Masbooq Ahsan: webdesigner
Welcome to my site, here you can find my advertising and design portfolio. And other great design links. I am currently a full time creative director in Riyadh, SaudiArabia, but also open to freelance assignments. My client base is reflective of the diversity of my experience, ranging from individual artists and designers to complex high profile clients. If you have any comments or suggestions about the site, I would love to hear them from you. Just click on the CONTACT.
I have expertise in designing of print-based and on-screen graphics, image creation, enhancement, manipulation and optimization. I have excellent web designing skills with an emphasis on HTML, CSS and Flash authoring. I have more than 9 years solid working experience on both Macantosh and PC platforms on a variety of softwares.
------------------------------------------------------ ديكور منصةمؤتمر القمة الثالث ------ الرياض 1428 هـ ----------------------------------------------
Stage design & decoration of The Third OPEC Summit Riyadh, KSA, 17–18 November 2007
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BAND ROLL --------
• Interactive Design
• Magazine Spreads
• Packaging design
• POP design ADVERTISING
• Magazine ads
• Outdoor ads
• Direct mail
• Business Cards
• Self Promotional Pieces
• Company Brochures
* تصميم الشعارات والعلامات التجارية .
* تنفيذ الحملات الإعلانية .
* تنفيذ الإعلانات التلفزيونية .
* قسم خاص بتنفيذ الطباعة ، الفلكس - البنر - استكر - البوسترات
* تصميم وابتكار العلب .
* تصميم وإخراج المجلات .
* استشارات إعلانية وتسويقية
Principles of Design--- Click
When competing for web design
When competing for web design/implementation contracts; a professionally presented web design proposal more often than not decides whether you win or lose the project. A web design proposal also decreases the incidences of misunderstandings between yourself and your clients when the project is under way and acts as a basis for a formal contract.
When putting together a basic web site proposal, you should include the following elements:
Your Information: Your background or company history, qualifications, skills, past achievements and contact details.
Project Overview: The company you are Submiting the proposal for, your understanding of their products and services, the target market, the goals of the web site and a rough outline of how you will acheive them.
Theme: A description of style of site you are proposing. Elements from the client's current branding you will utilise or new elements you will develop.
Special Considerations: such as language, security or other issues pertaining to the company, site or target market that will need to be addressed.
Flowchart: A diagram showing the different pages of the site how navigation will occur.
Flowchart Description: A detailed description of each page.
Development Timeline: This should be a description of each stage of development, the estimated completion date and notes regarding client consultation and supply of information/feedback from the client. This may also include milestone payments for involved projects and site promotion activities. Make it clear that traffic takes time to build up after implementation and promotion should only occur after the site has been tested thoroughly. Improper implementation can cost months of traffic.
Costing: A descriptive breakdown of costing and total of quote including an end date before the price will need to be re-calculated. This will include items such as domain name registration, hosting fees and outsourcing for sections of the site you will not be able to develop yourself. Ensure you take into account items including travel time, electricity,telephone amd consumables. Factor in the cost of the proposal as well; a good proposal will take hours of your time and you should be compensated for that. In your eagerness to gain the contract, you may lose money if you quote too close to the bone. Bear in mind that things rarely go strictly to plan in web design and delays can be expected. Time is money. The going rate for web design services seems to be between US- per labour hour at present; dependent upon the complexity of the task and the competency of the designer.
Terms and conditions: Expectations and commitments. It is not unusual for web projects to be delayed due to clients not supplying feedback or content necessary to complete sections. It is just as important to be clear in what you expect from your clients as well as explaining your commitment to them. Conflict resolution issues and feedback mechanisms should be described. Your clients will need to know what will occur if they do not supply information when requested, or request changes mid-stream and the action that you will take if you are running behind in the project yourself. You need to be clear on payment details and consequences of failure to pay for the services that you provide.
Mock-ups (samples). Be careful not to give too much away, just enough to give the client a good idea of what the site will look like. Ensure copyright notices and intellectual property statements are in place.
Maintenance. Summarise an offer of ongoing site maintenance or the implications of the client deciding to update or maintain the site themselves after it has been established.
The above points are usually sufficient to put together a professional web design proposal for a small to medium project. If drafting a proposal based on criteria given to you by the prospective client; be sure to address all the points. If the client suggests the proposal documentation be a certain format, respect that. In the culling process, the first proposals to be binned will be the ones that do not address all the criteria the client has laid down.
Bear in mind that not all the web design proposals you submit will be accepted. Be prepared to do some heavy revisions to satisfy your clients and to find a middle ground where all parties feel comfortable. A prospective client asking for revisions is a good sign - they are genuinely interested. Also remember that some companies will ask you for proposals purely to use as a comparison against another designer that they are interested in utilising; so try and limit the amount of time you spend on the draft until the client gives indication of serious interest.
If you would like some information on where and how to locate freelance web development employment and projects; follow this link:
First Impressions on the Internet
While most of this column will deal with things that make for bad first impressions, it is vital that we identify what makes for good first impressions.
Content is king on the internet, but how it is presented can determine whether or not it ever gets seen. Therefore, an appealing appearance is important to get readers to view the content.
If the opening page of a web site has a nice appearance (neither boring nor migraine-inducing), has enough content to tell what the site is about, makes it easy to find your way around the site, and loads quickly enough to keep the viewer from going into a coma while waiting, chances are there will be a decent first impression.
Amazingly, there are thousands of web sites on the internet that do not meet those simple criteria. Here is a look at the various problems that can make people regret ever visiting a web site:
آ· Slow loading: Either because of the amount of content on the page, large graphics, Flash introductions, or Java applets, pages can seemingly take forever to load. Considering that there is about a 30-45 second span that readers are willing to wait - and the actual number is more likely closer to 30 seconds - the things that are slow loading are actually counterproductive if you want readers to hang around.
That is not to say you cannot have Flash, applets, and large graphics, but take steps to help them load more quickly. Make the Flash less involved, use tiny applets, and break the photos into slices so at least the viewers can see something positive happening.
Another area in which designers can help the viewer is by optimizing images. There are several software prorams available that enable the builder to see the graphic and several options that can be used to reduce the grahic's size. Find them. Use them.
آ· Ambiguous design: You see these sites all the time. Perhaps it's because people are trying to be too artistic, perhaps because they are techno heads trying to show off their skills, or maybe it's because their site lacks content.
We've all seen sites where you have to search for the navigation - some even hidden until you mouse over it - and after awhile, it isn't worth it. It's like searching for Waldo, without the fun
The bottom line: if the site gives the reader a front page with no clear indication of navigation, topic, or intent, then why bother? It's like food â€” never eat anything you can't identify.
I recently ran across a site that had far too much navigation on the front page. In all, there were four menus, three doing the same thing, and another that could only be considered a sub-menu at best. My first thought was, "What is all this about?" I still cannot find any reason to have a menu for every four inches of screen space.
It does, however, make sense to have a menu high on the page and one at the bottom to prevent having readers who go through the entire front page to have to scroll back to the top to find a menu.
Another area in which people throw readers off is by the use of image maps for navigation that do not clearly guide the reader. Here is where mouseovers often are at the root of the problem, because readers have to guess what items are actually links and what items are little more than filler for the graphic.
آ· Ugly design: If people are distracted by hideous color combinations, they may tend to not take the site seriously. Thus, any message delivered will most likely be either missed or discounted. There is no substitute for good taste. Poor graphics can also turn off a viewer.
It is an unfortunate (perhaps) fact that such appearance reflects on the business owning the site; therefore, business owners need to make sure their site has a good appearance and speak up if it doesn't.
آ· Unwanted popups: I have yet to find anyone who likes to have their internet surfing interrupted by intrusive popups. Some, like me, will even go to the extent of using a piece of software that prevents said items from opening in the first place.
The problem is that if you use popups to present material on your site, many viewers will never see it, and still others will discount it thinking it is an advertisement. The fact is that most people quit reading popup books when they grow past the toddler stage, and they sure don't want it to slow down their internet surfing.
Further, if you allow popups on your site that are not related to the content of your site, that will likely anger surfers, too. Who wants to spend half their time online closing unwanted popup windows? Alienating viewers is not the way to build success for a web site.
آ· Sites under construction: Hey, if it isn't done, don't put it on the internet. Those cute little construction animations don't cut it. Repeat: Content is king. If there isn't any content, keep it on your hard drive.
However, let's say that you just got your domain and are building your site for the first time. Then it would make sense to give some information to your readers about your site's future content, when it is expected to be done, and why they should be willing to come back when it is completed. Presented in a professional, nice looking way, this can make a good first impression.
آ· Text problems: I hate opening a page and seeing wall-to-wall text (and sometimes even wider so that it requires horizontal scrolling). Can you imagine picking up a newspaper and seeing nothing by the same sized text from top to bottom without anything else? Just because it is on a monitor does not make it any less repulsive. Who wants to read all that? Say it succinctly and go on with your life. Otherwise, it is boring!
آ· Text problems II: Some people try to be cute and hide text on a page by making it the same color as the background, supposedly in hopes of fooling the search engines. Get a life. Even worse are those who are not trying to hide text but select a backround color that makes it virtually impossible to read the text.
آ· Text problems III: Some people make the front page by using huge type only. No photos, no regular copy, just 60 point type or larger. These are good sites to remember so that you can contact them about building them a professional web site.
آ· Text problems IV: I am always amazed at how many sites have front pages littered with misspellings and punctuation errors. Am I talking about sites built by 12-year-olds? No, I'm talking about major corporate sites, ones that cost thousands to have built and read like they were written by an imbecile. Such mistakes reflect poorly on the company owning the site. Doesn't anyone read those things?
آ· Buttons that do not work: More and more it seems that I have run across sites that have interesting content, but there is no way to get to it. That's because their buttons do not go anywhere. You click on them, and the page sits there staring back at you. Builders have to try all links to make sure they work before and then again after they send the page online.
آ· Out of date sites: If builders are going to put those "Last updated, blah, blah, blah" signs on their sites, then they should make an effort to keep the site fresh. If looking for information, people seeing a line saying "Last updated during the Korean War" have to figure the information may be as out of date as the site.
آ· Out of the mainstream: Some people fall in love with the things they can create on the internet, never thinking about how it affects their viewers. Thus, they put on something that requires downloading a player that is used about as frequently as life sized photos of Shaquille O'Neal on the internet. Shaq, for those who don't know, is 7-foot plus tall and weighs more than 300 pounds. In other words, you see few of those on the internet. All this accomplishes is to frustrate viewers who otherwise were interested enough to explore the site.
آ· The Barnum and Bailey approach: The circus is a wonderful place because something exciting or colorful is always happening. However, when you go to a web site and find several Flash objects, animated .GIFs, and other distractions, viewers can be repulsed. There is nothing wrong with using those items, but too many of them can cause nausea.
آ· Bad use of pictures: There are two areas here that are of concern. One is that some builders use photos that are of such poor quality that it is difficult to see what they are showing. They may be grainy or blurry, they may be too small, or they may simply be framed poorly. The other problem is that they not really relate to the site's content. People should avoid using photos that have nothing to do with what the site is about, simply for the sake of having a picture on the front page.
آ· Pages that lack structure: This is perhaps one of the biggest sins that site builders can commit. On those pages, all elements appear to be about the same. There is no indication from the way the page is created to tell what information is most important and what information is least important.
I refer you back to printed material. If you look at good newspaper or magazine design, it will lead your eye down the page, making the most important element stand out and grab your attention first. The second most important item on the page will be the next to grab your eye because of its construction.
The difference most likely will be the different sizes of headlines used. Good designers use those elements to lead the reader through the page, taking them from the most important information to the least. If the designer does not know what is important, how can he/she expect the viewer to know.
While it may be true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the fact is that on the internet anyone who visits a page becomes the beholder. While it is likely impossible to please everyone, it does make sense to at least try â€” and that means present the best possible appearance.
As designers, we owe it to our clients to build the most appealing sites possible, and that means we need to avoid many of the pitfalls mentioned above. Sometimes, clients insist that we do things a certain way that does play havoc with good design, but we should at least try to steer them in the right direction.
In the end, it's what up front that counts, and designers who do not take full advantage of the opportunities they get to draw and retain veiwers are missing the competitive boat. It is the job of business owners to make sure they are not among the sites that drown.
How to find clients
In truth, there is no one answer because clients can come from many directions. One of the advantages that we (and many small companies like us) have is that we perform many services, and that provides us with a variety of "ins" with clients.
I would like to tell you that we have a large sales force, a large web developing staff, and a cast of thousands behind the scenes. I'd also like to tell you that Bill Gates calls me to borrow money, but all of that would be a lie.
In truth, we are a home-based business. We have no sales staff, just my two older sons (19 and 18) and I, and sometimes my wife and youngest son (13). I had my wife's age in there, but she took exception. The bruising on my arm should go away in a few days.
There are a number of options for finding clients. Here is a look at some of them:
The door-to-door approach
There is always the method of finding a business listed in the telephone book and then going door-to-door to contact them. The problem with that is they may already have a site, and then â€” even if they need a new one â€” they may resent the time you take away from them during business hours.
If you choose this method, contact them by telephone first to find out if there is a need or desire for a web site, and then arrange a time to meet at their convenience. That concern for their time will also show that you are likely to be equally concerned about their site and the services you offer.
How about Advertising?
Yes, we could advertise in the local papers and other media, but we really don't. We just hang around and let people find us most of the time, usually through word of mouth from previous clients (the cheapest and most effective advertising there is, by the way).
In our previous location, we did reduce the cost of building a web site for a local newspaper in exchange for running ads throughout the site telling how wonderful we were. It was fairly effective, but we didn't rely on it.
Having moved to a new location, we are trading a local radio station's web site for on-air and on-site advertising. It remains to be seen how effective it will be, but the station plays oldies, and I dig it - to borrow a phrase from my teen years.
We consider banner advertising a waste. I read where the most effective ones involve pornography, but I don't do nudity (count your blessings for that). Besides, my oldest son tells me that even my DNA is too fat to fit on a 468x60 banner.
However, in areas where there is a lot more competition, advertising by conventional method may be crucial. It may also be too expensive and, in that case, let the bottom line be your guide.
It is important to consider when to advertise, too. In a local newspaper, for example, if you can advertise the same day they run the grocery ads, more people will be apt to see your ad. It may sound silly, but it is a fact.
There are other ways to advertise without actually buying space in a newspaper or time on radio or TV. Perhaps the best move we have made in recent years was to participate in a local business showcase at the nearby Ceasar's Casino.
There was a lot of traffic, and the two days investment to get and to man the booth was well worth it. Besides, the food was excellent, and we didn't have time to gamble, so nothing was lost. In fact, just one of the clients we gained from the showcase more than covered the cost and provided a decent profit. The others were gravy.
Because of our size, we don't expect to get many national accounts (they'd rather spend 20 times as much for a web site as what we and businesses like us would charge, I guess), so such a local showcase is a great way to meet local business types, and it helps establish credibility, too.
Another way to get alternative advertising is to provide local media with stories about your business. In smaller areas, particularly, business news is always a needed commodity. Topics could include anything from a trade show appearance to new services offered.
Those types of stories can also lead to the newspaper doing a feature story about your business, and that is excellent advertising because it goes into more depth about your business than a paid ad ever could. Further, because someone else is writing it, it adds credibility to the news about your business.
We consider the most fun way to find clients is the cheapest, easiest, and least time consuming method. We simply look for local business web sites and then contact the owners of those sites that look like they did it themselves or had nephew Joe do it because Aunt Mary wants to justify the cost of buying him a computer.
When doing so, there are a number of things to look for before contacting the company.
If the site looks pretty good, check out the spelling and grammar. An idiot can use a template to build a web site, but an idiot will always be an idiot (even if they own a spell checker), so it isn't difficult to find them.
Look at the source code. If the site is made by a WYSIWIG editor, then do an internet search for the same template.
I recently found one that was made using a template. I then did a search for that same template in our new area and found many of them, all looking alike. When I contacted one of the original business owners and pointed out that it was a template and looked like thousands of others on the web (and gave examples), the woman replied, "I spent ,000 for a copy!" Indeed she did, and paid about several times what it was worth to boot. We'll be starting on her site real soon.
NOTE: That isn't to say you shouldn't hire people using WYSIWIG editors, but ask them if they are using their own graphics, layout, and design before shelling out the bucks.
Should you as a designer be fortunate enough to find a web site that is designed poorly (see ugly), you can contact the owner and ask if they would be interested in professionally designed site.
Remember the comment above about getting "ins" with would-be clients by offering a variety of services? That came into play this past week when we found a site that was not too attractive.
"We're going to do something about it this Fall, but we have to wait until after a tradeshow," the business' secretary said.
"Well, could we provide services for your tradeshow?" I asked. "Perhaps a slideshow for a laptop and projector, complete with music and animation?"
"That sounds interesting," the secretary said. "I'll talk to the owner about it."
The following day, the secretary called and said the owner wanted to talk to us early this week about a slideshow and a web site. The beauty of it all brought tears to my eyes, and I immediately contacted the builder of our new house and added a few amenities.
Your own web site
Obviously, your own web site can and should be a point of advertising for you, but its success depends on how you use it.
To simply have a site won't get it done. We use our site to refer would-be clients to so that they can read about the services we provide. We don't have any forms for people to fill out and immediately order their web site because we think clients deserve more personal, more professional service than that.
If you want a shot at clients out of your area, it is important to promote your site just as you would your client's sites.
Our only regret is that we don't have more time to devote to our own site, but if we had the time we wouldn't be making money.
How can a web site help our business?
Living in a rural area, a lot of businesses we contact ask that question. Their thinking is that they only have local clients, so why do they need a web site that exposes their business to the world? "We aren't going to sell anything to anyone in LA or New York" they may say.
That's probably true, and in some cases I wholeheartedly agree. If that is the case, we'll look for other ways to help them. If that falls through, we go somewhere else.
However, most businesses can use a web site. What it can do for any business is serve as a great advertising tool. Say, for example, that a client comes into your store and looks at a product but walks away without buying it. If that product is on your web site, they can go home and read more about it. It can make the difference between eventually making the sale or not.
You will also want to inform these would-be web site buyers that by being online, their customers will have greater access to support after the sale, which can be a major selling point.
Neither radio, TV, nor newspapers can provide your clients with the advertising as complete and thorough or competition free as a web site can. It is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a fraction of the cost of other media.
We also advise all of our clients to put their web address on any literature they produce, including sales receipts. It helps develop the shoppers' habit of seeing what they may have for sale, on a special sale, or to match or complement something the customer already owns.
That is probably the chief selling point we give to those who like the idea of having a site but think it is little more than an ego trip.
One other benefit is that it provides a business with a more professional appearance, which can translate to more trust and greater sales - for them and for you.
The bottom line of all this is that there are many ways to get clients, but there is only one way to keep them: Treat them right.
The method you choose to acquire clients can vary from one client to the next, just as they vary from one designer to the next. There is no one method that works every time, and it is important to explore the various methods in order to avoid slow business trends.
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