There were many situations where a client would request something that I had no prior experience with. For example, I was asked to create print and web advertisements for the New Britain City Journal. This meant I had to learn how to use Adobe Indesign CS5 quickly. I used resources on the web and learned about the differences between DPI for print and screens and how the files needed to be specific resolutions. I learned about the difference between CMYK color for print and RGB color for display graphics. I found that learning out of necessity for a specific job is quite powerful.
Another example of new skills I have learned is a project that I am currently working on. A legal advocacy group had a very large website that they use as a resource for cases and a communication tool for clients and peers. They were using a very dated technique for updating and maintaining the content of the website. An employee would use Adobe Dreamweaver to update pages in a WYSIWYG environment. This process resulted in a lot of formatting problems and wasted time. Also, the lawyers and workers had difficulty finding the documents and information that they were searching for. I suggested implementing a content management system into a new design that would make creating and organizing their hundreds of pages of content simpler. Unfortunately, my experience with wordpress installations and PHP scripts is limited; I had to learn how wordpress uses PHP to track and generate HTML. I also had to learn how to create custom wordpress templates so the design would be tailored to our specific needs. I was lucky that wordpress.org maintains a robust developer community that makes tons of plug-ins and tutorials.
The tasks and activities that create challenges for myself all revolve around the collaborative process. I have little to no experience in developing as a team. I can admit that most of my projects had poor planning or were done off the top of my head. I do not feel like I am a poor business communicator, but I do see the need for improvement. I always tried to maintain productive, professional relationships with clients, but did have situations where poor communication on my part resulted in delays and excessive questioning. If I had planned better during consultations, much of these problems could’ve been avoided. On a brighter note, I have absolutely no concerns about my ability to learn and acquire these skills in the future.