the problem solver's toolbox

We take on projects that need start-to-finish development, and those that only require targeted support to help nudge them toward success. In either case, we'll work with you to create a custom map of appropriate activities, and a process and timeline tailored to your requirements.

With the pace of the current environment, we understand the need to move quickly — but never at the expense of the long view. Experience has shown us again and again that adequate understanding, vision, planning, definition, and expectation-setting is the path to long-term success. We marry the best that agile development approach has to offer with the benefits of early waterfall-based planning in a truly custom, iterative design architecture.

strategize & plan

be agile, but be smart about goals & expectations

Every project needs a solid roadmap — a set of strategies that define success for you and your core audiences, now and into the future — that serve as a foundation and benchmark for all the development work to come.

The critical measure of a product's effectiveness is its ability to meet the needs and expectations of end users while advancing core business goals. Delivering a great user experience — whether it's for your clients, public consumers, or your own internal team — is all about understanding. Connecting with people is one of our strengths, one we use to engage your audiences and uncover critical intelligence that informs a successful strategy. We work with you to define (or refine) strategies that align closely with your business, marketing, and communication goals while resonating strongly with your customers.

But the right strategy is not enough. The right approach to project planning and management is what keeps projects on the rails. We skillfully blend traditional and agile project development to custom craft an approach for each project and client, including only what we recommend to get you to the best possible outcome with a minimum of overhead. We tailor project plans to you, not the other way around. Each organization has it's own personality and culture, and we work to ensure a good fit for the way you work.

We devote critical resources at the start of your project to create a solid foundation for ongoing development. We'll work with you to make sure you understand options for meeting your short- and long-term needs and goals, in everything from digital strategy to technology infrastructure. We want to ensure that your products fit perfectly into your business right now, and provide the necessary foundation for optimal growth.

define & architect

user-centered design is the foundation

Getting your strategy off paper and into the world can feel overwhelming. We are pros at synthesizing intelligence gathered from audience analysis and goals definition to create the foundation for a successful user experience. Based on your specific project requirements, we can offer content auditing, card sorting, taxonomy development, user personas, use case definition, user mental modeling and more to translate that strategy into a holistic project language and product architecture.

Once the strategic approach is vetted, we can develop paper or interactive wireframes and prototypes that help you understand and visualize how your user experience strategy unfolds for your customers. These tools create a product framework that helps us (and you) vet those strategies, test and compete ideas, and explore potential outcomes through early user engagement testing.

Final wireframes and prototypes — along with supporting documentation — form the basis for development of technical and design specifications that move your project from concept to concrete.

design & build

simple + functional = beautiful

Once a project architecture is vetted, it's time to bring it to life. In this stage, we put the visual design layer and the supporting front-end framework into place, making sure that we respect both the separation of content and presentation, and the important ties that provide connection between the two.

If art is the process of making something beautiful, design is the process of making something that works beautifully. Certainly, your product's visuals should strongly reflect and support your organization's personality and culture. But they're not just window dressing. We employ design as a tool to achieve specific goals, including support of wayfinding, hierarchy definition, and overall ease of use. Whether the project is cause marketing, e-commerce, media and entertainment, or multi-national corporate identity, we apply design strategies that project your brand and resonate with your audience, merging even complex information architectures into smart, simple visual frameworks.

But design goes beyond the surface. Your front-end intfrastructure is just as critical to your project's success. With the explosion of new platforms and media types — along with new media use habits and devices — we'll explore multiple ways audiences can access your products, and optimize the front-end response, in tandem with the design layer, to support flexibility and extensibility — from phones to tablets to TVs.

engineer & test

don't just code — create infrastructure

Even the surest strategic planning, architecture, and design solutions collapse without a solid technical framework on which to operate. That's why technical strategy is such an important aspect of every project we undertake. We involve technology vetting every step of the way, so there are fewer surprises and lost opportunities when development kicks into high gear.

We execute everything from clean, efficient, and standards-compliant markup to complex, dynamic, client-side and server-side programming, including platform, framework, and service-oriented approaches where appropriate. We can also design and develop custom administrative tools for content and site management. Our focus is finding the right technology for each project to avoid overkill and ensure the highest level of flexibility, security, and extensibility.

We provide complete staging and quality-assurance testing for both project infrastructure and interaction layers, so when we're ready to flip the switch, your project launch is safe from unpleasant surprises.

evaluate & iterate

there's always room for improvement

Getting through your initial project launch is an exciting milestone, but it is just one stop on the long journey of a successful product. We believe the best design approach is an iterative one, where there's always the expectation of continued discovery.

Even the most successful strategies and executions require ongoing adjustment to reach and maintain maximum impact and efficiency. Gathering meaningful intelligence can have a big impact on the success of your products over time, and there's no better way to understand how your product is performing for your users than to watch them use it. We put to work our experience with usability testing and listening labs to gather the insight required to help you refine your products to best discover and meet the changing needs of your customers. We can also help you define strategies for analytics that relate directly to your project goals, your audience definitions, and content strategies.

At the speed of today's business and technology environments, even cutting-edge approaches can evolve in the time it takes to get from strategy definition to project launch. We are constantly watching, testing, and learning in all areas of development, so we can help you make sense of new options popping up every day. Whether your product needs minor updates or a major overhaul, we'll help you plug into the best of a changing landscape of tools and approaches and move your products into their next iteration.