What do Freelance Themers want to see in a Help Wanted post?

Michael-Inet's picture

Hi Themers,

I recently posted a Theming Job [1] which produced a lot of spam [2], but zero replies showing the person had read the post and/or could follow application instructions. I thought the application instructions were insanely easy (one link, estimate, ask questions), but I guess no one read down that far?

In any event, as I still need the work done, and I apparently need to re-write the job rec., so:

What do Freelance Themers want to see in a Help Wanted post?

Any sort of concrete list of what to include to get valid people to reply would be wonderful.

Thanks,
Michael

[1] https://groups.drupal.org/node/437773
[2] The most amusing spammer was Drupal Connect. Auto-bot instructions completely ignoring the entire post.

Edit:
Link to content with [ [some text] ] removed as it wasn't working.

Comments

Link

anruether's picture

Hi Michael,
the correct link would help ;) https://groups.drupal.org/node/437773
For everything else, I'm not yet in the position to give a good answer.
Best,
Andi

A couple things stand out to

kthull's picture

A couple things stand out to me.

First off, there is no approved site design. Not all themers are designers and vice versa. In my own case, I can occasionally pull off a great site design, but I can pretty much convert any PDF/PSD/whatever into a theme.

Secondly, you're looking to support some really old browsers. IE6+ is a terrifying thing to see in a spec, especially with global usage of IE8 down to 10% according to http://theie8countdown.com (and IE6/7 essentially gone from the planet). I, for one, rarely even support IE8 in my work.

And for me personally, flat rate bids with a dev I don't know, a client I don't know, and the above mentioned items all seem like something I'd steer clear of. Just too many unknowns.

It might help to indicate budget range. With discovery, design and actual theming, I'd bet you're looking a fairly high price tag.

Hope this helps and good luck finding someone!

I organize camps!
DrupalCamp Fox Valley: http://drupalcampfv.org
MidCamp: http://midcamp.org

Hi, I am a

Enno's picture

Hi,
I am a designer/themer/frontend-developer, so will try to give input. First of all, I think you do a good job of structuring your post and giving helpful information. It does miss some points though, that i would request to know before feeling comfortable making an offer.

Additional information needed (my personal PoV):

  • Is the site already created and filled with content?
  • Is all the necessary functionality to display content established (Views, Panels, Blocks, etc)?
  • Do i work on your environment or set up my own?
  • Do we use Git or any kind of version control?
  • Can I use a preprocessor like Sass/Less on the subtheme?
  • is there any single task you could think of that I have to do that cannot be done by touching/creating archives in the sub-theme folder? -> Important checkpoint for both of us, that scope is clear and understood
  • Number of content types, expected pages?
  • Time frame?
  • Budget range. I cannot compete with some east-asian companies on price, so I will not bother contacting if you expect something like e.g. $300 to cover that work.
  • Payment modalities
  • Who signs off on work? You? Your client?

Things that irritate me:

  • IE6+ -> If you need a responsive web design, this requirement make some things difficult to impossible. Ie8+ or IE9+ would be more inline with modern designs
  • Don't mix the client theme with "additional work", make two posts instead
  • I cannot figure out easily if you are an established, registered business. Giving me information about your business location makes you more trustworthy in my eyes.

Hope that helps.

IE6 is probably a deal killer

friendlymachine's picture

I don't think it will be easy to find someone eager to take on a project that needs to support IE6. Are you sure you really need that?

Some points of agreement with the other posters:

And for me personally, flat rate bids with a dev I don't know, a client I don't know, and the above mentioned items all seem like something I'd steer clear of. Just too many unknowns.

Budget range. I cannot compete with some east-asian companies on price, so I will not bother contacting if you expect something like e.g. $300 to cover that work.

Don't mix the client theme with "additional work", make two posts instead

John Hannah
Friendly Machine

IE6 Support

holyfire's picture

I'd also agree with pretty much everyone on the IE6 issues. For a traditional consumer facing site like this I don't see the justification.

A couple other considerations that you might want to look into:

  • What is the logic and reasoning behind dictating the theme framework? Traditionally you don't ask a plumber what kind of wrench he uses, but instead focus on the final result. Ditto on the slideshow, FAQ.. etc. Keep your options open.
  • Have you simply considered implementing an off the shelf theme that's already built and gives you everything you want. For example I've steered a ton of clients to this guy... Custom theming that really works and covers all the bases even on something simple in my estimation will start in the 5k range.
  • Flat rate bidding without an extremely detailed RFP and complete design would be a deal breaker for me.
  • Looks like you also didn't address some other fundamental questions... Content Strategy and Review, SEO, Analytics.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
— Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto)

@holyfire re that themeforest

betarobot's picture

@holyfire re that themeforest in general, the themes they sell are only good if you follow exact design and setup they provide. I had a few clients who would later spend hundreds of $ on modifying what they had with a $50 package. Sort of good design guideline, but really needs some work to make it yours.

But agree with everybody that IE6 is nonsense to support nowadays. It is somewhat possible, but then you really have to invest a lot in it. It is official dropped while ago even by Microsoft. Now we have IE9+ only as any plausible standard.

Additional Thoughts

holyfire's picture

The question is finding an existing theme that functionally does what it is supposed to and is widely used (and extensively tested by the community) may make more sense and be a more cost effective solution than a full on custom project.

I also think that in the vast majority of cases customizing an existing theme is significantly less expensive than greenfield theme development. This is the methodology that most of the Wordpress uses, modify your design to fit the theme rather than vice versa... I'm not saying either approach is right or wrong but worth considering.

I still don't like the idea of supporting IE8 or less but there is a compelling argument (and this is size and audience considerations) that as designers and developers we need to do the best job we can supporting any and every device within reason. For example many folks in the world who make less than a dollar a day may only have Opera mobile on a vintage candybar phone. By neglecting those people you may be neglecting literally hundreds or thousands of customers (or really rich non technical folks). I am however being the devil's advocate here...

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
— Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto)

The question is finding an

Enno's picture

The question is finding an existing theme that functionally does what it is supposed to and is widely used (and extensively tested by the community) may make more sense and be a more cost effective solution than a full on custom project.

No, that is not the question. It is, at best, an option. If adapting a theme is more cost effective than creating one from scratch (based on a decent starter theme) is highly debatable and in the end will depend a lot on experience and methodology. Based on my own experience, there is a very high percentage of projects where adapting an existing theme is neither the best, nor the least expensive option.

I also think that in the vast majority of cases customizing an existing theme is significantly less expensive than greenfield theme development.

Same point as above, highly subjective and depending on past clients/projects, people might agree or disagree with you. It is certainly not a fact.

This is the methodology that most of the Wordpress uses, modify your design to fit the theme rather than vice versa... I'm not saying either approach is right or wrong but worth considering.

I would not go as far as call it a methodology, but I agree with you that it is a common approach to get things done in the Wordpress world. And in my eyes, that is a bad thing for Wordpress website owners - they lose control over their design.

There is a reason, why bigger projects and companies in general hardly ever use that approach. It is prone to errors, high maintenance costs and a lot of CSS garbage that is never used.

I still don't like the idea of supporting IE8 or less but there is a compelling argument (and this is size and audience considerations) that as designers and developers we need to do the best job we can supporting any and every device within reason.

I am with you on that point, I guess everyone would pretty much agree to that statement.

For example many folks in the world who make less than a dollar a day may only have Opera mobile on a vintage candybar phone. By neglecting those people you may be neglecting literally hundreds or thousands of customers (or really rich non technical folks). I am however being the devil's advocate here...

And now you lost me again. Let's take your own site as an example: www.meredith.com

It is targeted at american women. That seems to me a typical business case and a well defined target group, of which not a single person is likely to use "Opera on a vintage candybar phone". So I highly doubt, that you optimized your site for that purpose in case you get some visits from a rural African area. As far as I see it, OP's case, as well as a high percentage of business websites have a similar well specified target group, where IE8+ or IE9+ could be argued to be the best option depending on details.

Additional Thoughts

holyfire's picture

@enno ...

No, that is not the question. It is, at best, an option. If adapting a theme is more cost effective than creating one from scratch (based on a decent starter theme) is highly debatable and in the end will depend a lot on experience and methodology. Based on my own experience, there is a very high percentage of projects where adapting an existing theme is neither the best, nor the least expensive option.

This is debatable and I think worth discussing, no one in the whole conversation string brought a solution which may have been the best one to the client. In a rosy world we'd see everyone with a super special whiz-bang custom theme. The reality is that what happens is that a customer instead of even being given the option instead chooses another CMS and the overall community does not grow.

One of the chief criticisms of the Drupal community (and I think your post openly shows it) is a failure to be cost effective, easy to use and easy to understand. By ensuring only the very technical and/or the those with deep pockets drop into the ecosystem does a disservice to everyone.

And in my eyes, that is a bad thing for Wordpress website owners - they lose control over their design.

A client will rarely if ever have complete control of a design. At what cost? I'm still not convinced that a custom solution is more cost effective than modifying a well build theme. I was not referring to bigger companies and/or projects (which I don't believe this particular project was in all reality).

And now you lost me again. Let's take your own site as an example: www.meredith.com

It is targeted at american women. That seems to me a typical business case and a well defined target group, of which not a single person is likely to use "Opera on a vintage candybar phone". So I highly doubt, that you optimized your site for that purpose in case you get some visits from a rural African area. As far as I see it, OP's case, as well as a high percentage of business websites have a similar well specified target group, where IE8+ or IE9+ could be argued to be the best option depending on details.

A real world example would be something like amazon.com or perhaps something like iowa.gov. In which case reaching the widest possible audience does make a difference. My belief is that with device proliferation to ignore any one platform you do so at your own peril and I'm reluctant to do so. The principal of universality (Tim Berners-Lee) and RWD shouldn't end at IE9. For example on a daily basis I use a Nokia 1020 (snicker away audience), I chose this device because it takes fantastic pictures, it's also hobbled with a mobile browser that for whatever reason will often render pages badly (New York Times, etc. all). To me it makes business sense and community sense for us at any company to support as many devices as we can (even though we struggle to do it). I'd at least like to believe that we can do better as a community. With device proliferation I am not certain that we really have a choice, I also think that it can be done well.

I'm hopeful in my own little way this contributes and adds value to the discussion.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
— Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto)

A few respectful points of disagreement

friendlymachine's picture

The reality is that what happens is that a customer instead of even being given the option instead chooses another CMS and the overall community does not grow. One of the chief criticisms of the Drupal community (and I think your post openly shows it) is a failure to be cost effective, easy to use and easy to understand. By ensuring only the very technical and/or the those with deep pockets drop into the ecosystem does a disservice to everyone.

I used to feel the same way, but I've come to strongly feel that Drupal isn't the right solution for everyone. Comparing Drupal to WordPress, for example, isn't understanding things properly. They aren't meant for the same types of sites or the same end users. Ditto for many other CMS platforms out there.

Drupal is enormously flexible and powerful. It's hard to have a system like that and have it be easy to use. Sure, it could be easier to use, but it's not intended for the lay person. Even if you're just site building in the UI, the number of things you can do is vast.

We have to stop chasing market share and focus on the users that can get the most value from Drupal. That means focusing on those that build (and pay for) highly custom content management systems - the very thing that Drupal excels at.

Most small clients would be better off with WordPress and many folks using WordPress would be better off using a service like Squarespace. Paul Boag has a comment I think if very spot on:

Content management systems are a tool for enabling digital professionals to manage online content. They are not for the ‘masses’. These are powerful, complex systems that allow a high degree of control.

More control and functionality than should be in the hands of non-specialists. Admittedly, in an organisation with a high degree of digital expertise this might not be the case. But as a general principle I believe it stands.

I came to this view after seeing many situations where the CMS overwhelmed an organization, particularly if it was a small organization without dedicated IT resources. Reducing choice increases simplicity and decreases cognitive load. Drupal is all about lots of choices.

A good Drupal architect can (and should) create simplicity for certain roles - content editors, for example - but again, that's a relatively expensive proposition because that isn't Drupal out of the box, nor should it be. A project shouldn't be about promoting Drupal as much as about selecting the right system for a given client. We shouldn't try to make any system, no matter how fond we are of it, fit into a role it isn't designed to fill.

John Hannah
Friendly Machine

We have to stop chasing

Enno's picture

We have to stop chasing market share and focus on the users that can get the most value from Drupal. That means focusing on those that build (and pay for) highly custom content management systems - the very thing that Drupal excels at.

I agree with your first sentence, but I am not sure if would draw the same conclusions. The funny thing about Drupal is that even though it becomes more complex with each version, raising its prerequisites on server hardware and necessary site-administrator knowledge, it also becomes more packagable. I am faster at creating, distributing and administrating Drupal sites in Version 7 than I was with 6 due to better tools available. And Drupal 8 will be another huge step forward in that direction. Combine that with relatively new technologies like CDN, Docker, and similar and suddenly the complexity of the CMS does not matter anymore, because i can prepare custom builds upfront for different customers and concentrate my time on the design details. This is an area where I would Drupal to expect to grow in the future with smaller clients, because it becomes easier to administrate and pre-configure it through automation.

You hand the site over and

friendlymachine's picture

You hand the site over and then what? If you've got a support arrangement, then things will probably be just fine. In fact, that's a pretty great arrangement for small clients that genuinely need what Drupal has to offer. But what happens if you don't have support in place and the client has to update core? What if they go in and try to edit a view? Or even install a new module? I get contacted by folks in this situation frequently and it's like sweeping up after an elephant.

So, I'm not thinking so much about how long it takes a dev to theme a site. I thinking about the complexity of managing the site and everything that comes after that. No matter how slick your development process, that's only one piece of it. And there are so many use cases where you simply can't configure or design things in advance. They are based on requirements unique to the project. Maybe we're thinking of different types of sites here.

And the discussion about packaged themes - these are things often purchased by bootstrappers and other small businesses. It's not a good match in my view.

I'm sure you can crank out a theme in short order. I'm not so sure a small client will be able to successfully manage that site. That's why I say something simpler like WordPress or Squarespace would be better for that market segment. So while it may be possible to quickly crank out a brochure site, I don't think it's a good match for that type of client. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you.

For me, if a client only has a $3000 budget for a site, they will be better off going to Squarespace and spending the balance on a photographer and a copywriter.

John Hannah
Friendly Machine

You hand the site over and

Garrett Albright's picture

You hand the site over and then what? … But what happens if you don't have support in place and the client has to update core? What if they go in and try to edit a view? Or even install a new module? I get contacted by folks in this situation frequently and it's like sweeping up after an elephant.

Very rarely would I give clients permissions to edit Views or enable new modules unless I were sure they had the technical competency to understand the ramifications of doing these things. I give clients only the permissions they need to do what they need to do on the site. It keeps them out of trouble and saves us both headaches.

Yep, that's why I said, If

friendlymachine's picture

Yep, that's why I said,

If you've got a support arrangement, then things will probably be just fine. In fact, that's a pretty great arrangement for small clients that genuinely need what Drupal has to offer.

Thing is, I've come across many, many small business sites where there wasn't a support arrangement. The majority, in fact. Updates go neglected for months or even years! Sometimes I get a call because the poor upkeep has resulted in a hack and they need immediate help.

My point here is that managing a Drupal site is for professionals and it's not something to hand off to a non-technical client. But in my personal experience, the vast majority of small businesses are left on their own - often by their own choice - and find they are unable to properly manage their site.

Drupal can be a great choice for the small client that needs custom content types, the flexibility of Views, taxonomy and granular permissions - but they also need to be able to afford ongoing support. If not, Drupal isn't a good fit.

John Hannah
Friendly Machine

One of the chief criticisms

Enno's picture

One of the chief criticisms of the Drupal community (and I think your post openly shows it) is a failure to be cost effective, easy to use and easy to understand.

That is kind of an unnecessary low blow, don't you think? I am not sure how any of my sentences lead you to that conclusion regarding the Drupal community.

If you don't believe me, that people can produce a theme from scratch as fast and as cost effective as other people would adapt purchased themes, that is fine with me, but please don't draw such generalizing conclusions regarding the Drupal community from my lack of sympathy for purchased themes.

At this point I am really not sure how to convince you how easy and fast it can be to create a clean, remarkable theme design using the right tools of modern web frontend development that come with modern base themes (Less, Sass, Grunt, Livereload, grid systems, Bootstrap, etc. take your pick), but than again it isn't my job to do so. The good thing about Drupal is that it allows different approaches and that we don't have to agree on how to serve our customers best.

All in one reply

Michael-Inet's picture

Hi All,

Replying to everyone at once...

The biggest thing I think I'm hearing is I didn't clarify I want a Theme and not a site build? And, themers have been burned too many times to ask a few questions / make suggestions to give flat rate bids?

My assumption is that, as any professional trying to employ a professional in a related field, I'm open to the specs being changed per your knowledge of your field.

Here's the detailed replies.

#-#-#

@Andi (anruether)

Thanks, fixed.

@Kevin (kthull)
> no approved site design

Thanks! for the heads up. This is an expansion of what I thought I had implied, but obviously not ;)

It's a straight copy of The Good Dog structures. e.g. The Good Dog is the PDF/PSD/whatever.

Images, text and all content will be provided by clients (or me). Standard use of block regions for section placements, so that if a client doesn't want a front page slider, disabling that block won't leave visual residue and won't otherwise impact the site beside it just not being there.

If there are requirements the themer needs from me to make things work, that's not a problem. e.g. If there is a need for specific machine names for content types to feed the front page slider so they get displayed properly, I can do that.

On the other hand, I have had horrible experiences trying to make client purchased themes 'work,' so, I don't want things hard coded down to individual block level. Which I've seen too much of, and clients then have no normal method to change those items.

The end result needs to support standard Drupal client use. They add content through the normal 'Add content' mechanism, it shows up, they're happy.

@Kevin (kthull)
@John (friendlymachine)
@Aaron (holyfire)
> flat rate bids with a dev I don't know

I'm not sure how to answer this. If someone asks me for a flat rate bid, I go explore their business and ask any questions I might need to make the bid. If they're showing themselves to be obtuse during Q&A, then the bid increases to cover the ambiguity.

I gave a link to one of my primary sources of income, my footer copyright indicates I've been in business since 1996, my Drupal Username shows Member for 6 years 10 months, and a big blatant Drupal Association Organization Member badge is on my posts.

I make flat rate bids on backend website work all the time. I even give away Free Website Plan Analysis, as... well, read the page: http://inet-design.com/blogs/michael/free-website-plan-analysis-and-modu...

Maybe backend work is easier to price than frontend work? Or, are themers burned that often by idiot clients?

@Kevin (kthull)
@Enno (Enno)
@John (friendlymachine)
> budgets
> I cannot compete with some east-asian companies on price

More than $100, less than $10,000. Which, okay, tells you nothing...

I want this to be my goto theme to offer clients the use of, hence the color support and what I thought all the Zen 7.x-5.x features at a glance were going to provide.

@Andrey (betarobot)
@Aaron (holyfire)
> themeforest

I touched on it above, and I have to agree strongly with Andrey. I've had clients pay me hundreds to fix a $79 dollar theme, because the theme had everything buried deep inside hardcoded blocks. The total price to the client was still probably cheaper than a paying for a theme from scratch, as, while time consuming, it's not that difficult to convert a hardcode block to a content type driven one.

@Enno (Enno)

Why are you making the assumptions that you're making? A 60 second look at my site shows that I run a broad spectrum backend Drupal shop, up to and including having my own DNS cluster and providing FailOver Backup and High Availability Solutions.

The Waggy Tails site is live, it already has 30+ items of content. What tools you use are your own business and you are the themer, if you need Sass/Less then tell a client that.

> sub-theme folder

Yes that's the only folder you get to play in.

> environment

I can give you tarballs of Waggy Tails and/or give you dev space with a dev copy of Waggy Tails installed (SSH/cPanel account).

> Who signs off on work?

I do.

I think I've touched everyone, so, stopping with the @'s ...

> IE6 (browser versions in general)

- IE6+ came from a recent client forwarding me one of their users having a display problem with IE6. The Zen project page also indicates Optional IE6/7 Support out of the box.

- Firefox 10+ came from the default version of Firefox (10.0.5) installed on my work machine (CentOS 6)

- Chrome 27+ came from Chrome 27 being the last rev available for CentOS 6, before Google discontinued Chrome for CentOS/Red Hat.

Again, I would expect the themer to set me straight, like you've all done :), and get on with businesses.

> Don't mix the client theme with "additional work", make two posts instead

They are highly related. Same theme. (see details below)

Here's some additional notes culled from an offline discussion:

> They want

Actually I want, that client isn't web savvy, but they did find a nice reference point.

I want this to be used for multiple sites. I created the list of rec.'s based upon my best guess as what's needed for a modern, responsive theme. I fully expect the designer's input will change the requirements.

> Secondly, a new Zen theme is not really a walk in the park since
> at this point it's still in a transitional state

Ouch. I won't argue with you, but then this should be removed from the Zen project page:

"Zen is a powerful, yet simple, HTML5 starting theme with a responsive, mobile-first grid design."

And I guess all '7.x-5.x features at a glance' should be edited to indicate it's coming and not here yet?

I specified Zen as the base theme because of it's project page and it having 125K+ sites using it. If Zen isn't up to the task , what is a base theme to use for responsive design?

> I'm also interested in what you want for your own site

To be able to use the same theme we're creating and have my Managed Drupal Hosting and NonProfits pages 'un-hand' coded so they're integrated with the theme in use. Additionally:

- I'm not the best at color selection (engineer vs. artist go figure...), I would also like you to do the final UI color selections through the color scheme support.
- Three new slider images to replace the existing slider images from the Devsaran theme I'm currently using.
- Probably others, and whatever of your suggestions I accept.

#-#-#

I thank all of you for replying! It's definitely been enlightening! If there's anything else, please don't hesitate to add it.

Best,

Michael
Internet Design Alliance, owner
http://inet-design.com/

Why are you making the

Enno's picture

Why are you making the assumptions that you're making? A 60 second look at my site shows that I run a broad spectrum backend Drupal shop, up to and including having my own DNS cluster and providing FailOver Backup and High Availability Solutions.

I'm sorry if my comment regarding trustworthiness came off the wrong way. I did not mean to say that you are not trustworthy, I assume you are running a serious business - it was just an example of what might affect my decision.

I guess I am having a European perspective on that point: In most countries in Europe, you are required to put legal information about yourself/your company on your website and have a legal advice. This makes it easy to pre-filter websites from possible contracting agencies and check for their background just by looking at legal information. I understand, that this method might not be applicable in other parts of the world.

EU legal info requirements

Michael-Inet's picture

Hi Enno,

That sounds like a very good idea. Do you have a favorite example of someone who's done a good job writing one of those page(s)?

Thanks,
Michael

I agree with all the points

banghouse's picture

I agree with all the points previously mentioned here but would like to emphasize that asking for a flat rate when no comps, no discovery, no project scope/SOW has been defined is simply unreasonable and reveals a massive lack of experience and understanding of process. Those of us who have been doing this for a decade or more know that providing a flat rate is the fastest way to lose money on a job. And the surest way to destroy a relationship with a client.

Enno's questions in (#comment-1056168) are critical to discovery & determination of how much work is actually required. You'd be surprised but nearly 100% of the time I'm met with people who think they have a simple theming job but in fact have 30-60+ hours of development work before one can even get to theming. It happens all the time. Because what some people think is theming actually winds up being content type creation(fields and node display configuration) and views development. This work is often required just to be able to create content to have to place in the theme regions that need to be styled. Well, THIS IS NOT THEMING!!! It's site-building which falls under the realm of development. And it's this kind of thing that takes learned skill, experience, time and effort to accomplish. All of which must be acknowledged and accounted for in a Statement of work/project requirements specification document. It is also work that deserves proper attribution in billing statements and invoices. This is a major issue that I run into all the time with clients. It's not only a huge mistake for the consultant to provide a flat rate estimate/bid but that it's irrational for the client to expect to receive such a thing.

The process that actually lays a proper foundation for success at this point in a project's lifespan is for the client to give an honest assessment and declaration of their budget range for a given amount of work "required". The consultant is more equipped then to determine exactly how much work can be done within that budget and can also see how best to prioritize their time and effort toward this refined task list. The consultant can and should be a part of the discovery process to help determine as closely as possible what work is actually required and not just simply rely on what the client thinks the requirements may be. But again, the client must provide a reasonable declaration of available budget so that the consultant can determine how much of the work being "required" can actually be done within the given budget. If the two sides aren't able to be honest in this regard the project will inevitably fail.

The hard questions one must ask before embarking upon any project are:

  • Do I care more about cost or quality?
  • How can I balance my expectations to achieve both maximum cost efficiency and superior quality.
  • How can I reset my thinking about this project so that my expectations are realistic in order to avoid creating negative pressure based in irrational thinking on the project which inevitably sabotages the project's success.

When I look at your list of requirements I see several items that you would likely rethink once I tell you how much they are going to cost. Most likely once I explain it to you, you're going to decide that things like "IE6 support" are much too costly to require. Not to mention irrational to even desire making it a requirement. It's ok though. You need to put some information in your ad that identifies what you think needs to be done. This is reasonable. However, my suggestion for appearing more attractive to legitimate professionals is simply, try not to dictate or demand too much. Try to make your current set of "requirements" more like suggestions or items in a list that is malleable; evolving. So when writing an ad trying to hire a qualified professional try to avoid dictating a fixed list of requirements that the consultant reads as you being unwilling to spend the time that project scope discovery actually requires. A true professional understands that this is a critical part of the process toward successful completion of the project and will refuse to skip past it just to get their next gig.

Unfortunately in this industry normal people tend to believe that they know as much as we do about how our job should be done. I attribute this to the fact that normal people play with web technology on a regular basis much more than they do with bulldozers, jackhammers, scalpels or rocket engines. The problem is that they know just enough to be dangerous and not enough to defer to the professional. But a little humility goes a long way. It's a simple show of respect to admit that you require the help of a qualified professional precisely because you don't know how to do their job. In other words, when you go to a doctor, you tell him what's wrong and where it hurts. You don't additionally tell him what you think it is and how to go about fixing it. Or maybe you do. But you shouldn't. Anyway my point is that you've come here asking for help from qualified professionals and you shouldn't dictate to them how they should or shouldn't do their job. You should trust that the developer has your best interest in mind and will provide the best quality product and service based on industry standards. And believe me most any person that has a reputation of any import on Drupal.org is going to behave this way by default. Outside of Drupal.org, you're on your own.

That said, if you're actually searching for the best quality people to work with then what you should be looking for in a consultant/developer is whether they project a sense of self-respect and pride in their work. Not how cheap they price their estimate and how many times they can agree with you and say yes, yes, yes to you to get you to hire them. Trust me you want a developer that knows how to think for themselves and who isn't a hack that could care less what kind of code they deliver to you since they know you wont be able to tell good code from bad code or good process from bad process.

I'm basically trying to say it's ok to have your buzzwords in your ad to show that you have a sense of what is required in order for you to have an awesome modern website. But be willing to let the consultant/developer do the driving. Assuming you've selected your new hire by their character and not the lowest price on the menu, you will likely find that you are in good hands. Because the last thing you want is to pay for something you have to repay for later in repairs or rebuild because it was done the way you wanted it, instead of the way you needed it.

Sorry I went long but I truly wish this dynamic would change in our industry. It is just so common and leads to so much failure.

"Do or do not, there is no try" -- yoda

+1000

friendlymachine's picture

Well said.

John Hannah
Friendly Machine

Excellent Post

karolus's picture

Joel--
You make excellent observations here. I, myself, have been burned in fixed-price projects in the past, and the solicitation for the bid in this thread would make me especially leery.

Part of the challenge I see is people clinging to the waterfall method of project management, and the mindset it creates. With RWD and other emerging technologies, it no longer is practical to completely separate design, IA, content creation, development and deployment. It is an integrated process, and requires knowledgeable people and thorough discovery. Not to mention regular communication with all team members (including the client) throughout the project life cycle in order to keep people abreast of incurred costs and project status.

I have been involved in too many projects where a lack of understanding between the client, project team, and individual team members created a lot of wasted time, money, and frayed nerves that would have been alleviated by a thorough discovery and real collaboration throughout the process.

And, as far as PSD comps are concerned, I have never been involved in a project where what was shown there ended up being the same in the completed Website--and that isn't even factoring in RWD.

Immensely helpful

Michael-Inet's picture

Hi Joel (banghouse),

First, thank you for writing that wall of text.

No seriously. It's immensely helpful. It identifies some clear assumptions I made that negatively impacted me getting any responses I feel were valid, and that was only the first three paragraphs.

I wanted to say that, because I don't have time to give an in depth reply until either late tonight (iffy) or Monday.

Best,
Michael

A wonderful post,

Garrett Albright's picture

A wonderful post, particularly the parts about deferring to experts. I very much relate to these sentiments.

If I remember correctly I did

duckzland's picture

If I remember correctly I did gave you flat rate?

Effective replies to help wanted ads

Michael-Inet's picture

Hi Jason,

No offense, but what you sent didn't seem to indicate you had read down to the how "To Apply:" section as your email didn't follow it.

And, no, you didn't actually give a flat rate, you wrote, "My rates starts from $$ for simple 5 page catalogue site."

I'm willing to go to email if you want to discuss how to change what you sent to not get it sent to spam trash, or, if you want to create a companion post here for, "Effective replies to help wanted ads" for everyone's benefit, I will definitely add to that.

Best,
Michael