How to Respond to an RFP
Responding to an RFP need not be a daunting task! You can use the step-by-step process, which follows (with examples), to help you respond to RFPs you receive from businesses wanting your design services.
Your RFP response should include a cover letter, company and product overview, and benefits of your working with your company. To begin with, you need to find answers to fundamental questions, to find out all that you need before you respond to an RFP. Answering the five “W’s” (Who, What, Why, When, Where) and one “H” (How) from the client’s perspective and your own perspective helps.
Who – requires your service and your introduction? It helps to break the introduction in to two well-planned parts. Include all the details about your prospective client in the first paragraph. Ensure that you summarize their needs and go ahead to tell them who you are. Don’t unnecessarily boast about your skills and abilities. Give your client an unbiased account of your skills.
Excerpts from my RFP response:
Studio1c is a design firm founded in 2007 has expanded to include 9 other contractors; including designers, and website developers.
Studio1c’s mission is to create custom high-quality designs that cater to each clients’ unique requirements. Our experienced team provides print design, marketing, ongoing SEO, website development and hosting, maintenance and much more. Please visit our website, www.studio1c.com to see examples of our work.
What – does the company expect out of you and what you can do to help them?
Why – do they want your services and why they should choose you?
Excerpts from my RFP response:
Our unique integration of form, function and design puts us in a great position for this type of work. We are so confident that you’ll love the end result, that we guarantee our work!
We’d be pleased to refine this proposal if it does not adequately reflect your needs or goals for you.
You need to discuss your proposed services, while you answer the questions, “What” and “Why”. Address all the client requirements and your abilities to deal with them. Elaborate on your skills and experience to help the client place his/her trust in you. It helps to outline your strengths and distinctions, relate them to the scope of services to be provided for the clients’ project.
When – does the company expect you to complete the project and when you can start?
Excerpts from my RFP response:
PROJECTED TIMELINES AND BUDGET REQUIREMENTS
NEWLY DEVELOPED (CMS) CONTENT MANAGED SITE: I will select a CMS Joomla template that best addresses the design and functions you would like for your website. Second, we optimize all existing graphics into the proper placement in the template.
Where – is the company based at and your location?
How – much would it cost them, how much time and effort would you need to invest, and how do they pay you?
State your professional fees in the RFP response. Don’t sound too vague in quoting hourly and per-project rate. Make it as clear as possible, include fixed and variable pricing, so a client who requires hourly or per project rate receives a definitive idea of the budget.
Excerpts from my RFP response:
Studio1c will require payment of 50% of the project budget upon written agreement of compliance with proposal (email reply or retainer payment is acceptable); 50% upon completion of the approved work.
Most importantly, you need to customize the proposal and personalize it to the client. Don’t forget to thank the client for the opportunity to submit response. Ensure that you tell them why you would be the best choice and provide all the details they would require to contact you.
If you’re someone who lives more in the online world, you’re sure to have heard of or participated in the eternal battle of the browsers – IE vs. others. If you’re a new denizen of the World Wide Web, you would want to know which browser best suits your online needs, but chances are, you’ve already been warned off Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. This is not just because of IE’s poor track record as a browser, but also no concrete changes being made to newer versions, despite Microsoft one of the biggest players in the market. So, we decided to debate why newer browsers are much more preferable when compared to IE one by one so as to make your choice easier for you.
For starters, here are the top reasons why IE is the least preferred browser by techies and non- techies alike:
- The most virus prone browser – IE has come under repeated attack for being THE browser likely to attract all kinds of viruses, Trojans, spyware and adware. And newer versions have mostly done nothing to combat this.
- User-unfriendly – And if newer user-friendly features are added with every version release, these are treated as redundant because other browsers that came before have preempted the user's requirements better and earlier.
- Web designers have found problems with IE’s design all too frequently to be ignored.
You’d think something would be done by Microsoft to address these kinds of complaints. But what’s really happened is other players have acted on this, leaving behind IE in the virtual dust. Here are other browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari) and why users prefer them:
- Safety – The brains behind these browsers have understood that a net user’s first concern of his online habits is safety and privacy. All three browsers come with a very high level of protection against most viruses and spyware known to online mankind.
- Usability – These browsers have made online navigation a pleasure with easy keyboard and mouse shortcuts that are easy to memorize and recall.
- Easy to use interface – Designers have listened to the complaints about IE’s design, thereby rendering these browsers with very attractive interfaces that appeal to the design community.
Mozilla Firefox: This open source web browser known for questioning IE’s monopoly and bad features is also the most preferred browsers of techies, virus-phobic netizens and design enthusiasts. It currently gets around a third of IE’s share and around a quarter of worldwide users. It adheres to the current web standards and also supports add-on features that the standard ones might require in the future. Some of the noteworthy features include tabbed browsing, spell check, live bookmarking, private browsing, download manager, and an integrated Google search engine. It supports all operating systems and has given the internet surfer reason to rejoice with each new version.
Google Chrome: Google’s very own browser, ironically released as a beta version for Windows in 2008, gets its name from the graphical user interface frame, “Chrome”. It currently supports Windows but development versions for Mac OS X and Linux were released just a few months back. Its market share is on the upswing and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming months, with users hailing it as the most speed efficient of all browsers.
Apple Safari: Developed by Apple Inc., and integrated with the Mac OS as the default browser, this browser has been in the race from 2003 and has its loyal user base. It also is the default browser on iPhones. Since 2007, it also supports Windows XP and Vista.
Opera: Developed by the Opera Software Company, this browser enables easier browsing and multitasking on the web. It’s free for personal computer and mobile phones, but is a paid-for browser for other devices. Features include tabbed browsing, mouse gestures, page zooming and an integrated download manager. Security features are enviable, featuring built-in protection against phishing attacks and malware, strong encryption and the option to delete private data easily. It supports most computer operating systems and has a pride of place as being the innovator of many popular user features of current browsers. Despite this, share-wise, it is used by a very small fraction of the internet audience, though it is the preferred browser for mobile phones.
Last but not the least, Mozilla's latest offering, Flock, a beta release, is a social networking browser that neatly compartmentalizes your online habits into feeds, networking, mail and media. Studies show that the evolved user is slowly navigating away from IE, which is losing a chunk of market share to the other players with each passing year. Not to be left behind, Microsoft released IE version 8 recently that has added private browsing to its list of features, but, the argument still stands. Innovation is key, not delayed cloning. And as far as Microsoft sticks to its old formulas, the virtual world will continue to swim over to competition. Worthy, might we add.
Website design you want to flaunt? You should consider posting your website on the popular website design award sites. It is a great way to promote your website design skills and business, and it shows your potential clients what you are good at too!
There are a number of website design award sites which showcase and award creative and technical talents of the online industry.
The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. Established in 1996 during the Web's infancy, the Webbys are presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 550-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities.
The Webby Awards presents two honors in every category -- The Webby Award and The People's Voice Award -- in each of its four entry types: Websites, Interactive Advertising, Online Film & Video and Mobile. Members of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences select the nominees for both awards in each category, as well as the winners of the Webby Awards. However, you, the online community, determine the winners of The People's Voice by voting for the nominated work that you believe to be the best in each category. Each year, the People's Voice Awards garners hundreds of thousands of votes from the Web community all over the world.
The Best Designs recognizes the best Flash and CSS web sites from around the world. Websites are categorized by CSS or Flash and also by elements of the design. TBD is usually updated every weekday, with the exception of holidays. More categories are gradually being added to the site, so make sure you come back to the site to see what's new, or you can sign up for Twitter updates.
This site collects and gives you experience of 100’ds best designer around the world. You can gain from their experience, become better web designer. If you are looking for design award, you can send them your website link - and they will review your page quickly ! If you see your website in the featured categories - Congratulations! Your site has won an award from www.MyDesignAward.com
Interactive Media Awards
The Interactive Media Awards™ recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement. Created by the Interactive Media Council, Inc. (IMC), a nonprofit organization of leading web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other web-related professionals, the competition is designed to elevate the standards of excellence on the Internet and offer winners a boost in marketing and exposure. IMC serves as the primary sponsor and governing body of the Interactive Media Awards, establishes the judging system and provides the judges for the competition.
In order to cover operating and marketing expenses and discourage frivolous entries, there is a required entry fee per category of US$125. Bona fide nonprofit sites entering the competition under certain nonprofit categories can enter for US$75 (proof of legal not-for-profit status may be required).
This is s web site that lists the best designed web sites. They also give awards to the best of the best sites.
Established by Erick & Lisa Laubach in 2006, The Pixel Awards take a fresh look at the best on the web. It annually honors 20 compelling sites that have shown excellence in web design and development. Sites can be submitted in 20 diverse categories, including unique Geek and Green categories.
As a designer and occasional photographer, I found it helpful to carry around a little "cheat sheet" with these items when out in the field shooting. This reference is useful for amateurs and the occasional photographer wanting to learn more.
Many of these are applicable to SLR cameras and video camera settings as well
Resolution (for digital and video cameras)
- Remember, you can't "add" resolution back into a photo once it's taken. However you can always decrease a photos resolution through a photo manipulation program such as Photoshop. The majority of digital cameras allow you to change this setting.
- Fine, or High resolution - great for later printing or enlarging photo.
- Low resolution - great for emailing or posting on the web.
F-Stop - Aperture (f-stop f/22 – f/1.4)
- F/22 = aperture is more closed, giving a large depth of field 4ft -infinity - great for wide open landscape shots
- F/16 = 5 - 18 ft in focus
- F/8 = 6 - 11 ft
- F/4 = 7-9 ft
- F/1.4 = aperture more open, keeping the depth of field shallow and limited to what is nearby and blurring the background. Great for portrait photography.
- Usually ranges from 1/8 second to 1/2000 of a second (most common default setting)
- Leaving the shutter open for longer is excellent for interesting night shots.
- Be sure to use a tripod for slow shutter speeds.
- 1/8 (moving objects blurred) second will make a runner blurred, lights blurred or running water look soft.
- 1/2000 (keeps moving objects sharp) of a second will stop a runner or running water.
ISO – Film speed (100-1000 speed)
- 100 is for bright light, sharp and clear
- 1000 is for dark or low light, grainy - There is also a filter you can use in PhotoShop to achieve this effect. (add noise)