Twenty-four Questions

There are many reasons to create a blog. Individuals do it to express themselves, companies do it to communicate with their market, individuals and companies both do it because it’s “cool.” My goals are:

  • to have something decent at orum.com;
  • to learn more about WordPress (although I doubt I’ll use it long term, preferring to stick with our in-house CES);
  • to become a better writer by doing;
  • finally (and in support of all the above goals), to answer questions related to the philosophy, methods and processes at Loud Dog, the design firm I run.

I’m beginning an identity update process for Loud Dog. Our logo has been exactly the same for five years (there was some turbulence in the first year), and while our messaging has evolved substantially, it needs to be pulled together. Obviously, I’m not going to do this all myself – while it’s easy for me to help clients with this same thing, I find it very difficult to do it myself. However, before I involve a bunch of people, I need to become familiar with the topic.

So I set out twenty-four topics for me to write on over the next two months (about a question every two days). Because of the informal nature of this, I’m not posting it on the Loud Dog blog. I have no doubt that more will be added, but this is a starting point:

  1. Pricing – how and why we give estimates, not fixed bids (each customer is different, has hidden requirements; inaccurate; better service; no change orders)
  2. Doing, not planning (or researching) or why the market is a better research tool than we are
  3. Why purchasing research instead of conducting it is a better value
  4. Adding value at each step rather than simply doing what we’re told
  5. Big “D” design versus little “d” design
  6. What’s the difference between websites and web applications?
  7. Why we use standards-compliant code
  8. Making things easy to use is easy to do
  9. Why we work with executives and not engineering departments (has to do with big “D” versus little “d”)
  10. The straightforward relationship – why we like being friendly, and why it’s good for our clients and us
  11. Creating identity imagery – the image on the homepage, in brochures, etc.
  12. The four phases of SEO – basic, intermediate, advanced and extreme
  13. Why look & feel is overrated (putting lipstick on your pig enables you to avoid the real questions)
  14. The difference between look & feel, information design, information architecture, interaction design and everything else
  15. What we bring to a client beyond design – a focus on the corporate context (redesign versus realign)
  16. Why we use established technologies instead of the latest and greatest (a polemic against Ruby on Rails and its ilk)
  17. The difference between front-end programming and back-end programming (engineering) and how they are becoming blurred.
  18. CSS for Dummies: why CSS is so important.
  19. Ways we make websites faster
  20. What we do for different clients
  21. Making development simple – straightforward coding

Edit:

  1. Standard architecture – hierarchical organization, targeted audience paths and search
  2. The advantages of custom web apps over pre-packaged and customized web apps. Basically, because web apps are relatively inexpensive to develop, you can frequently spent a marginal amount more and get something perfect for your company, rather than something that sort of fits.