The creative freelancer movement is gaining steam, driving a new way of doing business. The…
Freelancers routinely receive digital information from clients such as communications, content and artwork. This information requires proper organization since referencing an incorrect version or outdated communication disrupts the project workflow and makes you look bad to the client. These requirements illustrate the need for freelancers to implement some form of digital asset management (DAM).
Real Story Group defines DAM as the storage, retrieval, cataloging
and distribution of digital assets. Media asset management (MAM) is a subcategory of DAM that deals with digital media such as animations, music, photographs and videos. Systems that perform DAM include both hardware and software.
DAM systems may be divided into several categories, depending on the specific type of management they perform. For example, brand asset management focuses on reusing the content of a large organization. These assets are largely related to sales, marketing, such as marketing collateral, product imagery and logos. Library asset management systems focus on storing and retrieving large amounts of data that doesn’t often change such as archives for photographs and videos. Cloud-based digital asset management systems are used to augment the capabilities of on premises systems.
Create a Style Cheat Sheet
Freelancers also need to develop a style guide that is approved by the client. This practice minimizes the possibility of forgetting the client’s requirements and demonstrates your attention to detail on their projects. A style guide generally ensures consistency within a project and should also enforce best practices in the use of elements, such as visual composition, language composition, and typography. Developers will require specialized style guides, such as a coding guide and visual style guide.
A visual style guide helps ensure that interfaces have a consistent appearance throughout the project. Executive in Sweatpants recommends that a visual stall guide includes visual elements, such as colors and fonts. It should also include elements related content, such as forms, headers, and sidebars.
A coding guide is particularly useful to developers since it doesn’t needs to be specific to a particular project. This style guide makes work easier for the developer when taking on a new client who is unfamiliar with your coding style. Consistency is the most important characteristic of a style guide, whether you’re creating one from scratch or modifying an existing guide.
Designers and developers have a natural tendency to begin working on a project without proper preparation. However, giving in to this temptation will result in wasted time further down the line area. Research and planning is essential for these projects, which often includes the development of wireframe.
Wireframing is so named because it uses boxes and lines to represent different elements in the interface. It provides the basic functionality, hierarchy, and structure erected product. The primary purpose of wireframe in you is to help the user to visualize the end product.
Wireframes can also illustrate the application’s functionality to other project stakeholders, such as clients and executives, who are typically pushing the project’s development. However, freelancers can do themselves a disservice when they make the wireframe appear more complete than it really is. Referring to wireframes, Kathy Sierra of headrush.typepad.com says, “How ‘done’ something looks should match how ‘done’ something is.” Joel Spolsky adds in The Iceberg Secret, Revealed, “You know how an iceberg is 90% underwater? Well, most software is like that too — there’s a pretty user interface that takes about 10% of the work, and then 90% of the programming work is under the covers.”
Design and Prototypes
Prototypes also help to streamline the design process in software development. Prototypes of software applications are incomplete versions of the final product and typically simulate only a few of its aspects. Software prototyping is functionally similar to prototyping in other fields, such as manufacturing and mechanical engineering.
Todd Zaki Warfel’s book “Prototyping: A Practitioner’s Guide” provides qualitative data on the benefits of prototyping. This book describes the results of a UK consulting company that transitioned from a requirements-oriented process to a prototyping-oriented process. Prototyping improved the accuracy of estimates on cost and build time by 50 percent, and it also reduced the development team’s request for clarification by 80 percent. Furthermore, the amount of rework after the launch was reduced to one fourth that of similar projects using results-oriented development.
Presentation & Collaboration
Freelancers must also present a project’s design to the client after they’ve developed it. The primary goal of this step is to obtain organized feedback from the client.
Developers may use several types of prototypes to present their design. For example, a presentation prototype provides a visual representation of a manufactured product and a demonstration of its functionality. It typically consists of a mixture of off-the-shelf components and production-grade material to achieve a balance between design, quality, and cost efficiency. A presentation prototype is typically used to demonstrate the product’s viability before it enters mass production.
A visual prototype is designed to illustrate the product’s overall shape and dimensions. It doesn’t typically contain moving parts, and the materials in this prototype usually aren’t those that will be used to make the final product. A visual prototype may be painted to more realistically portray the final product, but it may also be presented as the raw material.
A proof-of-concept prototype demonstrates the product’s core functionality in the technical aspects of its design. It may not physically resemble the final product, since this prototype is often constructed of off-the-shelf components. Proof-of-concept prototypes rarely use production grade materials in the interest of cost savings.