Designers starting freelance as a profession may have the skills to complete the work, but most lack the know-how to communicate with their clients. By ‘communication’ I mean the interaction between client and freelancer and any information exchanged in the freelance job. Communication is the most important part of the freelance process because it dictates the client-freelancer relationship, the creative process, and the final product.
How can beginner design freelancers address communication barriers with clients to increase efficient workflow in the creative process?
Instead of scouring the web for articles, blogs, and resources that may or may not have the information you need. Freelance designers now have a primary, easily accessible, source where they can learn how to overcome frequent barriers of client-freelancer communication.
Freelancers who deal in design (whether that be: graphic, web, textile, animation, ect.) all could benefit from further education on how to communicate with their clients.
My research began by narrowing down the methods I could use to gather data to get the best results. From that point I narrowed down 3 qualitative sources of data I could draw answers from: online communities of freelancers, personal friends, and university faculty. The resulting research was conducted in 3 steps. First, I submitted an online survey with 120 respondents. Asking questions relating to their personal experience with clients in the past, and where they say communication barriers pop-up during the job. This helped me identify common pain points that existed through a wide range of experience. Second, I interviewed 14 people who fit my target audience, including; full time freelancers, design students, and professors. This data revealed ways that experienced freelancers dealt with design barriers. Lastly, I reviewed lecture material from conferences and Ted Talks on professional effective communication to provide reference on how people have dealt with communication barriers in the past.
I wanted the solution to build on the 5 points of communication I found that were common between most freelancers experience. Aesthetically, I wanted it to appeal to my target audience (designers) with colors that pop and illustrations that relate to the information presented. At the same time I wanted the layout to be clean, and not detracting information away from the users attention to the information.
To educate beginner freelance designers on the most prevalent barriers in communication between freelancers and their clients I created a website called The 5 Points. This site serves as a hub of information, resources, and helpful tips from experienced freelance professionals on how to overcome these five barriers.
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