Design time at Urtak
We’re days away from an important new release. We’re adding new features and functionality, and giving our look a bit of an update while we’re at it. We thought we’d let you behind the curtain, and share with you just how something goes from idea to execution.
The process of making a change to the site involves a few steps.
It starts with identifying the problem we want to solve. This could be as simple as fixing a typo, or as complicated as making sure that Urtak is embeddable on Facebook.
We consider how we want to address the problem. We write up a document that establishes what changes we want to make.
Next is one of the hardest parts. We have to figure out exactly how to implement our plan. It’s easy enough to say, for example, that a participant should be able to view their response history. But then we have to decide where this information is displayed, how it’s displayed, what other information it’s displayed with, what copy we should use to explain it, how often we’ll refresh this information, how we will bring it from our database to your interface in a way that won’t crash our system at a large scale, etc. etc…
That can be tricky.
Once we have the specs comes the fun part – making it all look good.
At Urtak, we’re lucky enough to have Sascha Mombartz, the world’s greatest designer under 30, helping us make the site “look cool.” While this really is one of the most exciting aspects of what we do, it can also be one of the most tense. Everyone has an idea in their mind of what they’d like the site to look like, so deciding on things that seem simple, say, a particular font, or whether or not to bold a particular phrase, can in fact lead to quite dramatic discussions at HQ.
Our philosophy is that it’s a good idea to let creative people create. So we’ll all figure out what elements we want, and then Sascha will go off and work some wonders in Photoshop.
He’ll come back with something like this:
Then we’ll say something like, “Hey Sascha, we love it, looks great, but don’t you think it might just be a little too blue? There’s a lot of blue there, don’t you think it looks a bit cold?”
So he’ll go and make a change:
“Sascha, fantastic. The yellow is really nice, nice contrast there. But don’t you think it’s just a bit low-key? How about a brighter yellow, one that really pops!”
That kind of suggestion could get us something like this:
“Sascha, love it. That really packs a serious punch! Really strong, bold, tells the world we’re here to kick some ass! But don’t you think it makes us look a bit too Swedish? Urtak is an Icelandic word after all…”
Even the most patient designers can become exasperated, and when that happens, we might end up with concepts that look like this…
In the end though, we always do end up agreeing on something that makes us all happy. That’s what we go with. You’ll see it soon.
After that, it’s time for the great and powerful Wizard of Rails to code it (this is hard work!).
When it’s done we give it a serious testing, and then we release it. That’s when you get to join the fun!