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Maria Giudice: We have a small group of design engineers here and their primary role is to be the technical liaison to what we are designing and what could be built. We often work with contractors and development partners outside the office because we like to be technology agnostic, because technology is not as simple as it used to be back in the old days. There are so many different flavors of technology that projects require. So for us, it's better for us to understand the technical landscape to a certain extent and then bring on specialists who know these technologies better than we could ever know in house and work collaboratively with them.
Renee Anderson: Since I've been working at Hot, off and on for ten odd years, I have-- one of the things that I find incredibly valuable now that we didn't have in the past is our designer engineering group. They are a group of people who have been engineers and developers in their past lives and now they are working here and what they do for the user experience group is really help us come up and problem solve. So when we are going through a design and when we are doing our wireframes and our site maps and our interactive modeling and our user flows, we can actually share this with our design engineers, who can look at these and say, "that can be built, no problem" or "that might be a little bit tricky but I have this other way of thinking about it." We never had that before and sometimes we would just be designing blindly without understanding what our opportunities are and what our constraints are from a technology point of view.
Michael Polivka: Even before a project starts, we could be doing some amount of quality assurance by defining the requirements and making sure that everybody understands those throughout the entire project and that's a big part of the design engineers here is to make sure those requirements are understood, that those timelines and budgets are understood for development and production and working with both the user experience and the user experience architects and visual designers here to make sure that we all get it. It's a product that we are delivering in those cases. It's not just some Photoshop pages that magically turn into a site. We are on the hook as a company for everything.
Maria Giudice: They are called design engineers because really all four teams are designers. They just have different ways of looking at the design problem. Renee Anderson: Just makes me feel so much more comfortable and thoughtful about what I am doing and knowing that the end deliverable, what we are actually designing, can be built, will be built very well and can be supported by the technology that the client has chosen to use. So I just think they're awesome.
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