Our Process

Building things of value in the digital space is about more than just hacking disparate technologies together. In other words, don’t do this:

At its best, the story of technological progress is a story about becoming better humans. Computing devices, the internet, open source software, and other innovations bring with them the opportunity to expand our knowledge of the universe and ourselves, to gain access to high-quality goods and services easily, and to provide a launchpad for astonishing creativity and ingenuity.

When we’re working on a new project, we are continually looking for ways to weave the low-level development process in with the higher-level goals of the client and the story of how what we’re building provides real value to their customers. Because at the end of the day, we don’t see ourselves as simply purveyors of technology solutions. We see ourselves as storytellers.

It’s All About Relationships.

We love to partner with individuals and companies who are comfortable working in collaboration on a wide variety of different software ideas and publishing needs over time. We believe creating great apps, websites, and content is a continual process, not an end-goal, and thus we value long-term business relationships that can span years or even decades. We’re proud of the fact that a sizable portion of projects in our portfolio are new redesigns for past clients.

And Ethics.

Ethics and morality aren’t always at the forefront of discussion when looking at how people build software and communicate online, and that’s a shame. We deeply care about creating phenomenal experiences for users. And that means the apps and websites we build should exhibit respectful and clear communication, honor users’ security and privacy expectations, and eschew psychological tricks for the sole purpose of increasing engagement.

And Design Thinking.

Steve Jobs once stated that design isn’t just how it looks, it’s how it works. Our user experience (UX) training has taught us that fundamental truth. We care equally about aesthetics and functionality when we work on a design. And what really matters is how the end user perceives the design. Does it make sense? Does it answer the right questions? Is it delightful to interact with? Will it add value to the person’s life?

The Build-Measure-Learn Cycle

Massive estimates, carefully-hewn specs, far-off milestones, sealed-box deliverables…the Waterfall process is a thing of the past. We employ principles gleaned from Agile software development to ensure a highly-collaborative, extremely iterative working process. We divide work into short sprints, manage everything with small, bite-sized tasks, and engage in regular review stops with you along the way.

Over time the line between pre-launch and post-launch has become far more blurred. That’s why we prefer to think of website and software development as a series of phases. It’s OK to publish a rough beta, obtain user feedback, make changes and improvements, and release again. In our view, publishing online is a continual process, derived from a healthy long-term working relationship.

Project Management

Everyone seems to have their preference regarding the best project management software to use and there are endless options out there to choose from. In our experience, we’ve had great success with a couple of different tools: Basecamp & Trello. Depending on the nature of the project, we’ll use one or the other.

This allows us to collaborate with you on continual content development, file sharing, and status updates. Assigned to-dos help keep everyone on track, and automatic email notifications ensure nobody misses an important message. In addition, effective use of project management software ensures that the project scope is well understood and things are getting done properly and are assigned to the right people.

Generally speaking, we avoid email as much as possible. If you email us a file or a comment, it’s likely we’ll add it to Basecamp or Trello and respond there. That way it’s easy to see at a glance what all the communication threads are and what they’re regarding.

Pricing

Every project is different. Some are more different than others. That’s why we go to great lengths to craft a proper scope around the work to be done and require the use of Agile planning tools throughout an engagement so that things are less likely to catch you (or us) off-guard.

For content-focused websites, our starting price is around $6,000.

For custom applications, our starting price is around $20,000.

If you are a non-profit or a bootstrapped startup, please inquire about our discounted rates. Sure, we gotta make enough money to pay for our fancy cars and swanky office food on the table and roof over our heads, but we’re also happy to give folks a deal who are striving to make the world more awesome.

We bill by the hour and invoice once or twice a month depending on the type of engagement. Electronic payment options (credit/debit card, PayPal, or ACH direct deposit) are strongly preferred. Please contact us for more information about our rates or any other billing questions you might have.

Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration, and 100% a team effort.

At the most basic level, we look for projects where you like us, we like you, and we can make some cool mind-blowing stuff happen together.

If you resonate with that, let’s talk! 👍