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Hot Studio founder Maria Giudice and her exceptional multi-disciplinary design team "make the complex beautifully clear" for web clients like eBay, Gap, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Maria focuses the studio’s work on people-centered design to create amazing user experiences on the web and in print. See how they apply "collective intelligence" through the phases of discovery, strategy, design, and building. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside one of the coolest design firms around.
Michael Polivka: The build phase here is probably one of the biggest wild cards in the company because of the broad service offering that we have provide for our clients. Katrina Alcorn: We often just handcode a template to our client's technical teams and then they will actually implement the whole site, so the build might just be a set of coded templates. Henrik Olsen: All the way up to where there is enterprise resource planning, really complex industrial software on that side. Maria Giudice: We are iterating, we're responding to people's needs.
We are testing, we are testing with real users. Katrina Alcorn: And then transfer is all that handholding and exchange of documentation and all the conversation that happens between our team, as the consulting firm and our client's teams. Renee Anderson: And that all the assets that we have created over the course of the project are then transferred into the hands of the client and they own it from that point. Michael Polivka: You could deconstruct the build phase in maybe two main things; one is really the development, which would happen upfront, sort of a team of developers getting something to a beta state and just kind of cranking and getting it moving along and then once it's in a solid enough spot, bringing the visual designers and the user experience architect back into the picture there to do really detailed QA work again. Here is our comp, here is the actual build and when we hold those left to right, those two things should be looking 99.9% accurate, with maybe some mild variations for the different browsers we are looking at.
It can be something like providing more of a consultation for a platform that a client has currently in house but they need some more expertise. That happened recently with Bank of the West, where we really helped them with Vignette on the back-end. They have Vignette developers but this project really called for a really tight integration between the existing solution and the designs that we were going to have. It wasn't just like a free-for-all, go design and we will make it happen. So it really required us to get in there and be really vigilant. So we got some great partners involved with that, had a great unified team and provided them the guidance and some templates that they could then incorporate into their own back-end system.
A third type of thing that we might do in the build phase is provide a full beginning-to-end content management system based website. That happened most recently with UCSF. We worked with their Memory and Aging Group to do a website for it's called CJD, the Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease, and we really helped provide a full solution system for them. We went in and did an audit of the different type of content management systems they might need. We helped recommend one. We locked in a partner to be with us from beginning to end that specialized in Drupal.
We did design and development efforts very closely and we are really heavily involved with the QA to make sure that again, what we are showing as the comp, really at the comp level, is what this website is looking like when it goes live. On the second side of that then is working with the client, because they can have a little change of heart on some things, even though it's really clearly documented in the business requirements doc, the comps have been approved, the schematics are approved, everybody is locked and loaded and built, but during that phase, we have got to be sensitive to the clients. Some things may change when they are live based on what the client's mental model for it might have been and just making sure that we are adjusting for that.
Each project is different, each project is unique, each project will use a different or have the potential to use a different development partner or the client's doing it in house on their own. So we really have to be dynamic in how we are participating in Quality Assurance. So it's like, how do we QA and test and build and review and push live all within a very short timeline? Timeline, budget, amount of effort, that can all drastically alter all the plans that are go into Quality Assurance.
Maria Giudice: And then, at the end as you're wrapping up, so what have we learned? We call that transfer, where we are transferring all the things that we learned, we're wrapping it all up and passing that knowledge on to whoever is going to be maintaining the site or redesigning the book later or you are just transferring knowledge. So whatever it takes to make sure that whatever we are designing is actually going to be used and loved later on.
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