Designing anything in the real world will always be a balancing act between business goals, budgetary requirements, market realities, competition, customer needs, customer expectations, and technological limitations. Anybody that tells you different is lying.
We've seen agency after agency claim that they follow a rigorous process and insist that every pre-defined step is a necessity. Our experience has been different. We know that every problem is different. Every timeline is different. Every client is different. So instead of forcing everything into a "best-practice", we take the time to understand the real problems, ask questions, and refine our process to elevate the quality of work we produce. We look at it as common sense. They see it as a rebellion.
There is nothing worse than somebody waiting for their turn to say something smart rather than actually listening to what's being said. We've learned it's much better to keep our mouths shut and absorb as much as possible before forming an opinion, or even worse, blurting it out. We don't bring iPhones and Blackberries to meetings. We don't have our laptops open unless we're showing you something. We listen.
We've become pretty good at asking our clients the right questions so that we can learn enough to design something great. But we know it is more effective to build relationships with clients rather than doing one-off projects. It takes time to really understand. We get better as our clients trust us more, speak to us honestly, and help us balance the real business problems with the real user needs.
Our most important responsibility is to help ground you in the reality of the audience's experience. We know how easy it is to focus on your business goals and timeline imperatives but accidentally ignore the needs of the actual customer. We pride ourselves on our good instincts and proven techniques for understanding the customer's expectations and frustrations, and empathizing with them.
Close collaboration requires a level of honesty and trust that agencies seem to have a hard time developing with their clients. We will never recommend a solution just to make more money. We will argue with you if the direction is not clear or if bureaucracy is getting in the way of your customers’ happiness. We will always give you our honest opinion and we want you to do the same.
We take the time to make sure our vision is executed well. We design and build with obsessive attention to detail: alignment, spacing, margins, typography, code elegance all mean something to your customers, and to us. Our solutions are designed with every pixel in mind, and our code is clever, elegant, and organized. It's the mild OCD in us.
We've learned to not get attached to concepts, ideals, and "great ideas." We know that the world changes and we're not afraid to throw away good ideas to make room for new ones. We encourage our clients to do the same.