Communicating with clients during a web project is the most important part of the production cycle. That’s why we use web applications to make our projects as accessible to our clients as we can.
The design and development phase of projects can be hard to communicate to clients using the traditional routes. Whilst emails, meetings and telephone conversations are important it’s also necessary to provide access to the project at every stage of it’s development. This is how we overcome that particular problem and how we keep our clients in touch with progress at every step.
Web design communication
We have taken this so seriously that we’ve developed our own web application to handle it. Allworkedup is a design project management tool which neatly displays flat web design iterations (as they would appear in the browser) as well as providing a forum for comment and feedback. Once our designers have finished a web design iteration they upload it and notify the project stakeholders who are then invited to comment on the design and open up the discussion with others.
It really works for us and bypasses the completely unworkable situation where feedback is via email and iterations are presented over email. The main thing is that whenever is convenient our clients can log in and leave their suggestions and feedback in one place.
Keeping our clients in touch with (web) developments
The web development phase of any project can leave clients feeling like nothing’s happening with periods of ‘quiet time’, but only if we’re not managing it properly. We choose to give the client access to the project progression at every stage of the process so as a task is ticked off – the client is alerted of it.
We use a fantastic web development management tool called Pivotal Tracker which logs all the tasks as User Stories and shows which ones are queued for immediate development, which ones have been started, finished and delivered and which ones are coming up later on. This way our clients are always in-touch with progress and have a real handle on where we are and when we might be finished.
Here at Hutchhouse we’re always trying to streamline our workflow to both maximize efficiency and keep the wasted design time to a minimum. Over the years we found a natural course for presenting our designs online which has culminated in the creation of AllWorkedUp: An online management tool for designers.
At Hutchhouse we predominantly design websites so it’s only natural that – during the design process – we should want to show these designs online. Like most agencies our clients are dotted around the country so it has proved really useful to upload our creative work to a protected area and have clients access them. It guaranties everyone is looking at the same design wherever they might be located.
When we had some spare time we added some further functionality to the system enabling members of a project to leave comments. This works great for both designer and clients as notes can be added when a creative is uploaded, and the client can then comment against them. Once a comment is submitted all members of the project are notified. This really helps small teams like ours react to client responses without having to always go through the Project Manager saving countless emails flying back-and-forth.
This week we put a Beta version live offering 200 free accounts on a first-come basis. We’re interested in hearing what people think of the system, whether it has some legs or whether it should be thrown out with bath water! Any feedback regarding tweaks, added functionality or obvious floors would be gratefully received!
Please, have an account on us!
Along with our good friends at White October and Nonsense we have given ourselves 24 hours to conceive, design, build and promote a new web based start-up company. It’s currently 03:16am and the office is mostly quiet apart from the odd murmor from the development team and the tip tap of keys.
The project situation is pretty healthy. We have a name. Dr.Hue. We have a business idea (shopping by colour) and we have a brand. We even have a holding page Drhue.com. The main site is being templated, whilst the templates are being finished off and there’s a whole host of image manipulation trickery going on in development. In the background, accross the room, the marketing boys set about promoting the site and pulling together a campaign.
And of course… you can currently see it all unfold at 24hour-startup.com
Just a very quick announcement that Allworkedup 2 has been launched and is ready for new users. Allworkedup can seriously aid your project management efforts. It helps to increase the efficiency with which you manage client feedback and move through design iterations and record design versions.