The effect development team swapped a day in the studio for a day of inspiration at DotYork on the May 1st. Touted as a ‘digital conference for curious minds’ that featured some of the best speakers in web design – we just couldn’t miss out!
Setting off bright and early, we travelled up to the city of York arriving at the conference to be greeted with a gift bag of coders goodies (hosting vouchers, Yorkshire tea and the obligatory github sticker). Armed with our freebies we got ready for the first speaker – James Young a creative director and writer for ‘Smashing’ magazine.
The theme for the day was ‘A Leap of Faith’, James Young certainly took that leap of faith when he and his business partner decided to take a break from studio work to create an online business selling Japanese kitchen knives. Being a creative director and running a web development company, James was often restricted by the client’s requirements or budget. Creating their own online business was an opportunity to prove how good they are at creating websites without the restrictions placed on them by the client – in other words it was their turn to be the client.
The moral of James story was that although they were able to create a profitable business, it was nowhere near as easy as they thought it would be. By becoming the client they gained new experiences, appreciated business challenges more and improved their design and development skills to overcome various hurdles along the way. Ultimately by placing themselves in the client’s shoes they became a better agency.
Other speakers included Ashley Baxter, with a talk, which was worryingly entitled ‘I suck at my Job’ – whilst this may not seem like a worthwhile person to listen to Ashley’s story was an incredibly deep story. Having inherited her fathers insurance business after he passed away, Ashley had been struggling to grow the business, unfortunately one day the company hit an all time low and Ashley experienced failure. Ashley’s heart was not in the insurance business; so she couldn’t get into the mind of her target audience in order to effectively sell to them, which led her to failure. By discovering where her heart truly was, Ashley was able to turn failure into something better – an insurance company for like-minded creatives.
Ashley’s and James’ stories are important reminders that in order to creative a successful digital experience we need to not only fully understand our clients but also their target audience. Without those ingredients design and code is simply flesh without skin and bones to hold it together.
By taking time out of the studio to listen to other developers and designers share their experiences we feel even more inspired to continue to learn about our clients businesses and objectives. Some of the speakers reaffirmed what we already knew but it all ultimately helps us deliver a better service to our clients. So if you’re interested in working with a forward thinking agency with curious minds, don’t be shy get in touch.