Back in 1999 when I created my first commercial website, during my final year of studying at Liverpool John Moores University, digital was a brave unknown. It was, at its most basic level, graphic design with limitations. Almost everybody who had access to the web connected with dial-up modems and we paid by the minute (after we'd finished listening to some crazy connection tones).
As the world of digital matures, the processes of delivering and measuring results have evolved. Many design and development processes have changed, and fads have come and gone. But as I've grown older and matured alongside this industry, I have gained valuable knowledge in terms of the thinking behind planning a successful digital project. And also the effort involved.
Old School to Modern Best Practice
Over the years, we've gone from Dreamweaver tables and chunky Flash intro screens to the world of Mobile-First, User Experience (UX) and Accessibility – now crucial to the successful deployment of a digital project.
Whilst the technology that we use to access the internet is in constant flux, and methods of communication and marketing evolve, there has always been one constant: the human interacting with the final designed app or web interface. The core focus of engaging an audience still remains – the same challenges that the Don Drapers of the pre-digital advertising world faced.
This is where the value of consultancy, research and scoping comes in.
Consultancy is often crucial for clarifying a brief – ensuring it meets your organisational needs, and the needs of your users – in order to generate value from your digital investment. Good consultancy can raise questions of related practices: things like content strategy, branding, communications and ongoing accessibility. Addressing these things leads to a better chance of achieving the desired results and – the all important – ROI (Return on Investment).
When we hold our co-creation workshops, for example, we're digging deeper than just the number of pages your website needs, which shade of blue you prefer or how big the logo should be. We're identifying your audiences, their challenges and your internal objectives.
This leads to greater success, as we understand your digital goals and centre design and UX processes around actual humans.
By challenging our assumptions and your assumptions we make sure we're on the right path towards unleashed creativity, maximum efficiency and perfect functionality.
Learning from the Past
That first website of mine was actually made for the global superstar DJ and producer Paul Oakenfold. It was far from perfect – in fact it went a bit Pete Tong...
I was involved in a successful World Record attempt during a live broadcast from Liverpool's Cream club. I was stood in the DJ booth with Paul Oakenfold, with an audience at home, eagerly watching using dial-up. But I bottled the chance to mix a track in front of a global audience. Probably best I focused on what I was best at...
The world of digital has matured to become an Essential Mix of life and business. But we still focus on what we're best at.