I’m not bitter, but I do hope the “let me make a purchase and I’ll let you know if I need anything else” idea catches on. There aren’t enough hours in the day to keep clicking no to other special offers.
Optimizing your website for search engines sounds like a good idea, as most people still find what they’re looking for using a search engine. SEO is as much an art as it is a science, and the experts are usually not that far above the folks who do common sense things as far as results. This makes it confusing, and more than a little intimidating to new folks in the web realm. Let’s talk about how to make sense of it, shall we?
The 960 grid system works well for most applications. Do I use it exclusively? No. Some do, but there are reasons not to. Mostly they revolve around target audience, but for most applications, the 960 grid works for web design. This will likely be the case until 1024 pixel wide screens go away and are replaced by 1280 (or something else). Talk to me about what would be right for your site.
Most good designers don’t want to get a client specification followed by a paycheck. They want to get to know you, your business, your clients or customers and find out what will appeal to everyone involved. Speculative work cuts out that personal portion of the process. There is no way to nail a design of any kind on the first try, and believing it should go that way is only going to hurt the client. Most designers will have an open loop, gathering feedback from multiple sources as they go through the process.
The GIMP has several things going for it. First, there’s the price. I don’t care who you are, but coming up with a better price than free is a tough sell (except that you intend to pay me to use your software). Second, I’m a big fan of multiple monitors so the GIMP model of not having a stage surrounded by tools is great. I use four monitors in sort of a cockpit (or command center, as my friend Mike says) configuration. I put the tools box on one side of the image, the layers / paths box on the other and then I have this huge image area to work with. With Photoshop, I’d have to stretch the stage across several monitors, and that’s just hard to manage.