses attempt to make it easy and pleasant for customers to buy – using attractive locations and reasonable prices – e-commerce sellers desire the same mix. Usability experts and Interface Design professionals integrate pleasing aesthetics and information organization to make the user-friendly buying process enjoyable and simple. The most successful user Interface Design tips stress these features. Con- sequently, the most successful usability consultants market themselves based on these principles.
By understanding the audience and employing usability testing procedures, you can enhance your freelance career by stressing your process to create an effective user-centered design that maximizes revenue and brand loyalty for your clients. You can emphasize that you employ graphic design with taste and minimal clutter, while using consistent navigation that allows users to get to information in three clicks or less.
How Clients Can Make Hiring Usability Specialists More Successful
Hiring for usability specialist jobs often presents conflicting emotions from clients. As a client, you should understand that this is normal and reasonable. Whether you need a usability professional to improve your internal systems or to enhance the user-centered design of your e-commerce website, in a way, you’re admitting you require help.
To enhance your probability of success, consider these freelance user Interface Design tips.
• Question usability experts on their process for creating the ideal user-friendly website or systems. While their finished products are most important, usability experts should demonstrate their under standing and knowledge of usability engineering to create user-friendly systems.
• Question a usability professional about their definition and philosophy regarding user-centered design applications. Your idea of user Interface Design principles and that of a usability consultant may be different. Your goal, when hiring usability specialists, should be to retain a like-minded professional for the usability job you need performed.
• Question candidates about their procedures for usability testing. Avoid being so impressed with the Usability Designer portfolio that you ignore its true user friendliness. A website that may work wonderfully for an aerospace company may not function well for a bookseller. Your company has its own audience, with preferences unique to their group. You want a website that addresses your customer base optimally.
Consider using one of the top sources for usability experts, like ArtisanTalent.com. These well-respected sources are havens for the best of the best. Why not start at the top for such an important responsibility.
How to Evaluate a Usability Professional Resume or Portfolio Effectively
Evaluating resumes is a time consuming process rift with misunderstandings and risk. Ask any well-trained and experienced Human Resource professional and they will typically tell you that resume evaluation is akin to drafting baseball players from high school. As professional baseball executives are well aware, the process is fraught with risks regardless of how diligently young athletes are scouted and evaluated. In a way, evaluating the resume of a usability professional is similar.
The usability consultant often has a list of impressive successes noted in his/her portfolio. Yet, here is a common potential risk factor. Assume you are hiring usability specialists for a successful company selling women’s shoes. You are initially impressed with the usability engineering results of three Interface Design professionals. One has a wonderful portfolio of well-known companies, another has obvious talent, and the final one has impressive educational and early career credentials. However, none has ever employed their user Interface Design principles for a pure female-oriented clothing and accessory company. Usability experts successful in other industries may or may not be a good match for you. Here is how to reduce this inherent risk, at least, initially.
Examine the companies for whom the usability consultant has worked in the past. Are there companies similar to yours in his/her portfolio? Can you see a “snapshot” of the user Interface Design principles he/she employs? Does it appear that he/she has completed projects on time and on budget? Do the usability experts you’re considering have the educational background that should make them both knowledgeable AND adaptable to your needs?
Describe Your Usability Specialist Job in Detail to Have More Meaningful Interviews
Hiring usability specialists is much easier when you explicitly define the usability job you want completed. For example, if you want an expert interface design to improve your revenue and usability at your computer software website, you may not want a usability professional with high level experience with retail clothing site expertise.
By specifically and explicitly defining the result you desire, you should attract the professionals that employ user Interface Design principles that directly relate to your company and project purpose. Interviewing professionals who know exactly what you want to achieve eliminates explanation time and general questions and answers at interviews.
This approach maximizes interview time concentrated on specific goal achievement and the candidates’ ability to do the job you want. Small talk and generalizations should be unnecessary. Your valuable time at interviews will be allocated to targeted questions and answers relating to the job at hand to determine the best usability consultant that can help you reach your objectives. Is that not the most important consideration for you?
The time you spend fully describing the job you want done delivers another benefit to you. Forced to define the exact result you want, you improve your focus and understanding of the usability job you need completed. You’ll save time, money, and aggravation by hiring usability specialists that are harmonious with your wishes.
Hire a Usability Consultant That Understands Your Customer Base
A good understanding of your customer base – current and potential – is critical when hiring a usability consultant. You are probably intimately aware of the preferences, demographics, and tendencies of your customers. However, unless a usability professional you consider retaining has completed projects for similar companies in your industry, it is unreasonable to expect him/her to fully understand your customer base.
To help ensure success when hiring usability specialists, prepare a data sheet that provides as many details as possible about your current and, hopefully, future customers. If you need to provide this information to one or more Interface Design candidates before you make the hiring decision, you should prepare and have candidates sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, to protect the integrity and privacy of your customer base. This agreement prohibits the signer from disclosing any of this information to another party. This document could be particularly important if a candidate works for a direct competitor in the future.
Employing solid user Interface Design principles, taking advantage of freelance user Interface Design tips, and enjoying a deep knowledge of your customer base, a good usability engineering professional can create a website and process that pleases your customers and increases your bottom line.
Use Solid Interface Design Principles to Help You Hire the Best User Interface Professional
When you seek a good Interface Design professional, it helps to have a checklist of items to consider and discuss with qualified usability experts on your candidate list. A primary component is a usability professional who thoroughly understands user Interface Design principles. Consider the following suggestions for checklist topics:
• User-centered design. Whether your customer base is composed of IT professionals or baby boomers, your website should be designed for and focused on your users.
• Usability testing. Near the top of any freelance user Interface Design tips lists is usability testing. Regardless of the beauty and drama of your new web pages, their true usability is critical for your success.
• Usability engineering processes. When discussing a usability job with candidates, ask about their process to go from the client’s wishes to their finished product. You will learn much about the usability consultant and his/her thought process and his/her understanding of their responsibilities. Remember, you’re not interviewing graphic designers, but hiring usability specialists.
You want a usability professional that expertly integrates pleasing design and aesthetics with efficient information organization and retrieval. Users should be able to navigate your site easily and simply and get the information or make the purchase they want quickly without having to “think too much”.