The Technical Director – The Project Genius Under the Hood

The Technical Director – The Project Genius Under the Hood

Today’s technology brings us websites and apps that are increasingly powerful, elegantly designed and easy to use. Every year holds the promise of significant leaps forward as far as the technical capabilities of our products go. An incredible level of collaborative ingenuity is required to bring these groundbreaking creations to market. On the one hand, you’ve got the creative innovators dreaming up amazing new products the world has never seen before and on the other hand, you’ve got the engineers who write the code that make these innovations possible. So, we’ve got designers and engineers working together to make really cool stuff… but how does the artistic vision of your team’s creatives get translated into the beeps and clicks that constitute the programming under the hood of every brilliant digital product we use? Introducing the Technical Director (TD), the invaluable bridge between inspired vision and digital brass tax.

The Lead UX Designer – Because Every Project Needs a People Person

The Lead UX Designer – Because Every Project Needs a People Person

The User Experience (UX) Lead’s job is to understand users. She’s the person on the team who’s responsible for translating the project vision into a product that end users can use easily and happily. This is not just about creating a product that’s beautiful to look at. It’s about conducting user research, testing and trouble-shooting in order to understand the end user’s goals and motivations, so the team can design a product that improves the user’s experience. The main job of the UX Lead on any project is to identify a product’s problem and create an elegant, intuitive and optimized solution for it. Without the UX Lead, the design team is merely guessing at what end users want/need, and most often end up solving the wrong problem, albeit in an aesthetically pleasing way. In other words, you end up with a pretty product that is of little value because it’s not focused on the exact goals of the end users. Through research, testing and design iteration, a good UX Lead makes sure that the product will increase conversion and/or advance the mission of the company. So how, exactly does the UX Lead make that happen?

Customer Advisory Boards – The Perfect Project Think Tanks

Customer Advisory Boards – The Perfect Project Think Tanks

If you want to know what customers think about your product, the best way to find out is to ask them. Why do unnecessary guesswork when you can ask the customers directly? The customer advisory board, or CAB is a group of about 10-15 customers who meet regularly on behalf of your company to discuss their views on a particular product, of which they are end users. The discussions, which are based on the board member’s firsthand experience with the product, include thoughts on customer desires, motivations, and values, as well as information on competing products and industry trends. The CAB ultimately creates a list of actionable items for your company, which will facilitate product improvement, and in a more general sense, will help to assess prospective business priorities and direction. Assessing and using the data from CAB meetings is a great way to ensure that your company’s vision is kept in alignment with customers’ desires, safeguarding product profitability.

Every Successful Project Needs a Spirit Guide, Introducing the Product Manager

Every Successful Project Needs a Spirit Guide, Introducing the Product Manager

The world of tech is filled with groundbreaking products that inspire us with their ingenuity, elegance and utility. These products are created by diverse teams collaborating on a shared vision. From engineers and designers to business development and marketing gurus, these teams of talented individuals would be lost without the invaluable Sherpa also known as the Product Manager. The Product Manager takes the CEO’s idea, communicates it to the team and helms the ship that will journey through the creative storm of product development. During their journey, the design team will encounter shifting icebergs and treacherous sea monsters. The PM will keep the project on course in the face of these obstacles, ultimately ensuring that at their final destination, the team has executed the company’s vision. The PM knows that achieving this goal is paramount because the vision represents the objectives of the CEO and founders, and most important, serves the company’s users.

Bootstrap – The Benefits of a Front-End Framework

Bootstrap – The Benefits of a Front-End Framework

Bootstrap is an extremely popular, open source, front-end framework. First released in 2011, and currently in its third version, it's the #1 download on GitHub. Bootstrap seems to be everybody's favorite. We love it too, but there was a time when we were skeptical and wondered whether or not we should use a predefined library, so we'd like to share our evolving experience here, just in case you don't believe the hype.