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Clarity Ventures, Inc.

Philip Ganoe
Designer Stats
Rank: #49
Points Earned: 670
Member Level: Silver
Contracts Won: 38
Member Since: 2008
Austin, TX 78759 USA

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

Yes! We use Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 and also use Project Management Tool Basecamp for client communication and Microsoft Visual Studio for Sprint Management


What is your standard hourly rate?

125


Do you have a minimum budget for a new client?

We work with all client sizes, from entrepreneurs to enterprise accounts, ranging $5,000 to $500,000. Logos, design, mobile responsive sites start inexpensively, then adding eCommerce and custom integrations move the price up.


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

We actually got started in deep custom coding. Our first client projects were huge eCommerce sites with back-office integration to Oracle, SAP, etc. We found that the integration part was easy, but making the site pretty and making the clients happy was difficult. We had to find and hire design, UI and UX specialists first. Then we flipped our entire process to engage the clients first with UX design (i.e. Who are your users and what do you want them to do when they get to your site?). We created a whole design and discovery process beginning with user stories, wireframes then mockups that we do before we start building any medium to large site. This allows the clients to get stakeholder buyoff and know exactly what their site will look like before we start building it.


How long have you been with your company?

I actually met Clarity first when I hired them to help build me some websites over six years ago. Over the course of two years, we built dozens of sites together and I enjoyed their business model so much, I decided to join the team my self.


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

My first college degree was in Design Engineering, so this is right down my alley. After that, I went back and got my MBA so I could help make a difference in growing and making the company successful.


What web browser do you use?

Since we do web development, we have to use them all to test each site we build. My personal favorite browser is Chrome. It has so many custom extensions for developers that besides just being a browser, it has turned Chrome into a productivity tool for me.


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

For Clarity, it's mostly just our Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. For our clients, as you can imagine, we use them all. It's surprising how some of the more socially "fun" ones are making a stand in business (i.e. Pinterest, etc.). Historically for business, I'm a big LinkedIn fan, but with the new ad retargeting reach of Facebook, it's now my favorite for business as well.


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

That's a great question. Most people come to us to design and build them a website, but we and their site can do so much more. We normally start with a web strategy meeting where we define the role of the new site within the clients' marketing and sales organization, defining what goals and calls-to-action are needed on the new site. We then define all the personas visiting the site, their role and how our design and UX can help drive new business and accomplish the goals defined above. So for me, it's much more than just a website. It's figuring out how the website can help change our clients' businesses, making them more efficient and profitable.


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

It kind of depends on which direction you want to go? Do you want to be a front-end designer only, or a full-stack web developer? If you want to stick with front-end only, then Teamtreehouse has a great 17-section starter program that will get you started and familiar with all the languages and requirements needed. It's comprehensive enough that we've hired front-end developers that changed careers to web development and been through that course.


What`s your favorite development language and why?

I really like the new capabilities of HTML5, but for it's flexibility of being able to almost do everything, I'd probably have to choose JavaScript.


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

Based on it's ability to do both easy and very complex tasks, I'd choose JavaScript.


What do you see as the most prominent emerging technology?

Angular.js is a great client-side technology that allows separate modules to share data in real time, lower the amount of data on each page loaded and it just plain cool. We're able to do things with our platform that we couldn't before. For example, if a person adds a product to a cart, one second before another, it can update in realtime for that other user that the product is sold out before getting all the way to checkout and find out it's been sold.


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

Our projects tend to be pretty evenly split into 3 groups. There's the quick, inexpensive "I need a cool site quick" group, made up of entrepreneurs and SMBs that move quickly and want to make a web impact quickly. Those projects are relatively inexpensive and move quickly (measured in weeks). There's the corporate website or business portals. That group includes stakeholders like the marketing department, so we have SEO, CRO, marketing automation, branding and other things to consider besides just designing and building a site. These projects are the few weeks to a few months. The final group is the Enterprise account. Their usually looking for a full-blown B2B eCommerce site and have some CRM or ERP on the back-end that needs to be integrated. They often have multi-store, multi-lingual and other custom feature requests. These projects typically take 4-10 months to complete.


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

Download our "6-Steps to a Successful Web Project" white paper. Seriously. Almost every client, no matter how prepared they think they are, are not. Since we've done over 1,300 sites, we're pretty familiar with what needs to be at least talked about before embarking on a new site. Many of the things you may not be thinking about can have an effect on your budget. So it's better to know that you need to wait and/or budget more, or possibly stage some features to a future phase before getting started.


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

Expectation management and Change Orders. Most clients think in finite terms (i.e. it costs $35 to get my lawn mowed, etc.) when it comes to a web project. The issue is, that once they're "getting their lawn mowed" they want the flower beds weeded, trees trimmed, lawn fertilized, etc. and since all this is happening while the lawn is being mowed, they don't think it should affect the price or time to complete mowing the yard (all the extras just magically get done in the same amount of time). That's exactly what happens with your site. SEO, adwords, CRO, content strategy, updating graphics, etc. The list can go on forever. There is absolutely no shortage of new and exciting things you can do with your website. BUT...... they all cost money and take time. Plan on an additional 15-20% variance for upgrades. You may not know what you want or need, but a company that's built over 1,300 sites, has a lot of great ideas. Be prepared to ask how you can beat the competition.


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For over 10 years, Clarity has successfully completed hundreds of projects, from startups to fortune 500. Clarity's team consists of industry leading talent located in-house, with proven processes to ensure a successful project.






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