I recently sat down with a few professionals at Andculture to get a sense of their jobs and how the concept, design and development of a digital experience project progresses.
But first, let’s talk about their office. Andculture is the ultimate office for any millennial. They work in an open space that allows easy collaboration and communication. The aesthetic is industrial chic with pops of color. At the bottom of their spiral staircase is an additional room, which currently houses their ping pong table (they recently held a company tournament).
Andculture’s office space isn’t designed just for form, but function. The experience they have created for themselves bleeds into the work they create for their clients.
There is no work for the rest of the team if there aren’t established relationships. Amanda generously brought me into the office and set up a few meetings with people in different roles. As a producer, Amanda plays a critical role in the success of how work gets done at Andculture, by building strong relationships and providing a thoughtful approach to projects.
As Heather shared a recent project, Kids Discover Online, she described all of the connections between the content and how those connections can guide and determine the structure of a site. Whether a project is public-facing (such as an app), or it’s intended for a company’s internal use (such as an intranet), research is a crucial part of the process.
This isn’t boring research though, this is problem solving research. By getting answers from the client and the potential audience of a site/experience, Heather’s work determines the path which tells the story of the client.
MADELINE PELLMAN | KATE FERRARA
Madeline had recently started a project for a client who wishes to create the first in a series of mobile applications. As a designer, she isn’t just responsible for the colors and type, but how the entire app experience ties together..
The process began with Madeline taking over one of the whiteboards in the office to map out the pages and get a general layout. This starting point would lead to more detailed designs being developed in Photoshop. From there, InVision is used to quickly prototype the design and give the client a better understanding of how the app works as an experience. Upon approval, designs are shared with the developers to begin the building.
As a designer completes their work, Zach, or any other front-end developer continues the process by getting into the html and css. Having an open work space is crucial at this point because as the project moves into development, communication between designers and developers ensures that the design maintains its integrity, while the code is clean and accurate. As Zach tackles this role, he is delving more into the back-end development, as well.
Mike works the “scary” back-end, where it seems that things may break at any moment. Today’s developers are not just writing raw code 100% of the time, but are participating in design discussions, and using resources to prototype and test code. As native apps become more common, Mike mentioned his use of Xamarin to build, test and monitor apps across several mobile platforms. Once the back end of a site or app is developed and tested, it is ready for use!
Not every web design firm is organized the same way, but a glimpse inside an experience design firm shows how roles are delegated over a large process, whether it’s a series of applications for a client, or an intranet to improve internal communication. What Andculture does goes beyond a website; they make products.
Meg Dobinson | Harrisburg