Outsourcing can’t work without excellent communication channels. Fortunately, technology has been evolving at break neck speeds and there are many new (and old) communication platforms which enable an outsourced web design project to succeed. This article looks at the different forms of technology that are available and gives a few examples of services which can be used.
1. Talking & Video
There is nothing more effective for getting an idea across than explaining it face to face or over the phone. In the past it would have been very expensive to be constantly calling a company overseas, but technology has shown that it can be very cheap, and often free.
Services such as Skype, gTalk and MSN allow for video chatting and phone calls via the web (voice over IP, or VOIP). Using these services is instant and free if you do it via the internet and it allows for easy communication with project managers and individual workers even if they are thousands of miles away.
2. Screen Sharing & Interaction
With web design, there is nothing easier than sitting next to a designer and pointing at the screen while explaining your ideas. People often stumble at this point when outsourcing web design and spend hours on the phone or writing long e-mails trying to explain a simple point.
It is possible these days to view someone else’s screen and make annotations/draw on it remotely. These tools, combined with voice or video chat allow for just as simple interaction as if you were sitting next to the designer. Some options that allow for this are TeamViewer, Crossloop and Unyte Lite.
3. Text Chat
When you just want to send a quick message to someone or need constant interaction with a member of your team, text chat is a very effective tool to use. A quick message of “how are things going?” via MSN or Google Chat makes someone who is thousands of miles away seem much closer. Obviously it’s important not to misuse this tool by constantly pestering your designer, but it can really bring teams together as if they were working side by side.
4. File Sharing
Often companies will have an internal server where they store important documents and files. Security can be an issue if these are opened up to the web and so traditionally companies have been hesitant to do this. Fortunately, technology has come to our rescue again!
Services such as Dropbox allow you to setup a shared folder which is stored online and automatically synchronised on all computers that are sharing it. So if your outsourced web developer saves a new Photoshop file to the shared folder, it will automatically be downloaded to yours. Fortunately, these systems are intelligent, and if files are moved or renamed, it will do the same at your end, without having to download the entire file again.
4. E-mail & Project Management
Last but not least, good old E-mailing! This tried and tested method of communication should be the bread and butter of any outsourced project. It allows for tracking of communication, fast interaction and accountability.
When linking in to systems such as Basecamp for project management, e-mails can take on a new life – rather than just e-mailing your outsourced web designer, you can e-mail Basecamp with a special message which automatically updates his to do list. These sort of systems remove a step from the traditional way of doing things and allows for much more rapid teamwork, even if you are on another continent.
Technology has allowed people to outsource web design in a way that wasn’t possible just five years ago, and the communications tools are only getting better. Good communication is key to any outsourced project and if you follow the points above, you are sure to enjoy a successful and profitable project.
GuavaStudios was established to provide you with premium quality outsourced web solutions (such as web design & programming) at competitive prices. Through our network of local freelancers and offshore outsourcing providers we can create and tailor the perfect outsourced solution for your project.