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15 January 2007

On the Side

Do you do side jobs? Maybe for a little extra income, to stay sharp or to get the fix that comes from starting a brand new project and carrying it through to completion?

Well, in the past year or two I've done a couple. Pages in Time and Cornerstone Cabinetry are the two big ones along with blog template design and other stuff. But here's my assessment of side projects after doing the few I mentioned:

  • It's really hard to estimate how long a project will take

  • I use projects more for the purpose of learning than to make extra money

  • You can find site components on the web easier than you think

  • You have to know what you're doing to use most of them

  • Use technology that makes site-wide changes simple (an external CSS stylesheet, SS/PHP includes for things like navigation and components that dynamically import data/images for ease of updating)

  • Find something your client can use to do the small stuff on their own. I often suggest Macromedia (Adobe) Dreamweaver if the person has money, or Macromedia (Adobe) Contribute for an inexpensive and yet powerful solution to editing copy, adding tables/pictures and even new pages to the site

  • Communication...

  • Communication...

  • Communication...with it the project goes well, without it the process could drag on forever

  • Think ahead! Not only when you design, but for the years following the completion of your design

  • There is nothing cooler than Kuler! Need a good color scheme for your new project?

  • And finally, it is so nice to be able to do projects that come your way if you want to do them and not because you have to do them to earn a living