Pro Kansas City Dallas, Texas

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935
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UpshotMediaGroup

Bo Lais
Designer Stats
Rank:#4
Points Earned: 935
Member Level: Silver
Contracts Won: 74
Member Since: 2008
Kansas City, Kansas 66062 USA

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What is your standard hourly rate?

125


Please tell us a bit about your background. How did you get started in design?

I first got started in web development while going to college at University of Arkansas for my BA degree back in 1998. I was always interested in computers, creating my first website while still using dial up internet service when I was only 18. As my passion grew for web design and computers I changed my degree program to CIS with concentration in Web Design. While attending college I launched a small web hosting and design which grew into a successful small business before I was 24 years old. I have continued my education throughout the years by receiving certifications in both online marketing, SEM, User Experience Design, and cyber security. Having all these skills combined with the practical business experience of starting 2 successful tech startups make me an excellent and highly unique resource for my clients.


How long have you been with your company?

Our design and development company is approaching 17 years in business with several makeovers as technology advances and design trends change.


Are you self taught or did you attend school for your industry?

I have earned my degree in web design, as well as several marketing and cyber security certifications. With that said, the majority of what I have learned has been through reading, participating in the tech community, and trying new things on my own.


What web browser do you use?

I constantly have Safari, Chrome, and Firefox open. I utilize Internet Explorer for QA testing procedures, but not for every day browsing. Firefox and Chrome are my browsers of choice.


What social media do you use for work and play? Do you have a favorite?

I use just about all social media outlets for work, but find myself on Linkedin the majority of the time. Facebook is good for personal use, but Linkedin is a great resources for business relationships. All of them are good if used in the right way for promoting a business.


What is your favorite thing about the type of work you do?

I love that technology changes constantly because you are constantly having to learn and adapt. I also love building things through creativity and innovation. Companies or developers that don't stay on top of the latest design trends, or latest technology will quickly be left in the dust and their client websites will become stale. For example, a rather new PHP framework which shows a ton of promise is Laravel. Just when I thought PHP might be a dying language, Laravel has revived PHP to an entire new level. It is an absolutely amazing framework!


What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the web design field?

The web design industry is tough, crowded, and competitive. Find what you do best and focus on that niche. If you try to do everything you will not be the best at anything. I learned this a long time ago.


What`s your favorite development language and why?

I would have to say that PHP is my favorite language in part because of the Laravel Framework that has arrived on the scene. PHP is open source so it has a great community following that is great for help and we are constantly trying to improve the language. You can solve almost any web application with PHP and it is commonly used with MySQL an open source database engine; although you can utilize other back-end db's with the language.


If you could only use one language, which one would it be?

PHP would be the language of choice in part because of the Laravel Framework available now.


What do you see as the most prominent emerging technology?

Java is pretty popular, but there are quite a few other languages out there that have a pretty big following these days such as Go, Python, and Lua. Objective C is obviously popular with iOS development being extremely important these days.


Who is your typical client at the moment and what types of projects are you working on?

We are selective in the clients we take right now as our firm is not for everyone. We provide a great full scope of services to help businesses grow their online presence. We do provide competitive rates at a great value, but we won't compete with developers claiming to deliver quality for $500. I have been in this business a long time, and the first thing I do is educate our clients on the value we bring to the table. Our typical clients are tech startups and medium to large businesses that want to make a significant brand impact online.


What advice would you give a client in order to prepare for a new project?

I would say that the often overlooked, but most important part of having a successful end product is planning. By this I mean market research, discovery, branding, and last but not least, a strategy. Once these pre-site development tasks are performed we will focus on user experience through wireframes and user tests. We will then start the design process, getting feedback along the way until we enter into the actual development phase.


What is the most common problem you deal with when working with new clients who do not have much experience with working with designers?

I think an issue that a lot of professional web design firms run into with clients whom are not fully educated with the fundamentals of web design is them making uninformed decisions. What I mean by that is some clients may want a certain feature, color, sitemap, etc. based on their desires rather than what their members actually want or need. We have a high focus on User Experience design for every project as we want to build things people love to use and that are highly useful and functional. Not to mention they need to be intuitive. If your site users don't know how to utilize your website or application they simply won't use it at all. We want to guide our client's members or site users through funnels with planned goal conversions. There are always goals to be considered when building a website, it is after all an investment for your business and needs to be a valuable tool.


Do you use a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) or any type of project management or proposal software?

We utilize mavenlink for project management between our clients, but internally we utilize Atlassian Cloud products including Jira and Confluence. We ran an Agile/Kanban hybrid development methodology, which allows our clients to interject every 2 week iteration for any changes or revisions to the project. This has proven to be much more efficient for both the client and our staff than a Waterfall methodology. Our project managers utilize Atlassian to manage the Epics, Stories, and Tasks which are communicated from the client down through the PM to the software engineers.


Do you have a minimum budget for a new client?

We will take the time to listen to any potential client with an idea or project need. With that said, we typically do not contract with projects with a budget below $2,500. Our company is not interested in throwing up $500 dollar garbage templates with no real strategy in place. Anyone that tells you they can build you something of any real value for $500 is just looking for a quick buck. Sure, it is possible to get a template website of 3-4 pages for $500, but it won't be unique, won't have any real user experience strategy with goal conversions, and it certainly won't be something that represents your brand well. Everything we produce we want to be extremely proud of, and so do our clients.


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