We are a passionate group of creatives and technologists, expert in what we do and clear about how we do it.
We are a lean outfit but that's how we like it and that's good news for you: we pride ourselves on our expertise, strategic thinking and ability to use technology to create innovative solutions for our customers. We achieve this with a team of experienced, communicative, enthusiastic and technically adept individuals ensuring we get the most out of everyone in the team by having a clear and defined process.
Over the years we've learnt a thing or two about how to run a project and have adapted as we've grown to ensure we continue to deliver a first class service. Without getting too technical, here's a basic rundown of what you might expect from us in a typical project lifecycle.
First contact is vitally important: it's where we find out about you and where you find out about us.
After all, this is a collaborative process and we both need to be sure that we're the right fit for each other.
Of course it's not all about cost but let's be realistic, the chances are that you'd like to know roughly how much it's all going to cost. The good news is that we're pretty flexible and work with small self funded start-ups through to large organisations and that it's likely we've done something similar before so have a fairly good handle on the scale and effort required.
We create a detailed Blueprint of your requirements which map exactly to your end users needs.
During a collaborative process we set about defining requirements. We won't write onerous specification documents because like us, our documentation is lean and to the point: it's a matter of deciding what's appropriate and writing succinct documents to blueprint the integral parts. Depending on the project we will work through any number of the following:
- UI/UX/Information architecture: defining through wireframes how end users will get and understand information and how they will use the interface/s
- Application logic: defining how the project will service the business requirements with use case sequence (UML), flowcharting and entity relationship modelling
- Application architecture: defining the technological choices based on the best technology / framework for the job
- Technical architecture: defining hosting, scalability, performance, security and back-up policies
- Implementation plan and schedule: a detailed break-down of the units of work and their associated relationships
The first impression you give is the lasting one. All the planning and development effort in the world will come to nothing if the look and feel doesn't engage your users.
Design has a specific place in our process and following the 'Define' stage keeps things simple: we're not looking to figure out new fangled ways of finding content or processing an order because these are nailed down within the Blueprint. At this stage we're only concerned with the visual message which is why it's highly collaborative and involves market research, design variations, client reviews, user acceptance testing and revisions whilst all the time funneling down to a final design.
This is where the tech heads step up to the plate, they've put in the graft during the blueprinting stage and they've listened to far too much 'creative' speak. Now it's their time to shine.
We've worked diligently at requirements gathering and blueprinting, had plenty of meetings and discussions and the creative team have finally stopped talking. Now the developers can get on with laying the foundations by writing the unit tests and utilising one or more of the development tools they know inside out.
Our philosophy: get a working prototype in your hands as early as possible, be nimble and agile in development and project management and above all else, avoid feature bloat.
Testing is core to our development cycle as it forms the basis of our code through the unit tests we write and it provides you with a mechanism for feeding back users' experiences through user acceptance testing.
It's taken years to get right but we think we've perfected our approach with a multi-stage testing policy including 2 key client led phases: getting feedback from you and your users through user acceptance testing (UAT), the results of which may influence changes and tweaks as and when necessary and getting final results from operational readiness testing prior to 'go-live'.
Client testing is not something to dread, we won't be asking you to review bug-ridden or half complete work: we want to inspire confidence which is why our test driven development approach ensures you'll only receive something that has passed unit testing and integration testing by the developer and system testing by our internal QA.
We're nearly there! Now it's time to deploy to a scalable and robust hosting solution giving you complete confidence for now and for the future.
The majority of clients host their websites and web application on our scalable cloud infrastructure. We only provide hosting solutions to projects we have undertaken and each solution is specifically matched to your requirements: security, performance and resources (bandwidth, memory and processor) are all allocated per project. We then build a backup policy based on your data latency.
Go-live is achieved when users are using the live system for business as usual (BAU) activities. Go-live planning is an art in itself and we use techniques such as staggered go-live and dry runs to ensure BAU occurs to schedule.
It's over right? You've gone live and you're getting really positive feedback, we're all a bit tired but deep down there's a feeling of satisfaction. Is it time to stand back and admire? Not a chance: now is the time to review, analyse and improve. You've taken off but the journey's only just begun.
Firstly there's the 'bedding in' period requiring our immediate attention. This is known as 'early live support' (ELS): we're on hand to deal with issues and bugs, supporting you via telephone, email or through our project management and issue tracking system. We also run infrastructure monitoring tools to catch any critical issues early.
Let's take stock, make tweaks and review SEO and performance usage through Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and server monitoring.
Then let's discuss the second phase functionality that was defined in the blueprint. Is it still valid? Should the phase 2 features be amended based on user feedback? Are there any further enhancements?
How we design
User centred design
Our user centred approach means your users are involved at the earliest stage as possible and remain the focal point throughout. Early release, testable prototypes provide valuable feedback and steering resulting in clear, engaging and enjoyable user experiences.
User experience, user interface and information architecture
We create detailed wireframes of the information hierarchy and navigation systems, outlining user interfaces and interactive functionality in a prototype. The resultant prototype can then be put through user acceptance testing, tweaked and improved prior to the design and build processes.
Responsive web design
We use responsive web design techniques, making it possible to build a single website that adapts to multiple devices such as desktop, tablet and smartphone. Applied with early consideration for mobile devices (sometimes known as 'Mobile First') results in a number of key benefits:
- One code base: considerably reducing front-end development effort, maintenance and testing
- Simple and intuitive user experience: everything is stripped back by necessity of designing for mobile, removing unnecessary and overly complex elements as well as superfluous interactions and clutter
- Future proof: it readies the site for the explosive growth in mobile internet
Progressive enhancement allows functionality to be scaled from the ground up depending on browser capabilities, starting with the basic feature phone all the way up to desktops running the latest browser versions. This is a much more efficient way to design and develop the front-end because there is no need to spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to solve problems inherent in downscaling work to less feature rich devices/browsers.
How we build
Open all the way baby! Whether that's open source technology or open standards, we wouldn't have it any other way.
Website accessibility and standards
The internet is for everyone whether using assistive technology or accessing via a mobile device. Accessible sites reach a wider audience, improve user experience and are search engine friendly meaning your website is indexed more efficiently.
By creating accessible websites we ensure compliance with web standards and guidelines following the W3C web accessibility initiative all the way to AAA compliance should that be required.
Search engine optimisation
We use semantic markup and standards to re-enforce the meaning of information on a web page, making it easier for search engines to understand, categorise and rank your website.
Site maps and friendly urls also attribute to your page ranking and we consider these as part of a 'SEO development strategy' during our Blueprinting stage where we identify SEO requirements specific to your needs and then build them into the website development plan.
If you have an idea for a website, web application or mobile experience or think that you may be able to improve a business process using web technologies then please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you