My First Freelance Experience

I have been wanted to freelance my designs for a while but I had no idea where to begin. I’m still learning, I don’t have a high and mighty UX design reputation yet. So, I decided to make a Facebook post asking if anyone needed a website designed. About a day later, a friend of mine from Uncollege reached out to me and said he needed his Wordpress website designed.

He recently started his own Drone aerial media company. Basically, he takes his fancy drone out to his client’s properties and shoots some awesome videos and pictures like these.

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He needed a single landing page with a form for new clients to fill out.

Seems pretty simple, but after reading articles about project pages like this one, I realized I need a good plan to convince people to fill out the form. I researched similar drone companies and other single-scroll promotion sites to come up with my rough sketch. I wanted to summarize the features, let the user know how it works so they will know what happens once they submit the form, and finally validate their services with past projects and reviews from their customers.

I drew it out on my tablet and shared it with the founder. He looked it over and said it was a great plan.

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Then I made a low fidelity grayscale wireframe. This was when I tested out spacing, sizing, and the font. 

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After many calls with the founder of H&H Drones, I got a good idea of what to write under “How It Works”, got his feedback on my wireframe, and got an idea of what he wanted for the watermark.

Over a span of a couple weeks I kept sending him my iterations of the landing page. I played with the different images, spacing, colors, and illustrations until I had a high fidelity design I was happy with.

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Now the challenge was publishing the work onto the website, and I had never used Wordpress before. I’ve used Squarespace for my personal website for almost a year now. I’m familiar with it. I love the customization and the clean features which are very simple to use. Wordpress is completely different, but as I always say, you aren’t learning unless you are out of your comfort zone.

I watched youtube videos about starting a website on Wordpress, read books and articles, and started a class on Skillshare. I learned that in order to make the most high quality and customizable site, I needed to use plug ins. But here’s the catch, in order to use plug ins, you have to pay over $25 a month, and my client was strapped for cash so I was stuck designing with the $8 a month version.

This was a huge hurdle for me to jump over. Was I going to publish designs I wasn’t completely proud of because I was limited in what I could do? I was considering investing in the premium version myself. I was torn.

I scheduled a coaching call with an advisor at Praxis and he gave me some solid advice. He said a majority of the job of being a designer is making your client happy. If I could compromise and publish something that my client was happy with, I would have fulfilled the goal of completing this project. I decided to think about what I could do with what I had available.

I couldn’t customize the font, layout, or layers within Wordpress, so I designed everything in Sketch. Then I exported all my designs as png files and uploaded them all to the webpage. I created a button to the form by linking an image to a separate page with the form embedded. I created the header of the website by editing the watermark onto a video in Imovie, exporting it to Youtube, and uploading the youtube video to automatically play at the top of the page.

After doing all that, my client said he was thrilled with how it looked. He told me it was clean, easy to understand, and appreciated my adaptability.

I learned a huge lesson about designing for other people. It’s all about compromise. Sometimes my vision was challenging to communicate. I learned to be more adaptable, use feedback often, and ship something that gets the job done, even though I know it isn’t perfect.