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curious what data was used for this
Hey designers, are you aware of any design award competition where the designers that enter the competition also democratically elect the winners?
Lots of clients come my way saying “Need a new website / app / whathaveyou. How much is it gonna cost?”

Of course, I can say immediately, anywhere between 4 and 5 digits. But the devil is in the details. The answer is, how long’s a piece of string. I need to change client’s mental model from “I want a quote based of nothing” to instead have them pay for a Analysis & Exploration piece before they can receive a quote on how much it’ll cost to design and build the rest of the product.

I need some resources for that. Lots of digital agencies offer these Exploration pieces as standalone offerings that they sell to new clients. But I’m struggling to find examples of that.
Anyone can share some sites / agencies / freelancers that do this well on their website?
Yeaaa you can’t make a proper quote like this. You need the project requirements. Everything’s very project specific.
Honestly, I gave up on this. When I have a serious client (recommended by a friend or an established company) I do a very rough WF + price estimation "on the house" - it takes me just a few hours and I consider it an investment. I charge enough to be able to afford this, and I've been lucky enough with clients that just one walked away so far. And that wasn't on a price basis anyway.
What if that client is a big organisation where they don’t even know what they want yet. And they is not a single person but a group of stakeholders dispersed throughout different roles and departments. All these come out of the woodworks when you’re midway through a project, and then drop 2-3x the initial scope that was talked about. In a project fee setup that’s the death of the project (or at least death of any profitability on my side). This is too risky for me.

I’d instead need to charge them a fixed amount for an analysis & exploration phase that goes for a few weeks, to a month or so. After that, we’d have a rough map of what needs to be done. Then the proper design phase would follow. Once that’s done and approved, my team would then only be able to accurately estimate the build for such a project.
I understand that clients “just want a price” but throwing a price at them after a few hours of work, on a mega project, that’s just pure gambling.
Oh, if that’s a huge project with unclear outcome, then of course. Have you considered an hourly or a MD rate in this case? With bi-weekly or monthly payments?
Could do. But the client wants some idea of a quote or proposal from my end in order to be able to go ahead with the hourly role. Them being unwilling to hire you without a clear idea of how much money they’ll need to invest in you.

It’s a tough one. A chicken and egg scenario.

I need them to hire me for a month in order to do the Exploration phase with them in order to give them a proper proposal and quote.
They need me to give a proposal and quote in order to hire me.

Only thing to do is to convince them that the Exploration piece is what they need most right now (which is true), and that’s the hard sell to make because it involves a reframing of the client’s mental model of how these projects work. They just hope that I can magically give a quote based on almost nothing and then magically deliver on that.
wlsolke I think you have a pretty valuable deliverable at the end of the discovery phase, that's the project brief and that's what the client would be paying for. With a good brief the client could potentially go out and hire anyone to solve the problem you diagnosed with the solution you prescribed in the brief.
Totally agreed oolejjrrivh

Problem is getting them to understand that the exploration phase is a huge exercise in derisking the project and that the brief that I’ll put together will be 10x better and less risky than what they could muster on their own.

Not impossible. Just a tough sell when most clients think that they can just produce the same brief themselves and skip “this whole discovery phase”.

But then maybe I just let those clients go.
I’d personally ask for their budget and work backwards from there.
If I can't work out a budget, I charge for discovery which includes a full MSCW breakdown of the project
Also agree with this
I have clients buy chunks of hours on a monthly basis. They get the work that can be accomplished in those hours. So usually it will start with a 3 month project, 32 hours a week, where we have a set goal but understands that if things change it may go longer or need to be wrapped up quickly with less polish.
I do that as a freelancer too, but it’s not how B2B tends to work. Or big government org to agency.
Any of you here apply to remote design jobs that are based in another country?

I am based in the EU and since there are many interesting jobs in the UK I applied to a few that are remote.
What happens is that almost all of the job posters / recruiters start interested but when the topic of the applicant location comes up, they clarify that they are only open to UK candidates, even if that was not explained in the job post.

Is there a legal requirement for this and what advice do you have to resolve this issue?
I know there are a few well-known 100% remote companies that surely hire internationally but they are only a few and I am trying to figure out how to apply to the other lesser-known companies that also have remote roles.
There's no legal requirement to not hire outside of your country, but it requires to go through some legal hoops that most companies find unnecessary, or don't have experience with. Chiefly, it requires a slightly more complex expense reporting for taxes, and it also requires making sure everyone you employ is receiving equivalent healthcare benefits (not sure about the UK in that regard).
This all gets much easier if the company "employs" only contractors, in which case the contractor simply invoices them, and that implies no further complexity at all.
I currently work with 3 different companies, 2 US based, one Canada based, as an independent freelancer, and so all they have to do is receive my invoice and wire the money. They don't have to figure out my insurance or anything like that. Of course it means I could be without a job next month, there's no security.
I’m in a similar position as qafuimqtx but with a UK based company - as a dev though.
I live in Europe and I work for a SF company now. I always filter by remote on Angelist and I only apply to positions that are advertising for remote fwiw.
Not sure what the right channel for this Q'n is, but I need a (safe&secure in terms of client data) survey tool that I can use to run customer audit surveys. Any tips? I know some of the more popular ones are a bit hmmm on the privacy side and would love to stay on the safe side.

Thank you 🙏
Why not use google forms? Free and should be secure enough
Is it? I just remember hearing that there might be some issues with privacy but maybe I remember wrong :)
:woman-shrugging::skin-tone-2:Typeform is another option
yeah 🙂 will haave to maybe read the fine print on both 😭 thanks!
hello 🙂 how’s the remote freelance design scene nowadays (ux + ui design / product)? I know it’s a broad question, but I’m considering going back to freelance after +- 3 years of being employed and I’m curious -
• where do you get your most of your clients from lately?
• has covid affected you in any way?
• what’s the go-to hourly or daily rate if you’re designing for a reasonable small-to mid startup? (let’s say you’re designing the MVP for an US-based VC-funded “netflix for 3-7 yo children” for example)
• is it worth to invest time towards polishing dribbble (:grimacing:) / behance / web portoflio? (I never had one - always got gigs from recommendations)
I like this question. If you consider going freelance, don’t forget it’s like running your own business. Which means, you do your own marketing, sales, etc, besides doing the actual design work.

To answer your questions:

1. I was having direct clients through referrals, but the dried out during the pandemic, so I switch to Toptal and other recruiting services.
2. Yeap, my leads dried out.
3. Don’t charge by the hour. I switched from hourly billing to fixed guaranteed prices, and my clients love me. Sadly, I can’t do that through recruiting agencies.
4. Dribble/Behance… they are for the visible side of design, not the invisible, the UX, the product stuff. If you want your selling point to the visuals, then go for it. Pick one, and post consistently. I do that with Dribbble.
thanks! reg. hourly vs. fixed rate, I prefer fixed as well, but with the projects I get to, the scope of work isn’t clear enough at the beginning, so it’s easier to opt for hourly imo.
I’m loving it. I had a rough start last year, but now up and running quite nicely.

• Toptal and word of mouth, but mostly Toptal
• Yes, it’s given me more work now that everyone’s forced to work and hire remotely
• USD100 p/h (started as 60p/h last year)
• My Dribbble is non-existent. I put more of my energy in a strong website and I try to update my LinkedIn from time to time
If I could give one recommendation, it’d be to opt for 2 jobs at a time, rather than just 1 that takes your entire capacity.

I’ve accepted one job at USD 60, then looked for another at 70, then by leaning on the second job, when the first ran dry I looked for a third at 80, and so on…
The Super Mario approach to increasing your rates 😁
One thing I’d like to learn to do is do better marketing so I’m less reliant on Toptal. Don’t like my large dependence on them, but it’s been fruitful with them
yeonnvt you really can set such a rate for design on Toptal? When I raised it to $40 I stopped getting job proposal from Toptal. I lowered it to $35 and I’m overbooked.

To be honest, I really hate going by the hour. It has given so much troubles to me and to the clients. Scope creeps, counting time, and the need to explain why such things take so long. Ahh…
So, I switched to value-based pricing. And that’s why I don’t care about scope anymore, but on meeting client’s objectives. It’s much saner that way, and clients love it. The only blockage is when they need to mentally digest one big price paid upfront.
I think I had to prove myself in the eyes of Toptal recruiters by getting a few successful projects under my belt before I could raise it without issue.

Toptal is a bit of a shitty place though because the moment a project goes bad, the recruiter just plays the blame game with you and they threaten to blacklist you. Not directly but if you read between the lines. Had a thing like that happen to me once and I was able to make my case and got things on track again but it left a sour taste in my mouth
Regarding value based vs hourly I think I prefer hourly because I don’t want to absorb the cost of the client scope creeping and stalling a project. This way I give an estimate ahead of every specific task and deliverable that I do and then make sure I deliver what I said I would for the week.

I also think I managed to get clients on board this way who would shudder at a large lump sum up front.

Having said that, I’d be keen to find a value based client where I can do, say an e-commerce store for them for no charge and instead take a percentage of sales. But I haven’t been able to find a single person that’s open to that. I love the idea of scalable income when it comes to value based. But it’s been a pipe dream for me so far and given all the pros of hourly work, that’s what I stick to.
Well, I’m on Toptal since 2017, but I believe because I’m originally from Macedonia, they were kinda telling between the lines that I should not charge above my region’s average rate. So whenever I tried raising my rate, they would not get me any new clients.
As for hourly rate, I’ve never liked it. It create unnecessary discussion about scopes and estimates, instead of discussion around reaching objectives. Once I switched to fixed/value based prices, my relationship with the client shifted from me being a commodity, to me being a partner. I wouldn’t not that that for anything. With Toptal I can’t achieved that, and the key reason is the hourly rate.
chisej so how do you stop clients from taking advantage of you and just keep asking for more things without end?

And what you’re doing is it really value based or more like a project fee?

I never know how people can quote before uncovering all the requirements and they don’t usually come up until you’re in the nitty gritty of design. Not criticising. Just saying I don’t know how one manages that.

That thing about them discriminating against you based on region does not surprise me at all. And probably because I’m an Australian resident that’s a big part of why I get to charge higher.

Nothing like a bit of intentional suppression of the global south by the global north 🙄
ofdmjjf if there is trust between us and the client, the client would never take advantage. It’s too long to explain how I say no to many things in polite way, and by doing that remind the client to focus on the metrics of success we’ve set for a certain project. It’s risky, I know, charging fixed guaranteed price. But by taking that risk from the client to my side, I allow myself to charge a larger sum. If the client is smart, he knows that an estimate is never a guarantee, and he’ll most probably end up paying double because of scope creep.
On top of that, many of my services are productised. For example, a style guide for a complex web app design is very valuable for development, and can save many hours of development time and headaches. That style guide, I already have it ready, and I simply modify it for each project. If I were to charge for the style guide with my hourly rate, I would earn pennies, but the client will save thousands of dollars of development time.
hgvbpf I was advised to keep my rate at $40 as well and I’m based in London! lol wtf

The thing with Toptal is that you have to put so much effort into showing a recruiter that you are the right fit for the job that I, frankly, don’t have the time nor energy if the rate is that low. Considering I already have London clients that pay market rate.

Its worth having a Toptal account in case you hit a dry period, though.
Exactly. That’s why I reverted back to Toptal for the last 6 months. And I’ve struggled like never before to win a project. 🙂
The productised solution with the style guide makes perfect sense. I should start by offering a few such things as a product. I don’t think I’ll ever turn my core UX work into a product because of the unknowns. Unless I really charge a whopping five figure number which is so high that it would likely encompass any moderate scope creep.
Regarding the style guide, I’m not sure the client will understand why he buys a product. If he is not into tech, he won’t see the value of it. It’s only the developer that will thank you. 🙂
To be honest, I’ve been burned 2-3 times by charging a fixed price because the scope literally doubled. But that’s my fault, and I’ve learned how to manage that. Still, I wouldn’t switch back to hours because fixed rates have build a different reputation in the eyes of the clients. They could sleep at ease, knowing that I’m always here to fix or improve things for free.
So, the only problem I usually have is when I lump them one big 4-digit, or sometimes slightly towards 5-digit price. It’s that psychological moment when they see the price and get a sticker shock. But all the clients that went over that, never felt sorry. Therefore, for fixed prices to work, seems like it needs client awareness, and an urging business problem that they need to solve, and would pay any amount just to have it someone done.
And by charging upfront, I can put in the agreement that I offer 100% money-back guarantee for the first 1 or 2 weeks. So, if they ever feel that I’m not fit for the job, I’m legally obliged to return them the money. That’s a huge token of trust I offer.
I’m so passionate about this topic, that I can talk on and on. Sorry for bombarding this thread. It was supposed to be about freelancing in general. 😬
All good. I am too. I’m up for a virtual coffee if you want to exchange more tips and tricks. I think I could learn a thing or two from you :)
Sounds great. I will write you in PM.
I hire freelancers on Upwork and I prefer to pay hourly
I find it hard to find talents that can both design websites and do full stack
Yeah, it’s a rare breed. But if there is such, then he might be charging at least 3 times more than the rest, as he does a work for generally 3 people. And considering the time he saves in communication, for what would otherwise be a communication between 3 people, for the business that person might be worth equal to even more than 3 people.
Rare breed maybe but not that hard to learn.. I deal with 10x more stuff than this on a daily basis. I would say it requires someone interested in both domains, with 10 years of experience
i think its the job of 2 "normal" people, not three :)
unless you need to deal with hard security issues and complex databases, then yes 3 people 😁
Well, UI/UX designer, front-end, and back-end development. 🙂 I was actually all of them, but for the sake of sanity, I needed to let go of the coding stuff and dedicate to UX/UI design. Perhaps being a perfectionist I have some limitations, but I really can hardly believe that such a person can be a true expert in all fields.

But on the other hand, even if he is not an expert, I believe he would be a golden asset for a start-up who needs generalists to get things going.
(btw — we’re hiring at our company for UI/UX right now, DM me if any of y’all are open to chatting!)
I’m confident with doing design and front-end coding (as long as it only involves simple jQuery style JS), but I feel very confident in HTML/CSS/SASS, and can do some basic templating of Vue and React. But I’m very much in the same boat as mjukkq in that in order to maintain my sanity I only do pure design these days.

My brain just doesn’t work well with only left-side of brain tasks like backend dev, heavy command line wizardry, proper JavaScript, and things of that nature.

Basic command line wizardry, basic jQuery or simple JS, and HTML/CSS/SASS – no problemo – love it and I’m very good at it, but there seems to be little demand for such skills these days where industry has become like this />
Mind you that’s ^ 2016, and these days it’s probably worse.
Freelance designers, how do you find good developers?
I have to spend far too much time QAing butchered version of my design mockups.
^ my design ^ what devs produce
how much are you leaving open to interpretation?
Also show the real ones not just the meme.
Don’t feel comfortable publicly sharing the Figma file, but here’s a recent portfolio item with design mockups shown …and here’s the resulting site />
Mind you, this one’s one of the better outcomes. But it took 80 (no less) JIRA tickets that I had to create as feedback items for the devs just to get it to this state.

My Figma files make extensive use of components and Auto Layout.
I just checked the site. Lighthouse report of 90+ is very good for a WordPress site. WP Rocket works out of the box well? without doing any manual changes? Better that you have not used a page builder because the DOM elements added to it, takes a toll on the performance.

Regarding the elements, some like the checkboxes and other input elements are different because the browsers render it differently for each. Still there are cross browser implementation and CSS hacks which can add more headache.

I can see some inconsistencies on first glance. The header on the home page is still missing the left border just as the right one. The search box separators are darker than the design. Next button on the inner pages pagination does not have spacing against the arrow.

Those are the mistakes that you were pointing out?
Yeah the Lighthouse score was one of my initial feedback points, so they improved it and did a good job in the end.

> Regarding the elements, some like the checkboxes and other input elements are different because the browsers render it differently for each. Still there are cross browser implementation and CSS hacks which can add more headache.
Those are some things that I’m happy to compromise on and use some existing library. I know forms are a pain in the butt for UI development.

> I can see some inconsistencies on first glance. The header on the home page is still missing the left border just as the right one. The search box separators are darker than the design. Next button on the inner pages pagination does not have spacing against the arrow.

There were so many of these that even after we fixed some 80 of them, there are still some left like that. The constant back-and-forth on QA sucked up all the budget for the project.
Intriguing conversation. I have pretty much the same problem when I hand-off designs to development. That’s why, I always insist developers to get introduced in the beginning of the design stage, so that there is a smooth transition from design to code.
It seems we all lived it... Once I had a dev changing the background color of the page. I mean, the css is right there, you have a style guide. Why pick another random color?!

As vgfcgn mentioned, the best is to have good communication and a great relationship with the dev team. But at some point we need to advocate for good professionals. In 2021, being a front-end dev without caring for the design shows of a lack of qualifications. Maybe it's time to educate our clients to the impact of unrigorous devs (and the value of the good ones)
yeah communication seems like a big issue, sometimes designers and developers aren't connected and there's someone in between and then the developer might end up missing good info or not being able to ask quick questions that would save a lot of pain
I recommend screening for devs who have experience pairing with designers. The best implementations come when the designer is right there with the dev as the dev is tweaking the css and can give extremely precise instructions and see it updated in real time. Good devs who know CSS well and have good communication skills can handle this. It entirely eliminates the frustration and delay that comes with creating 80 JIRA tickets.
Anyone know if there is a proper term for a scrollbar with snap points/notches/nodes?
I’m documenting a UI component for internal and developers.
Vertical dot navigation
In this context its’s not being used as a nav element per se.

It’s more like a linear dial (which is what I settled with for now.) Unless I find a more universal term. Thanks!
Interesting, I'm not sure I understand what your talking about then. Can it be used to navigate vertically across sections US40FMXJB?
No it’s being used as a form element.
Similar to how a DJ crossfader looks and works
Stepped slider
screenshot or it doesn’t exist 😂
build in Elementor or Webflow!
if it’s not a simple site?
I've found it's possible to create 95% of what I've wanted to with Elementor & Crocoblock, but there are always times when that may not be possible
Lord Farquaad inspo would be fitting
Dribble isn’t bad. To be honest, I had a client looking for a designer and struggled finding one on upwork. Fiverr I wouldn’t take a look at for high quality (im sure its different now).

But I scouted behance and dribbble and found someone, ended up paying him 6K for a site design.
This is totally dependent on how much interaction is possible of course, but:

I've found that if it's possible to get the devs involved early in the design process, so that they are a part of seeing it come to life, they'll help me cut down on design time and are much better at delivering as intended.

Having an official kickoff with the devs and the BA to go over the problem, how we're solving it, showing them the prototype/screens, and talking through all the use cases can also really cut down on any room for miscommunications later.
I like that
USD ─ $
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