AEAChicago2007 – “Selling Design” by Jeffrey Zeldman

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This presentation was otherwise known as “how fast can you type?”

was in advertising for 15 years before got into the web (musician,
	filmmaker, etc.)
got into the web so he could work in his underwear
got into it because no one really know how to do it
first website he worked on, client didn't say "change this", client was
	just grateful
could work from home, flexible hours, etc.
"many years of unhealthy weirdness and great productivity"
but a couple of years in, clients started to have lots of opinions
David Segal, Creating Killer Websites first talked about graphic design
popularized tables and layout
but had little fetishes
1996 client: "shouldn't we start this site with an entrance tunnel?"
before the Flash intro, there was the static HTML intro
	first site he worked on, Batman Forever, used Perl script to make
		bat grow by reloading
so the clients came back
Thomas Muller from Razorfish was in Miami showing film about new
	office in Helsinki
news to him that could have multiple offices while doing web design
still had to do client services, had to learn to communicate
was about getting outside the cubicle
most of us introverted, happy with Photoshop/text editor, nice monitor,
	no interruptions
but have to learn to relate to people in order to get work done
first day at ad agency in New York, had laid of 80% of staff
was a guy Ed who was getting laid off and wasn't employable
he'd been doing the kind of work one client loved for ten years, and
	it was terrible
we're all passionate about best practices, and we have to be able to
	get that across
not just for fulfillment now, but because ten years from now, you
	may need to get a job
need portfolio that shows you know what you're doing
if you're not the main person interfacing with the client or the boss,
	still need these skills
it's the relationship, stupid. you already have relationships.
"The only way to do great work is to have great clients."
	-Lou Dorfsman, creative dir, CBS
"but yet there are no great clients... you have to make them"
Dom Merino worked in ad agencies (Volkswagon gas pump to the head)
	in glory days of '70s
he said he'd never had a great client. they'd kill great ads, no direction
eventually they'd buy something
endless scope is one way to do great work. eventually they buy
	something, if it's quality.
but respect flows both ways - want to be able to work with the client
sometimes person we talk to doesn't respect our work, so we don't
	respect them
but being respectful can make the relationship become productive
"The client is an idiot." wait a minute: "The client is *not* an idiot."
may not be paying attention to you because they're great at their own thing
so "Don't choose idiots for clients."
he was a terrible employee (late, smoking, clueless), then changed,
	then was fired
what's wrong? "I just don't believe it." couldn't get first impression
	out of her head.
hopefully you have the luxury to pick your next employer or look at
	RFPs and pick clients
so now methods and techniques
Avoid bad clients.
learn to smell trouble - bad assignments pack paperwork
they obscure their address and phone number - not on the website
instead have downloadable project planner
if not willing to fill out planner, can't call and bother anyone
not true for back-end developer - want what they want, what
	technology, all possible information
but for designers, too much information is like a first date about all
	the tragedies of a life
a literary magazine sent them an RFP - right up alley, could be
	pretentious and artsy and brag
probably don't have money, could be an interesting job, all evens
	out, portfolio piece
then sent 37-page RFP - looked like applying for government work
14 pages of wireframes
existing site was one page with links to PDFs, ten years old, in 2006
if come and say "we have no money but we're prestigious. we don't
	know what we're doing."
then maybe that's someone you can work with
if they're coming to you and saying "can you help us"?"
but bringing you committee-created wireframes, just don't do it
Listen for bad date vibes. might be different for other people.
they like having a good time while working. respond to people
	respectfully but also playfully.
if respond poorly, can't work with them.
"Your emergency is not my problem."
every so often reads BusinessWeek or Forbes or something - on plane
	and forgot or finished book
and iPod is dead, and they're not showing a movie - then reads Forbes
had article saying if they're in a rush, you can get them to agree
	to anything
like someone who just robbed a bank and I run a car lot
when come to an outside vendor with a job that's an urgent rush, that
	means they can't decide
means they needed in January, coming to you in August, with site
	needed in September
if in rush, means all decisions will be made that way
they'll agree, they'll sign the contract, but they won't live up to it
Build trust.
every time he says "if can't make work, change jobs", someone in
	the audience decides they should
The non-webby client
lack of web experience doesn't make them a dummy
can help them get up to speed
mosquito.happycog.com - anonymized organization in Chicago
	working with teenagers
head of organization wasn't web-savvy and said so
proposal was to move from static brochure site to community for
	teens and teachers
immediate clients said that was fantastic, but needed to convince
	person at top of pyramid
so they made a presentation about the web and how it works and
	the aspects they want to use
first talk about who they are and what they've done
talked about discussion sites and blogs - discussion as part of site
	(comments) or whole (/.)
showed them the sites to explain "this is Metafilter, it's been around
	X years, X readers"
needed to persuade would need someone to moderate forums
showed example of bulletin board spam - wimonwillison.net Bulletin
	board spam
this post about bulletin board spam got spammed. Bill Wyman, Rolling
	Stones, and Osama
hasn't deleted, though comments are closed
showed discussions for teens by teens - MuggleNet, Mogget's Old
	Kingdom, Youth Guardian Services
perhaps there's no spam because when a community is vested in a
	site, they do their own policing
same way people don't clean fast food restaurants but keep their
	own house clean
took time to reassure client on various points so would allow them
	to do what they do
How-to: have a process. be calm and methodical
never know how will solve problem, but know what stages the
	solving process has
tell that before engage and keep reminding what stage they're in
"Some business people think some creative people are weird flakes."
by having a process, like them, demonstrate you're fellow professionals
How-to: before showing designs, build relationship.
wireframes build relationships.
ask "who are your users?" say "meet our IA."
lots of time talking to them, even if their ideas are terrible, so they
	know they're heard
translate into understanding of what their problems are
then present next steps. "here are problems we've identified, and
	here's what we'd like to do."
How-to: the Alzheimer's method
his mom had Alzheimer's. would constantly, in gentle and calm way,
	remind of what was just said
each time talk to client, say what last decided, what they asked to
	do, how has done it
not top of mind for them, so need to remind.
"We're in the wireframing process, and last time we decided to
	first only look at the homepage."
there are really more phases, but no need to say "phase 3.2"
How-to: as in any relationship, learn to translate
wife says "that sweater's beautiful." two days later "it's cold in here."
when surprise her, just showing that understand and listen
valued in partner and by clients as well
was showing some navigation, and client said "is there an ideal
	number of navigation items?"
start to think about 7+-2 and sometimes it's 5 plus 3, and then
	realize that's not the issue
instead asked, "is there something we're missing? is there
	something users couldn't find?"
had one bad client, where returned own drawing after seeing
	three comps, with more tabs than items
"Everybody understands design." - Hillman Curtis
you don't have to explain design, because people react to it
you don't have to tell people what they're looking at
"when we did this one, we went with black and white, and in this
	one with color."
Our job is to convey the meaning of design.
question on planner is "What one problem are you trying to solve?"
"What one action do you want to user to take?"
always get three or four answers instead of one
use design to show how would look with each of those objectives, to
	help choose who they are
Sell ideas, not pixels.
Amnesty International (slides show ideas, not finished)
hadn't been able to articulate primary function of new design
1. Impact: pick two horrible, compelling stories that Amnesty is
	trying to change now
	shock out of complacency, make you uncomfortable, angry
2. News channel: if you're concerned about these issues, come
	learn what's going on in the news
3. Humanity: give the issues human faces
	faces, warmer color palette, eventually African rug pattern
basically bought the third
had discussion about three different emotional connections they
	could be making
one way to avoid the ex-girlfriend's quilt color
Kansas City Chiefs - competant website but not really designed
what do they want to be? what problem should we be solving for them?
so thought they're an unusual team - kind of socially conservative,
	respectful, not marketing
only team he knows of where cheerleaders are treated as nice young
	women who'll go to college
1. Like no other - different from normal football sites
2. Heritage - took tour, saw cool stuff from '60s, nostalgic feel, color
	scheme and clunky arrow
	arrowhead watermark everywhere
3. Big boys - big NFL football team just like all the other big NFL
	football teams
ended up with third
sometimes "just like" would be a bad thing, but here wanted to
	be part of the group
York Industries - Long Island manufacturer of high-tech stuff
80-year-old coming in every day, "people don't retire, they go
	out in a box"
Polish immigrants who came not speaking English and were
	taught English and then promoted
place had a family vibe
Victor Lombardo was information architect
1. Personal touch - human, warm, we're an unusual place
	we make high-tech stuff, but we're more like a family business
	would go out of their way even if not their regular product -
		buy from competitors to send it to customers
2. Product focus - we're a hardware company, damn it
so really started like ads, where one campaign is about how human
	and one how proficient
and then split the difference.
3. Hybrid - "you can have your axle and your humanity too"
AIGA - has some problems connecting with online community
some people feel is great organization for some people but
	doesn't care about me
1. Consumer - you're perceived as a cold, elite organization, and
	maybe you want to change that
	maybe you want to reach out by feeling more consumer-y,
		lifestyle-y, Apple, Martha Stewart
2. Elite - no, "make a virtue of the fact that we're cold, elitist,
	heartless bastards"
	Swiss poster, modernist aesthetic, little color, very design-y
3. Inspirational - two narratives. normal AIGA website plus stuff at
	top from design archives
	with wild random colors, not who you think we are
	really inspire designer - bored, goes to site, gets great hit of
		color and ideas
each design positioned as trying to solve a different problem
all Jason Santa Maria
combined designs 2 and 3 for final product
Responding to criticism: That color is ugly.
"Well, where did you go to art school?" never helps.
might say "Well, what is it about it that makes you uncomfortable?"
or "Well, yes, for people like you or me, but remember it's for
	14-year-olds."
pull out user research from beginning of project to demonstrate why
	the choice was made
Responding to criticism: That button is too big
again, research. big problem is people bail out of shopping cart.
they don't know what button to push, so that's why we made it big.
like Luke's talk about forms, user data like eye-tracking studies.
Responding to criticism = translating.
Dan Brown says when all else fails:
1. Push back.
2. Offer to look into it.
3. Shock them. Agree. "You're right, the logo does need to be bigger."

About Jennifer Berk

I'm an analytics and data leader with a marketing and product mindset. I like online newspapers, science fiction and fantasy, and ugly fish.
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