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Shop Around! 3 Steps to Finding the Perfect Designer/Developer

Find out how these three easy steps will get you the perfect fit for your project and budget!

  1. Use reliable organizations to find your candidates.
  2. Get at least three estimates before starting your project.
  3. Focus on finding a fit with your project's team and work-style rather than just the budget.

Where to find these people? We suggest you use AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and the Freelancer's Union. Their membership directories are easy to sort through using the specific skill sets you're looking for.

Anyone can post to most job sites and say they're a designer or developer, but who knows? These two organizations have application processes and requirements which must be met in order to become members and use their online directories.

" can rest assured, you are speaking to people who are and do, what they say they are and do."

The AIGA is a graphic professional's organization. It has been around for over 90 years. Its members agree to adhere to its strict Standards of Professional Practice. The Freelancer's Union, founded in 1995, provides advocacy and health insurance to its members. They have an extensive application and qualification process which members must meet, proving they are legitimate freelancers in the New York area.

In short, with these sites you can rest assured, you are speaking to people who are and do, what they say they are and do. These organizations provide invaluable resources which you and the member can use to help you both resolve questions regarding things such as; copyright legalities, fair practice and/or find amicable solutions to unexpected situations which can arise, even in the best-planned projects.

"You will find someone within your budget."

Talk to as many designers and/or developers as possible in order to narrow down people who fall into your general budget, but get at least three written quotes/estimates/proposals for your project before you start. Then, use your gut to assess the phone/email interactions you have with each candidate and the vibe you get from their presented documents. The person who's interaction and document seems most "on your level" is the person you want for the job.

You will find someone within your budget. Focusing on getting someone who "fits" you or your project's team, work-style and personality ensures the work will come out quickly, cleanly and on target. This means less time and cost for revisions, change orders, scope-creep and other complications which happen when project members aren't all "on the same page".

Recommended Reading

Don't Make Me Think!

This book is our bible. We like Steve Krug. We wish more people (web developers and their clients) read this book.

Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

» Get it from Amazon

» Get it from Barnes & Noble

You don't have to be a "web guy" to understand this book, but you'll understand what you want your web project to accomplish after reading it (your "web guy" might even get a few insights from you!).

Steve's straight forward (and hilarious) look at web site usability and design is a must for anyone embarking on a web-based project, no matter what their role in the project is.

Q & A:

Got questions about our process? Just click for the answers.

Use Open Source Software

If you run a small-business, you (literally) can't afford to miss everything the wonderful world of Open Source software has to offer. Here's our favorite recommendations:

Desktop Software:

  1. OpenOffice ( A complete office suite, compatible with MS Office. We haven't installed or used MS Office in over 3 years now since we started using Open Office. All our PDFs, spreadsheets, diagrams and presentations are created using Open Office.
  2. Firefox ( Browse securely using a fully W3C compliant browser.
  3. Inkscape ( Need to illustrate something? Inkscape is a very powerful drawing program. We like to use it for our charts and diagrams, but we also use it for more complex artistic design and illustration.
  4. GIMP ( Need an easy way to touch up your photos? GIMP can do that and more. We use GIMP to make all our project's nifty favicons, and we even like it for specific types of layout.
  5. Ubuntu ( Ubuntu is a Linux-based OS for everyone else. It comes with all the software we listed above. Easy to install and use, many PC sites like Gateway and Dell will offer to install configure Ubuntu for you instead of Windows, saving you the cost of the Windows license on your new machine.
    We recommend you try it out first and make sure it's for you, it's easy to demo off the installation CD, you can take a full tour on the site.

Website Platforms and Frameworks:

  1. WordPress ( It's the most popular web publishing platform we offer services for. WordPress is so much more than a blog. Talk to us about how it can help your site and project.
  2. Drupal ( A robust portal publishing platform. If you've got a large organization with a site that has to wear many different hats, Drupal may be for you.
  3. Joomla! ( Like Drupal, Joomla! works best for larger sites and organizations.
  4. CakePHP ( A PHP framework that can help speed the development of custom web applications.
  5. CodeIgniter ( Similar to CakePHP, another PHP framework, much lighter and works well for most small business application needs.
  6. Pure MVC ( A framework originally for ActionScript. It's what we use for all our Flash and AIR projects. Pure MVC has been ported out to lots of other scripting languages including PHP, Python, Ruby and Java.
  7. Django ( A framework for Python. Why use Python instead of PHP? There are a few good reasons depending on your situation. Talk to us about which framework is right for your web site application.

Open Source: It's free, but it's not "free software". Contribute.

We use a host of Open Source software and tools and we also consult clients on how to get the most from their Open Source solutions. This saves us and our clients money. It still takes time and resources to develop these products and that means community participation and contribution.

hyper3media contributes a portion of their income to each Open Source project they consult or develop for. Tessa writes books about Open Source web platforms for Packt Publishing and likes how Packt contributes proceeds from book sales to those projects. You might find you'll want to do the same. After all, if you just saved yourself and your business $500 dollars on software, putting a portion of toward the software you use to keep it going and supported is money well spent.

Contributions to these organizations doesn't have to be financial. Feedback, and other types of participation in the community is also welcome and needed.

Thanks for your interest in our services. If you have any questions, please contact us:
©2005 - 2022 (unpublished work) hyper3media LLC & Tessa Blakeley Silver