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CHI-WEB  April 2000, Week 4

CHI-WEB April 2000, Week 4

Subject:

SUMMARY: Design Firms?

From:

"Schaeffer, Claire A. (EXCH)" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Schaeffer, Claire A. (EXCH)

Date:

Mon, 24 Apr 2000 13:52:09 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (99 lines)

Last week I posted a request to this list for suggestions of design firms
that were strong in both graphic design and usability (I was assisting an
associate in her search for a design firm.)

I received 20 design firm suggestions (all listed below the body of this
message) and several requests to provide a summary of my findings to the
list.

First, let me offer my thanks to everyone who made suggestions - your
assistance was greatly appreciated and made a significant difference in the
design firms I ultimately recommended.

Second.  How to best present a summary of my findings has been a bit of a
poser to me. I have no wish to offend any of the good people of this list,
but I can't just post a list of the recommended sites without caveats as to
what I found.

In reviewing the suggested sites, I saw numerous items that gave me concern
about the stated strength of "usability skills".  Among the most flagrant
problems I saw: "no-content splash pages"; "all graphic" designs (no text);
absence of alt tags; total fluff copy -- if the offending sites hadn't been
submitted to me as "web design firms," I would have had no clue as to
services offered (although I would have know they were "very good" at
whatever it is they were doing); a site designed *entirely* in Flash with no
alternative for the Flash Impaired; and the most annoying -- a site where
once the splash page finally finishes loading, it insists on being the top
window on your desk top (at least in I.E. 5 on NT).

I do understand that many design firms feel the need to strut technological
know-how, but I was surprised at how many firms do not feel the same need to
strut (or even demonstrate) their usability/interaction know-how.

That said, I did find several sites that I felt confident recommending.  The
firms that made my final cut were (in no particular order):

http://www.raremedium.com
http://www.csc.com/
http://www.concretemedia.com/
http://www.hannahodge.com/
http://www.razorfish.com/

PLEASE NOTE: any design firms without US offices or e-commerce capabilities
were automatically dismissed from consideration as those items were client
requirements. Also, there were additional sites with many strengths that I
just didn't feel met the particular needs of this one client.

Being familiar with the target audience and intended purpose of the proposed
site, I encouraged the person who would be making the final decision to
ensure that the chosen firm understood the following:

1. The target market for this site is most likely on dial-up connections -
making it critical that file size be given strong consideration.
2. Target market is not filled with early adopters - making it imperative
that the site's function not be dependent on Flash (or any technology
requiring a plug-in).
3. No frames (ability to bookmark highly important).
4. Site MUST be fully accessible in Netscape 4.x and I.E. 4.x

(SIDE BAR: Just for kicks, if you haven't looked at your web site in the
latest non-beta release of Opera ( http://www.opera.com/ ) lately, you
really should.  It can be quite humbling. ;)

All in all, it was an interesting week of reviewing firms and I very much
appreciate all the suggestions.

Best Regards,

Claire
---------------
Claire Amundsen Schaeffer
Corporate Web Site Manager
Intermedia Communications Inc.
Voice: 813-829-4739
http://www.intermedia.com/
mailto:[log in to unmask]
----------------

Full list of firms suggested to me (in no particular order):
1. http://www.concretemedia.com/
2. http://www.razorfish.com/
3. http://www.giantstep.com
4. http://www.saltmine.com/
5. http://www.papermedia.com
6. http://www.smallpondstudios.com
7. http://www.xceed.com
8. http://www.pres.co.uk
9. http://www.iconmedialab.com
10. http://www.agency.com
11. http://www.raremedium.com
12. http://www.organic.com
13. http://www.redsky.com
14. http://www.scient.com/
15. http://www.modemmedia.com/
16. http://www.ogilvy.com/o_interactive/default.asp
17. http://www.hannahodge.com/
18. http://www.csc.com/
19. http://www.solutechinc.com
20. http://www.ikonosnewmedia.com/

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