Design and SMBs

28 06 2010

Some time ago I have read a book that mentioned that design is the ultimate step to achieve quality.

Definitively the statement is not wrong, most great products are very well designed. The problems comes in my opinion when thinking from the perspective of a small business owner and the possibilities of getting design that is affordable. The question would be: are small businesses capable of achieving great design?

Before answering I would need to give more details of my observations.

I see that our world is changing and transforming itself into an “skills aware” place. That is good news for people constantly looking to become better and what they are already good. More people finds that they don’t need a corporation to back their initiatives and each time more professionals feel proud about being independent. Technology allows individuals to connect with others and that provides an unprecedented flexibility.

If the previous is true then I could conclude that small companies and big ones should take advantage of the same opportunities individual professionals have. The challenge is that currently most of them don’t have the same experience than independent professionals and their vision is basically on making money by saving.

In my opinion any kind of business organization should fulfill one special pre-requisite: provide the environment and infrastructure for independent professionals to express their talent. The ideal of every knowledge worker is to be able to concentrate on the project without many worries: paying the bills, finding new customers, etc.

In other words, companies should be built to help professionals achieve their goals, improve their skills and create excellent products and services for the company where they work (common goal). Currently employees work to help the company to get more money. Understanding that is very important; individuals without clear goals, professional ambitions and lack of interest on their own legacy are definitively narrowing their chances of success.

Going back to the question about affordable design, I would say that the world of design is full of great and talented professionals that respect their individuality and recognize their skills, they need flexible schedules and time for inspiration. It is a group of people that already knows what is to work independently. If SMBs acknowledges that designers require flexibility, independence and peace of mind and that their business should be a system focused on creating value and profitability, then I’m sure that designers will be willing to help them.

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SharePoint and WordPress hosting

24 03 2009

We have set an infrastructure to host SharePoint sites and our great SharePoint Simple Cms. But we realize that hosting other platforms is great for our audience. If you have some suggestions or opinions I would really appreciate if you send them to me.





2009 plans: free hosting for Web designers.

19 03 2009

This year, as you know very well, started with big news about the economy. After a couple of months of adjustments and planning I’m feeling confident to start sharing some of the plans we have for our community of Web designers.

As you may know, B4Contact, works for long time with SharePoint and offers SharePoint hosting. Currently we host more than 15% of the schools in Slovenia and we have customers from many different countries and activities. Thousands of users are working with us.

This year we wish to be very proactive in offering our hosting service and we don’t want to let designers our of the scope.

SharePoint is a great platform for collaboration and project management. There you can create sites for your customers so they can see the progress on the project, download documents, upload texts, images, etc. SharePoint can notify you by email when one of your customers requires something. Apart of that, SharePoint can help you to manage your business; there you can keep track of your expenses, paid or unpaid invoices, database of customers, etc.

We would like to offer 50 Web sites for qualified Web designers. Totally free.

Why? Simple, because we believe that if you learn to use it for yourself you could get interested in offering your Web sites with our hosting services.

The 50 Web sites will be provided to the selected designers together with an online workshop (1 hour) so you could learn to use SharePoint.

if you are interested send me an email to jose.morales at b4contact.com

Be sure to include a link to your Web site, Blog and link to your portfolio.





Our second member on board: Andreas Viklund

8 03 2008

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Our “Web Designers Sharing Point” is moving forward. I’m very glad to announce that Andreas Viklund is now part of the team.

Making designers to believe that the offer of this Blog is real and honest is truly a matter of time. Definitively getting professionals to participate is an interesting task.

Andreas is a well known web designer of CSS templates and recognized developer of some very well used WordPress themes.

Stay tuned, soon we will be posting new free templates for you to download.





Sponsorship for developing a CSS web site template

18 11 2007

What about having available more design templates for web sites?

In B4Contact we are interested to sponsor the development of a CSS web template (new one) and then share it to the community. you can use a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License so all the users would know who is the designer but at the same time they could use it for commercial purposes and for transforming it in something different.

If interested just contact me writing to jose.morales (at) b4contact.com

here there is a list of other sources of templates:

  1. Solucija
  2. Andreas Viklund
  3. templateworld (they are not free)

We would share the templates in this Blog.





Web design and open source

9 10 2007

I’m very surprised to find in many places on the Internet so many sources of free templates, themes and graphic design for web sites. What made me think is that that kind of open source and free templates are definitively a problem for commercial designers. Then I found that I’m wrong.

When visiting some of the better elaborated works I found that the designers are actually making free and open source high quality templates only for promotion. On their web sites it is possible to see many great samples of their commercial work and it is really amazing what they are doing.

But until now looks like I said nothing new. Of course they can make free templates for promotion. But the huge difference with other kind of open source initiative is that the high quality is so obvious, because is graphical and visible in opposition to code development for example, that their templates can get famous very fast and that can offer designers many great possibilities. This is the case of WordPress themes and other kind of highly used services online.

Open source templates can help other professionals, like web developers, to use graphic design with correct code and integrate it with their web applications. One good sample of that is www.b4business.si, a community site in Slovenian language that uses an open source template (the same that this Blog is using!). What is different? The template is now integrated with a CMS system and instead of working in PHP works perfectly with .NET technologies. All the contents of the page are editable using the browser, no need of HTML or programming knowledge.

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