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Layering human intuition onto the
architecture of science and technology

We partner with our clients to create engaging and scalable web experiences that fulfill your and your customers' business goals. We're continually criss-crossing industries so that our ideas are consistently fresh, original and useful. We enable our clients to discern when "Industry Standard Practice" is useful, and when it's a straightjacket.

There is a lot of talk today about companies moving on "internet time." We hoped, in vain it seems, that much of this foolishness would've crashed with the tech stocks in the latter half of the Millenium Year. In spite of all attempts by VCs and fawning journalists to prove otherwise, business fundamentals still apply.

The pace of business today is indeed approaching lightspeed, but many failed to heed the warnings of the "reality distortion fields" surrounding what turned out to be just a bunch of black holes. (Massively attractive, consuming all available energy from anything within its gravitational pull, only to collapse into a cold, dark crater...)

Nothing, even outrageous fashions and the "flexible office" could force these firms to show a profit.


Why Should Rock Eel Café Custom Craft Your Site?

Three words. Fast. Clean. Compliant. Get a quote.

The Collaboration Coaches™ of Rock Eel Café have developed a saner recipe for integrating your on-line and off-line marketing efforts. It's called Orchidesign™ and it starts with nothing. Literally.

Shoshinsha means essentially "empty mind."

Kanji for 'beginner' or 'empty vessel, empty mind'

What is your business and how do you define a successful site?


C L A R I F Y   B U S I N E S S   S T R A T E G Y
  • What's the lay of the land? We'll explore the current industry landscape
  • What's your Business Model? How well is it working?
  • What are your Market/Product/Company Differentiators?
  • Who are You? We'll review Naming, Branding, Corporate Identity
  • Early on, we'll have graphic communication specialists involved, because a picture is worth a thousand words...
  • How well is your Marketing Strategy tracking according to your Business Plan?
  • What are your products and how are they positioned?
  • What are your timeframe(s) [High | Mid | Detailed] for this project?
  • Which technologies do your project plans require? (e-commerce, database, etc)
  • STAKEHOLDER INPUT
    Through stakeholder interviews, surveys, and workshops, we'll ask:
    Who is your audience and what are their goals? We'll ask it over and over, in many different ways.
    MARKET AND INDUSTRY RESEARCH
    What are the industry specifics of your market?
    Who else is out there? We conduct a competitive site audit
    C U S T O M E R   E X P E R I E N C E
    (We try and avoid the term "user." This isn't drug rehab… See Steve Manes "Full Disclosure" column in Nov. ’95 PC World, p. 45 (a print reference—gasp!))
  • Who are your current and potential customers? We'll conduct interviews across multiple media to learn your ideal demographic profile.
  • What is the context of your ideal customer's experience?
  • How does this contrast with the real world? We'll provide food for thought.
  • During the interviews we'll cover:
  • What's it like to be one of your customers? We'll collect Stories, and from them distill Personas and Archetypes
  • What are your customer's goals [business | personal], as they apply to your industry and market?
  • What's right with your site? We'll provide a no-nonsense Audit of what's working, and how to retain the best of your current investment.
  • CREATIVE DISCOVERY
  • Echos & Shadows: What do people remember about your company?
  • Along with these interviews, we'll provide an audit of the "look & feel" messages which your existing site, marketing collateral, advertising, etc. leave behind.
  • What are your current corporate identity guidelines?
  • Same Sun, Different Shadow: What should remain of your legacy on-/off-line message (look & feel, mktg material, ads)?
  • Part Archeologist, Part Web Wizard: we'll unearth the best creative practices relevant to y.o.u.r. Industry
  • We'll chart a course for freshened competitive messages, taglines and trademarks
  • Workshops on
    • Interactive Online Experience (look and feel)
    • Internet Media
  • To set the stage for the next phase, we'll clarify elements that have made the shortlist in our Creative Brief
  • CONTENT DISCOVERY
  • We step up the ante: we'll ask not only "Does it look good?," but also, "What do you actually say?"
  • Nitpicking: Is the site free of typos and does it communicate grammatically, clearly and concisely?
  • Write Tight(ly): Web copy should be roughly one-third shorter than print prose. We'll cover how to achieve this & why it's essential
  • To what extend do your current corporate collateral materials contribute to your freshened message?
  • In a no-holes barred free for all, we'll brainstorm, dream, and visualize innovative ways to craft a site that exceeds expectations
  • CUSTOMERS/USERS
    (See above)

  • Part of our customer-centric process is a workshop on y.o.u.r. Customers. They keep you in business. What are their motivators, needs, and wants?
  • We'll clarify how you can help them reach their goals
  • FUNCTIONALITY and SCALABILITY
    We'll cover some of the more technical and mechanal issues of making a good site great in our functionality and scalability workshop.
    CREATIVE PRODUCTION
    Our internal visual development includes
  • Establish, refine digital experience (look and feel) and create color story board
  • Prototype and proof of concept tests
  • Get Customer feedback on digital experience options
  • Finalize Creative Brief
  • CONTENT
    Content Workshop
    Design a web site that fulfills user, business and creative goals
    O V E R A L L   S I T E   E X P E R I E N C E   S T R A T E G Y
    Site Strategy Brief Finalized

    Now that we've prepared all our ingredients, making the dish begins in earnest. We'll summarize and execute each of these in an integrated, overlapping fashion. While these are roughly in order, content is king.

  • Enabling and fulfilling customer strategies
  • Navigation paradigm and strategy
  • Needs and features clustering workshop
  • Content strategy recap and solutions
  • Goal oriented task storyboards
  • Functionality and scalability strategy recap and solutions
  • Internet media strategy recap and solutions
  • Visual strategy recap and solutions
  • VISUAL EXPERIENCE DESIGN
  • Detailed Site Map and Site Area Specifications Finalized
  • Functionality & Technology Specifications Finalized
  • Internet Media Specifications Finalized
  • e-Commerce (Revenue Model) Specifications Finalized
  • Content Map and Specifications Finalized
  • CONFIRM USABILITY
    Prototype pages tested
    VISUAL DESIGN & CREATIVE
  • Visual Design Comps & Client/Test Group Reviews / Revisions
  • Refine Messaging
  • Storyboard and Design Flash / Motion Components of Site Experience
  • Detail Lower-Level Page Templates
  • Prepare Files for Client-side Build or In-House Build
  • Build an engaging, scalable, and technically solid site
  • CODE AND BUILD
    Implementation of HTML, JavaScript, Flash, Quicktime, Perl/CGI, Dynamic Content, Etc.

    In-House Testing on Multiple Platforms, Browsers, Operating Systems

    CLIENT REVIEW & REVISIONS
  • Alpha Fit-testing, model validation
  • Soft Live (Beta Site Testing Suite)
  • Client Sign-Off
  • LAUNCH
    FINAL PRE-LAUNCH TESTING
    Grow refine, and adapt continually!

    WEB PROJECT DEBRIEFING AND REVIEW
  • Track Early Adopters
  • Benchmark against customer and business goals
  • Fine tune strategies as needed
  • RAMP UP OFF-LINE PROMOTIONAL STRATEGIES
  • Extend branding to other media to support site traffic
  • Execute off-line community involvement strategies
  • Keep on-line content fresh, engaging and appropriately updated
  • Support message course corrections with on-going customer feedback
  • ROAD MAP
    Draw on prior events to execute phased approach for extending online offerings
    ONGOING SITE MAINTENANCE, UPDATE, AND CLIENT-TRAINING

    View our portfolio… 
    More Food for Thought from the Rock Eel Café 
     

    Visit the Hoot Owl of On-line Research: www.hoo-r-u.com
    Have you fallen prey to three-click groupthink?
    Read this article from The Industry Standard to find out!
    The print edition of this article appeared 20 March 2000, p. 101
    Complete the Design & Hosting Template for an instant quote!

    Of Related Interest

    Usability 


     


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