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What the Heck is Client Development?

My job consists of many coffees, lunches and phone calls. Eight times out of ten those chats have little to do with a specific project need.

In fact, in some cases the company I’m speaking with has already chosen another agency to work with. Most of these meetings are informal interviews—but what many people don’t realize is that the interview is going both ways.

As a potential client you might be interested in hearing what I know about the digital industry or getting an opinion on your business needs.

But I’m interested in finding out your purpose and your business objectives; whether we’re a good fit; and if you have the vision to push your business to the next level.

Regardless of what you have in mind when you step into it, the conversation is never as simple as: “I need a website. Can you build one for me!?” It’s about establishing a relationship and a level of trust so if we do work together, it’ll be a thoughtful, purpose-driven engagement, and anything we create together will be meaningful and lasting.

It isn’t a bad thing to not win work immediately. What’s more important is establishing a level of trust. Without that...

Field Notes From a Co-creation Session: Site planning with Variety the Children's Charity

Partway through our recent project with Variety - The Children’s Charity, we were running into questions that email and Basecamp and phone calls weren’t solving. Nicole, the project manager on the case, had been tracking updates and coordinating between our client and our developers, but quickly saw the smartest move would be to get in the same room.

She invited Shawn from Variety to drop by our Railtown office.

Shawn’s a quick-to-smile, earnest guy with a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude, who brings compassion and creativity to every interaction—the kind of person you want to work with.

When the glass and steel door creaked to announce Shawn’s arrival, it was a crisp spring day, with the sun burning away a haze of morning fog. He joined Nicole and me in our little-bit-too-small meeting room. His presence in the room immediately infused some empathy into the project; seeing our clients eye-to-eye and working at the same table, in the same room, quickly dissipates client/vendor divides.

Shawn came prepared with a huge...

Experience Mapping to Help Organizations Thrive

As you run your business, you focus on what you know. You're great at that. You'll tweak and optimize moments in a customer's journey, with the intention of improving their experience.

We often find there are blind spots in the picture of a person's experience with your product and service. These unknowns could include things like:

  • What motivates them to use your product or service
  • The environment they are in
  • Who they interact with all along the way
  • What they are thinking and feeling, and
  • What they are doing...

...just to name a few.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of moments happen before they ever visit your website, purchase your product, or call customer support. All of these details are important to understand, for one simple reason: experience matters! The whole experience, from start to finish. Make no mistake, users will move on to something better if they have a bad experience.

At Domain7, we believe that success only comes when we fully understand the entire customer journey, and build experiences that put users first.

The process of Experience Mapping has been a valuable...

Human at Every Level: Administration at Domain7

It’s easy to see how Domain7 lives out our mission to humanize the web: it shouts from our empathetic approach to solving client problems and our user-centred design.

But until they engage with us for a little while, many of our clients don’t understand that our mission extends beyond our products, and right into our operations.

As a junior accountant, my work stays behind the scenes, but in two years at Domain7 I’ve seen how empathy seeps into our processes, and have been invited to build upon that—both in how we engage with the wider team and with clients.

Here’s a peek behind the curtain at how your “human” Domain7 experience carries through right to the administrative level:

Involved at every level

Accountants can slip into bad habits: we’re more removed from projects so it’s easy to feel disconnected from the daily mission of a company. But not at Domain7.

We’re engaged throughout projects—not just when it's time to bill clients after launch. We take part in brainstorming sessions with the Strategy team; we share biweekly internal updates on team initiatives, company happenings, new projects, or ones on the...

Co-creation: Managing creative energy in workshops

More and more people are realizing the value of co-creation, facilitation and workshops in general as a means of creating innovative breakthroughs. But, if you’re not accustomed to actually wielding a roomful of people’s creative energy, it may seem a bit daunting.

I’ve collected a few of my favourite tips to help you on your journey as a workshop leader.

Invite with intention and inspiration: The way you communicate expectations around a workshop couldn’t be more important. Participants’ attitudes will make or break your workshop. Do everything you can to be clear about what the workshop is for, to provide an agenda in advance, and to help people feel comfortable. If you can help inspire participants in advance that it will be a way to collaborate and solve problems together, that they need only bring their own selves, it helps a lot. If you detect skepticism, invest up-front in showing examples of helpful workshops and explaining the purpose.

Match the activity to the problem: Choosing exercises appropriately, depending on the opportunity you’re trying to find. Some exercise are better suited to brainstorming, others to team-building...

Easy as Pi: Hardware Hacks with Raspberry Pi

On a balmy day in August, the Domain7 Custom Development team met up at our top secret Abbotsford hardware labs for a day of learning and building. The main goal was to tackle a new platform: the Raspberry Pi.

I have a confession to make: hardware programming and wiring terrify me.

I'm not talking about consumer electronics—laptops, phones, audio/video systems—but the cool stuff that involves circuit boards, jumper pins, resistors, diodes, and probably some C code: platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or even simple transistors.

Despite many hours studying and building electronics since I was a kid, a full year of Physics, and nearly two decades of development experience, hardware still frustrates me.

Which is why the Raspberry Pi platform caught my interest: it runs Linux and I can actually use...

Learning from the Masters: Real life UX lessons from Magritte and Van Gogh

I’m a sucker for modern art and, for me, no travels are complete without spying a local collection of 19th and 20th century greats. A recent visit to Brussels and Amsterdam offered a deep dive into two of my favourites: Magritte and Van Gogh, respectively.

Truth be told, I favour Magritte with his hyperreal detail and his way of challenging our perceptions of reality with accessible wit. I had the museum mostly to myself, and I had splurged on an audioguide. It was a diverse and interesting collection…. and yet I couldn’t wait to get out.

The experience was jarring and unmetered—and it was nothing I could blame on Surrealism.

Its shortcomings were only further illuminated when I visited Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum a few days later. It was packed, and yet, like everything in Amsterdam, the crowd followed an invisible but understood rhythm—a natural flow. I absorbed more; I didn’t feel like I was constantly backtracking or missing key pieces; I didn’t feel overwhelmed...