ecentricarts: Community, Creative and Business

Charity is a community investment that makes for good business and I believe that ecentricarts is up to the challenge of making charity profitable for community and business sensibilities. Through an effective creative system, ecentricarts is making our world better with superior user experience, communication that motivates, web creative that is interactive and engaging.

This week’s guest speakers come for ecentricarts

Keith_Durranthalftone

Keith Durrant
CEO at ecentricarts
https://www.linkedin.com/in/keithdurrant

Jennifer_Michiehalftone

Michelle Claessens
Art Director at ecentricarts, Provisional RGD
https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelleclaessen/

First check these ecentricarts stats:
15 years in the business
Over a thousand projects
Hundreds and hundreds of clients
Over a Hundred websites
and the proud inventors of Beer O’clock, Every Friday… Wicked smart.

Keith began his presentation with a video that showcases the entire studio population; each of the staff’s duties and a business culture that is creative focused at the same time caring for the health of the team… ecentricarts is ‘Made by artisans for artisans’.

Pear and culture projects are a focus of the business and a mindset of
“we work together”. Meaning that ecentricarts encourages the client to be involved in the creative process.

Some of the clients that they work with include:

Canadian Red Cross http://www.ecentricarts.com/work/canadian-red-cross/

YMCA http://www.ecentricarts.com/work/ymca-cwp/

Shred-it http://www.ecentricarts.com/work/shredit/

Curbell Plastics http://www.ecentricarts.com/work/curbell-ecommerce/

and projects of the United Nations, yes that United Nation… very impressive.

Keith explained that the best clients are those clients that listen, are engaged during the process, are great to work with and being humble also helps.

Michelle Claessens then began to present some of the websites worked on.

The work

For all projects information is structured to be the primary focus, it allows design and development to proceed together, creates a product that communicates to the user and results in success of its objectives, be for the community or for private business.

Shop Talk – UX design term for work

KPI – Key Performance Indicator is used in understanding the effectiveness of a websites reaching targeted goals, red donate buttons are very effective in up selling (people are enticed to donate more and establishes a value that contributes to KPI.

But there are other methods that can be more interactive and unique.

One interesting example is the Canadian Red Cross. For their holiday campaign, they required a website where users can buy products or a set dollar value as a donation. The solution was to present a website where an image of an empty room is used as an interactive stage. Images of products, such as a plush toy or holiday cards can be moved and placed around a holiday inpsired image. One section of the page acts as the shopping cart and users can place items for purchase there. Moving an item from one location to another is a fun and easy way to engage the user, it provided an interesting method of donation that adds value to the user.

The process

“The unlike is joined together, and from the differences results in the most beautiful harmony.”

― Heraclitus

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/process?page=1

I have included the above quote as a truth that ecentricarts practices in their creative process.

Shop Talk – UX design terms for process

Agile approach: small processes as we go (just as much as you need to complete – incremental method of management of design of web products… is highly flexible and interactive… I believe this where the client is initially involved in the process.

Within the agile process, the first step is to divide colleagues into specific “Sprints”

Start of Sprint Zero

Design Sprint:

1st phase of the design thinking process
Used to validate an initial design concept
Short and time boxed steps
Involves the entire project team
All happens during Sprint Zero (before the regular sprint cycle)
This is where the team needs to embrace uncertainty
as the client wants to sign off
Requirements/Specifications
Need to now everything so the client can sign off at each print cycle
Wireframes/Design
Functional/Specifications
Tech Specifications
Note: Each process is a Silo – Account is one Silo and Design is another Silo

Cycles:
Research

Brain Storming

Design

Prototyping

Testing

End Product

Research – define problem and story mapping with Post-it Notes™ as is evolving.

Brain Storming — How? Gather inspiration, designer, and client work together, homework given. Round one: sketching many concepts on small pieces of paper. Ideas have no constraints, critique and feedback. Round 2: refined concepts. Round 3: Refine concept

Design + Prototyping: Interactive wireframes, high fidelity prototype using Zurb Foundation framework. http://foundation.zurb.com/

Testing: First test in-house (show around the office) but sometimes use a Test Service to conduct user testing. Tasks given: watch how user interact with website – design and functionality are tested – Quality of feedback, what the user is thinking when selecting a button and where.

End Product, End Sprint

Steps
Start the online style guide for website
Bits of design as go important that content/design is consistent

Agile Management was intended for designers to use but developed by software developers for developers, designers were not considered. The solution is to implement a mini Waterfall (also known as Wagile).

Waterfall is another method of development management in that it works as it is named, progress flows downward in sequential phases like a waterfall: Conception, Initiation, Analysis, Design, Construction, Testing, Production/Implementation and Maintenance.

But moving from one management process to a whole new other process is time-consuming and costly, both time and money.

Like the quote above the solution is to combine both Agile and Waterfall to create a Wagile. Within Wagile, the Design Sprint occurs.

After the Design Sprint

You return to Agile; it is a mature design method for development.

Prototyping
Note: Each Sprint includes
Research
Small brainstorming
Sprint planning (wireframes for each development)
Design prototyping (best refined as needed)
Everyone needs to work together
Challenges of the Sprint
Time – get input – input where it is needed
Job-hunting tips

  • Networking – speaking to people
  • Good Designer design resume
  • Online portfolio
  • Cover letter- make it stand out, be memorable
    Why are you different
  • Check & Spell check
  • School projects do not obsess on a development, want to see
    layout and typography, thought process, wireframes, and sitemaps

Online Portfolio

  • range —handful of designs
  • samples — show artwork, show other creative projects

Interview

  • look at the interviewers company website
  • take an interest in what you do
  • Ask 5 relevant questions
    Save a few in your back pocket
  • Bring personality well rounded
  • Nervousness show you are excitement
  • Know your passions

Thank you, Keith Durrant and Michelle Claessens for taking the time to speak to the Pro topic class. It is fascinating to learn about ecentricarts, the culture looks inviting and nurturing; an environment for creativity. Glad to discover that your organization values the importance of community, for a charitable organization as well private businesses. The range of creative provided to clients is impressive, it shows that ecentricarts share a common trust for all their clients. The creative process revealed, wow; to learn that you have the clients involved in the process is awesome, that Agile is used initially, but then switches to Wagile…implementing a mini Waterfall for the design process and then switch back to Agile; Clever.
The job-hunting tips will be very helpful for our portfolio development and interview preparation. And finally thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, such as learning the tools you use for prototyping to a final product and that you see the of value accessibility.

I give you a big bucket of win for ecentricarts.

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