Every designer worth his salt wants to improve his productivity. We all want to improve the turnaround time of our projects, so we can take up new ones. Nobody likes to lose a project just because they are short on time. But the hard fact is, not many are able to do it.

The task of increasing productivity becomes even more difficult because designers can’t compromise on quality. More importantly, they need to be creative and come up with new ideas all the time. There is nothing as time consuming as ideation. So, should designers just give up trying to speed up their designing process or should they think of ways to improve their productivity? The choice is a no contest. You must definitely try and make sure that their productivity can be improved.

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Here are 11 best practices that will help you do that:
11 Best Practices for Improving Productivity as a Website Designer

Don’t live and breathe web design

Don’t think about it all the time. This will just lead to more pressure and lead to an idea-block. So, start by not thinking about your web design projects every waking hour. Make sure your work doesn’t come in the way of your interests and preferences. Let your mind relax and think of things other than web design. This will actually help speed up the process of creativity.

Prepare a general list of questions for clients

You will ask your clients lots of questions to understand the project brief better. In order to speed up this process and still make sure you ask them everything you want to, prepare a list of stock questions. Of course, some of the questions will change in accordance with the client’s needs, requirements, and expectations from the web design project, but most of them will remain the same. Fail this, and you’ll keep bumping into the same wall over and over again.

Draw inspiration from websites

There are plenty of successful sites out there and there is no harm in looking at them, is there? You could get an inspiration or two from them and get a reference point for your ideas. Say you get a real estate website design project. In this case, you need to take a look at some of the top-performing real estate websites out there. Check what they are doing right by identifying the design elements that are working for them and come up with your own ideas by using these elements as a reference point. This way you are speeding up the process of getting new ideas.

Get inspiration from everywhere

Don’t limit yourself to websites. Make sure to tap into sources like magazines, architecture, comics, fashion, as well as the work of landscape artists to come up with new ideas. By throwing your net far and wide, you giving yourself more chances of coming up with unique ideas.

Brainstorming is a bottomless pit – know when to stop

I know of designers who spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas for a particular project. The problem here is that if you don’t have a time limit for the brainstorming process, you won’t know when to stop. Develop the ability to recognize a good idea when you hear one, and put an end to the brainstorming. Throwing ideas at one another in a brainstorming session is good fun and a great way of coming up with new ideas, but you must know when you’ve come up with an ideal that will do.

Assess the risk

As soon as you get the project brief, start assessing the risks to the project. Draw up a list of things that can go wrong with the project. Begin working out solutions for these problems right away so that if and when they do crop up, you have a solution for them. As can be imagined, this will help save time and a lot of effort.

Spend more time wire-framing

Some designers make the cardinal error of not giving enough importance to wire-framing their projects. A detailed wireframe makes the actual job of designing a website much simpler and quicker. So, give it the importance it deserves. A comprehensive wireframe allows you to zero in on all your website features, ensures that your design is providing the right user experience, and makes sure that it delivers on your expectations. If you get your wireframe right, there is no doubt you will get your website right.

Keep your clients in the loop

Keep communicating with the main stakeholder of the project. Make sure that the client is kept up-to-date with the project progress at all times. Before you actually begin designing the actual website, make sure that you share the design plan with the client. Make sure they are on board; you don’t want to be reworking your design just because you didn’t communicate with client.

Keep the whole team informed

You and every member of the team need to communicate with one another all the time. Everybody must know where the project is heading and whether it’s headed in the right direction. Communication helps sort out problems before they crop up. This ensures you don’t have to solve problems as a result of miscommunication between team members.

Keep updating your knowledge base

There is something new happening in the world of web design all the time. If you aren’t aware about the latest happenings, you will lose confidence in your ability to come up with new and better designs all the time. So, if you really don’t have a very good idea about responsive web design, or flat design, or the latest designing approach, you will take more time to come up with designs.

Give it some time

Be patient. If you take note of the best practices, there is very little doubt you will be able to come up with winning designs quickly. All you need to do is keep getting better and better at what you are doing. The more experience and expertise you gain, the more your productivity increases – it’s as simple as that!

So, take note of these best practices and implement them. I am sure you will be able to improve your project completion speed considerably. In fact, you will be surprised by your own productivity!

About the Author: Abhishek Agarwal heads ecommerce and online store development at Rightway Solution, an open source web design company. Abhishek is also a mobile app evangelist. He’s always available for a chat or hangout on .
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