A writing frenzy: From defending generalists to productivity tips

Paul Boag

I have recently been writing a lot of articles elsewhere on the web. In this post I give a summary of the best.

Human psychology fascinates me and none more so than my own. For a little while now I have found blogging on Boagworld increasingly difficult. I think part of the problem is that I’m in the process of redesigning the website. I feel reluctant to post new content here when I know a bigger and better site is soon to come along.

Image of the new boagworld homepage

However, although I found it hard to post here, I seem to have gone through a writing frenzy elsewhere on the web. In particular I have written a string of posts for Smashing Magazine and The Web Designer Depot.

Although there more to come, I thought I would give you a roundup of what is already available to save you hunting around the web for them.

Defending The Generalists In The Web Design Industry

Probably the post I am most proud of is “defending the generalist in the web design industry”. This post for Smashing Magazine argues against the recent trend towards specialisation.

Defending the generalist post with it 95 comments

Although I have no problem with those that choose to specialise in a particular aspect of web design, I do believe there is still a place for the generalist who has taken the time to stay informed about a large number of web design related topics.

This is also a theme I pick up on the Web designer Depot.

Stop obsessing over HTML5 and CSS3

For the 17 years I have worked as a web designer I’ve seen trends come and go. I find it frustrating to see our latest obsession dominate conversation at the cost of all else. A recent example of this has been the overwhelming dominance of HTML 5 and CSS 3. Along with topics such as responsive design it has been hard to find content written on any other subject! Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it can feel that way sometimes.

Stop obsessing post

As part of my “generalist manifesto” I have tried to encourage others not to fixate on the latest trend but keep a broad view of all the disciplines that web design encompasses. In my post for The Web designer Depot “stop obsessing over HTML 5 and CSS 3,” I suggest a number of other subjects that are worthy of your consideration.

I’m not suggesting that we should ignore the latest technological development. I merely saying that we should not let these things dominate the discussion.

However not everything I have written is about the generalist. I have also been looking at the increasingly difficult life of freelancers and other web design entrepreneurs.

Lessons Learned: Productivity Tips For Running A Web Design Business

When we start out as a freelancer or running a web design business, we are naïve and idealistic. We have images of working less, earning more and increasing our freedom.

However, often the reality is we work more, worry about where the next pay cheque is going to come from and feel beholden to the whims of our clients.

I have worked as a web design business owner for the last 8 years. I have come to realise that if you do not take control of your business, it will turn into a monster that you have to constantly feed and live in fear of.

In my posts “lessons learned: productivity tips for running a web design business” I look at ways of taking this control back by becoming more productive. My hope is that this article will help make life a bit more bearable for the many freelancers out there whose dream has turned into a bit of a nightmare.


With all of these opinion pieces you might begin to wonder whether I ever write anything truly practical! I do occasionally do some real work and that’s reflected in the last post I wanted to mention.

Keynote as a collaborative wireframing tool

I spend a lot of my time working with clients to establish the best approach for their website. A big part of this is wireframing.

Now I must confess I have somewhat of an addiction to wireframing software. I have used more tools than you can possibly imagine, and each one is the best thing since sliced bread when I first try it.

In particular I love tools such as Flairbuilder that allow me to create interactive web applications and show much of the sites functionality.

However, sometimes a tool such as that is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. More recently I’ve found that most of my wireframing only needs to show relatively simple interactions. In those cases I have found keynote is an excellent wireframing tool.

Example of keynote being used as a wireframing tool.

Admittedly, you do not normally think of keynote in this way. However, if you read my post “keynote as a collaborative wireframing tool” you will discover that it is actually worth considering.

More to come

As you can see I’m increasingly posting elsewhere on the web as well as Boagworld. In the past I’ve been lax at drawing attention to these posts. However, you can easily see all of my earlier posts for Smashing Magazine and the Web Designer Depot. I will also try to post a summary of all future articles on Boagworld so you don’t miss anything.

Oh yes, and I will also try to post more here too :-)