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Old 12-05-2010, 11:30 AM   #1
Ronald
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Default Questions About Small CSS Freelance Job

I got in touch with a guy who codes websites. He knows nothing about graphics, though, and wants me to give the sub-site an inviting look. I'm not exactly sure what to charge and how far I should go in terms of graphics. I imagine it will be very clean and simple. He said that, while the Life Connections software is somewhat new and has no logo/branding identity, I should probably leave that be for the time being.

Right now, it's just the basic coding with the username and password both being "admin." Feel free to take a look:
http://demo.therapyconnections4u.net/

I'll have to research to brush up on CSS which I'll use for the side menu and create some submenus for easier navigation. I'm thinking of charging maybe $25 a page, since once I get some CSS formatting in place, it should be largely finished.

On a side note, I'm having a hard time finding out how to make a body background and margin background. Like on Microsoft.com for instance, the white-to-blue gradient margin wrapping underneath the body. The margin probably allows for flexibility with different monitor dimensions.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:41 AM   #2
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Think of each rectangle you want in your design, and then design a DIV of appropriate min-height, width, padding, background image etc. and set the CSS on that. Bigger ones enclose smaller ones, obviously.

It's useful to really understand the CSS box model so you understand how padding, margins, borders and so on are accommodated in the dimensions: it isn't (IMO) entirely intuitive if you are used to thinking in page layout terms.

Have a look at MS's stylesheet(s) to see how they did it.

When making an estimate, I usually try to charge for the design setup as one activity, and then add a per-page cost for the time to assemble each after that.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoisWakeman View Post
Have a look at MS's stylesheet(s) to see how they did it.
Hm. I'm looking over the source but I'm not sure how to find it.

It looks as though $25 per page is a low (but not too low) price, and for me that's a good chunk of money considering there's about 30 pages. They're all very plain other than information form slots that you type into (not sure what the technical term is). I have to research quite a bit, so I don't want to charge an hourly rate. If I can figure out the basic CSS layout, namely the vertical menu with hover submenus, it should be largely done.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:10 AM   #4
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ronald: I'm looking over the source but I'm not sure how to find it.
Right click the page and choose "View Page Source" and then do a page Find on "stylesheet" (or just "style")--no quote marks--and note that there are multiple stylesheets in that rather difficult to read source code.

For example, this is the stylesheet for "href="/en/shared/core/2/css/css.ashx?sc=/en/us/site.config&m=cspMscomHomePageBase" " which creates the background for the microsoft link you ref'd in your original post--note that the gradient is a png file:

html{background-color:#024978}html,body,div,p,table,tr,td,form,img ,h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6,li,input{background-position:left top;background-repeat:no-repeat;margin:0px;padding:0px}html,body,div,p,tabl e,tr,td,form,img,h1,h2,h3,h4,h5,h6,li{border-width:0px}body *{font-family:Tahoma,Verdana,Segoe,sans-serif}body{background-color:#ecf5fb}body{background-color:#ecf5fb;background-image:url('http://i3.microsoft.com/en/shared/templates/master/cspMscomHomePageBase/Stage_BG_btm.png');background-position:bottom;background-repeat:repeat-x;font-size:70%;padding-bottom:20px}a:link,a:visited{text-decoration:none}a:hover,a:active{text-decoration:underline}h2{color:#2e5374;font-size:1.5em;font-weight:normal}h3{color:#6c7275;font-size:1.5em;font-weight:normal;margin-bottom:13px}h4{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.4em;font-size:1em}img{border-width:0px}ul{margin:0px;padding:0px}div.h15-top{background-color:#e0eff6;background-image:url('http://i3.microsoft.com/en/shared/templates/components/cspMscomHeader/m_head_blend.png');background-position:top;background-repeat:no-repeat;border-left:solid 1px #599cd4;border-right:solid 1px #599cd4;margin:0px auto;width:932px}


I agree with Lois that you should charge a design setup fee and then whatever amount to implement each page--$25 is selling yourself short. A reasonable question to ask is what the client had in mind as a budget which gives you at least a baseline figure.

Figure out a time estimate for your design/setup and individual page implementation and multiply that by a reasonable per hour fee ($25/hour? $35/hour? $45/hour?) to determine an overall figure for the entire project. You can then adjust it as you see fit--keeping in mind the client's budget figure. If you just say "I'll charge you $25/page" when you haven't sat down and figured out an estimate based on the different tasks (design, setup, page implementation, tweaking), then you are working in the dark--the next time a job like this comes up you will have figures and experience to draw on.

Terrie

Last edited by terrie; 12-06-2010 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie View Post
I agree with Lois that you should charge a design setup fee and then whatever amount to implement each page--$25 is selling yourself short. A reasonable question to ask is what the client had in mind as a budget which gives you at least a baseline figure.

Figure out a time estimate for your design/setup and individual page implementation and multiply that by a reasonable per hour fee ($25/hour? $35/hour? $45/hour?) to determine an overall figure for the entire project. You can then adjust it as you see fit--keeping in mind the client's budget figure. If you just say "I'll charge you $25/page" when you haven't sat down and figured out an estimate based on the different tasks (design, setup, page implementation, tweaking), then you are working in the dark--the next time a job like this comes up you will have figures and experience to draw on.
I'm not even familiar with web design setup fees. By "setup" do you mean constructing the basic site layout? I looked around online and can't find much other than one site saying $10. Also, is that charged in advance of beginning the project?

Anther issue is that I have to research quite a bit to improve my CSS knowledge, which of course I don't want to hold against the client. But as you said, I can adjust the hourly rate accordingly. I'm confident I can accomplish this design project; it's just going to take some self-learning.

The client emailed me about my rates Sunday and I haven't responded because I'm in the dark. I hate to hold him up like that. Maybe I should just ask about his budget first.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:07 AM   #6
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Setup=all the generic stuff that is independent of page creation: any server-side actions necessary in terms of s/w installation/configuration, page and CSS design, navigation structure (if appropriate), deciding what goes on which page etc.
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:16 PM   #7
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Setup=all the generic stuff that is independent of page creation: any server-side actions necessary in terms of s/w installation/configuration, page and CSS design, navigation structure (if appropriate), deciding what goes on which page etc.
In that case, I'm not sure there is any setup. I'm mainly just giving visual structure/inviting graphics to a preexisting site skeleton. Besides, wouldn't page and CSS design = page creation?
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:01 AM   #8
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Well, I always do the page design first and get that approved, then put the content in as a separate task. I find it's easier to be consistent and work out times that way, and less opportunity for the client to change his mind over the design so it has to be redone in multiple pages and then complain about the cost.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:46 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by LoisWakeman View Post
Well, I always do the page design first and get that approved, then put the content in as a separate task. I find it's easier to be consistent and work out times that way, and less opportunity for the client to change his mind over the design so it has to be redone in multiple pages and then complain about the cost.
I see. That's probably a good strategy; although, I have a feeling the client will leave full creative direction in my hands considering how he claims to have no design sense whatsoever. Either way, I made good progress with CSS last night so my confidence is definitely building.

It is hard to record my hours since my research goes hand in hand with actual site construction (reading a tutorial, then applying it to see if it works), but at least I am trying to record them modestly as opposed to previous projects where I didn't at all.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:07 PM   #10
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ronald: but at least I am trying to record them modestly as opposed to previous projects where I didn't at all.
We all gotta start somewhere and next time, you'll have a better sense of your time...'-}}

Terrie
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