The vast majority of our clients are successful small to mid-sized business owners, who are looking for a team to help take their digital business to the next level. They know that Tragic is the full package of design, development, and project management, and they're looking for guidance in building a site that communicates their brand and engages their target audience. That being said, it is also VERY difficult to turn over responsibility of your business's digital identity, and we fully understand the emotions behind wanting to maintain control over the process.
Fortunately, we've worked with a LOT of different product owners, and we absolutely want your input and feedback, throughout the whole process! We may be the 'experts' in building websites and web apps, but you are the expert of your own business, and it's important that we work closely and harmoniously toward our common goal of building the best website or application for your business.
Below, you'll find some pieces of wisdom we've gained after years of working with different people on different digital projects-- a guide of sort on how to ensure your voice is heard as a product owner, but also that we are able to do our jobs in an efficient and cost-effective fashion, resulting in an awesome end product, and no one being frustrated! Check out our list, and feel free to shoot us a note if you have any feedback or questions.
Trust the team you have hired to make decisions in your best interest
It can be super hard to give up responsibility and control over your project, but it's our passion to build beautiful and functional applications for our clients, so we promise every decision and suggestion we make is in your best interest. A lot of times we see folks fall into the same trap time after time - "I think we should cram more content into this page, it feels too empty" or.... "I made this page and it links off of my site to various other sites, but it's helpful so I want to keep it"..... etc. The vast majority of product owners have their own reasons for wanting to do things a certain way - and we totally hear you! - But we also have experience and research which shows the consequences of some of these decisions, and we're trying to help you avoid them. Trust that you hired us to be the experts.
Understand that the first draft will never be perfect, and there is plenty of room to make tweaks over time.
This goes for all parts of the process. Realistically, if you're just allowing time and budget for a single round of designs- you're likely going to get frustrated. We have great designers, but it's basically impossible to exactly capture a business owner's vision on the first try. See the design process as time in which we are all working together to build both the most beautiful and functional site, and also the site that most speaks to your business and captures your vision as a business owner. Not just that... your website is a living, breathing thing. We will only go live with a site when everyone is happy with how it looks, feels, and functions- but as a product owner it is crucial to know that your site will evolve over time- and if you don't have the time or budget for something right now, we can put it in the backlog and tackle it when you do! Getting your site up and running as quickly as possible is generally very important, and if you have any tweaks you'd like to see down the line, we're happy to do so.
Be ready to impart your vision-- spend time thinking about what you want your site to look and feel like, and why.
Again, our designers are awesome, but they're not mind readers. We all work closely to brainstorm visuals, styling, layout, and look and feel for your site; but it's absolutely crucial that you come to the table with at least an idea of what you're looking for. Websites you like the look and feel of are super helpful- as is a list of your top 10 most important points you'd like to get across on your new site. This website/web-app needs to represent you as a business, and the best way for us to help you do that, is to understand what you stand for and what you're aiming to do from Day 1. The vision will determine the design direction, which will determine the look and feel of your new site- help us out with sharing everything important you'd like to see, and impart.
Think about your audience-- who are we catering towards? Help us understand what kind of person you're looking to attract.
The second most important thing after understanding your vision, is understanding who your audience is. Websites are designed very differently depending on what type of person we're trying to attract for you... Is it a consumer facing site? or a site for contrators? Are we mostly catering toward decision makers or lower level employees? Is this for folks with a heavy science background, or are we just looking to appeal to a general consumer looking for a lifestyle product? Understanding the customer is half the battle, and since you know your customer best, be ready to bring us all the information you can about them.
What is your timeline & budget and how does it match to what you think you want?
This is one of those tricky questions, but it's so crucial to talk about from the get go, and ensures that no one is left surprised or disappointed by the end-product. Many times, tight budgets are an inevitable reality. Money doesn't grow on trees, and oftentimes getting a new website up and running is the pre-cursor to your business exceeding revenue goals. Be realistic about what your budget can buy. And be realistic about what is possible within the timeline you're looking at. We've done full multi-page site re-designs in the space of a month, but they were only successful and possible because the product owner knew he/she was only getting a couple designs with one iteration each, and that compromises would need to be made to hit their deadline. With a limitless budget and timeline we can build you anything you can dream up- but the reality of limits on both need to translate to expectations for a finished product. We will always build you the best website or web app that we can with the time and money you have available, but setting expectation from the get-go means you're always in the loop on what the finished product will be.
What pieces are non-negotiable, and what can be negotiated?
This goes along the same lines as #1... what pieces of your website, what imagery or pages or messaging is absolutely non-negotiable, and what pieces do we have some more creative freedom around? There are always pivotal pieces of content that must appear on your site, and we 100% want to know what those are. But there are also always sections of a website that could do with some creative interpretation and brainstorming- and it's important for us to know where we can put our thinking caps on and design/build you something groundbreaking and awesome in a spot you wouldn't necessarily expect it. Talk to us about what you must have- but also talk to us about where you'd like the most Tragic-magic.
Finally, know your brand, and know how to show us what differentiates your company or product.
We are, at the end of the day, building this website to sell some sort of product. Whether it's services, yourself, a tangible product... you need to know the highlights, strengths, and shortcomings of your product so you can teach us about it. This gives us the material and power to ensure we're branding and messaging around the pivotal aspects of your product and business, resulting in a website that is streamlined towards the end-goal of creating and completing a sale, in whatever form that might take.
You are the expert of your business, and the most successful relationships between Tragic and product owners which result in the most beautiful and successful websites, are the ones where we all come to the table with our strengths and know we're working on the same side through the entire project process. Our small team is super passionate about building the best sites in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible, and it's very important to us that we're doing that in close tandem with the clients who represent and love the products in the first place.
If you want to build the site of your dreams, give us a shout-- we're always here to brainstorm or chat about your vision, and excited to see what we can help you create!