Posted: 6 September 2019
At AYKO, we understand that innovative design plays a significant role in shaping and moulding engaging customer experiences online. Amongst our cog of front-end developers, back-end developers and marketers, our Creative Director, Daniel offers creative leadership to the team and brand direction on behalf of the customer. Understanding a customer’s current brand and vision from the off, he works as an extension of their team and offers an experienced and creative fresh set of eyes.
Ordinarily, our customers will meet Daniel at the beginning of their project, during the road mapping stage. However, for customers with more of an emphasis on the creative aspect of the project, Daniel may meet with them sooner to create and define the initial project brief together.
We caught up with Daniel to explore how he’s finding life heading up the Creative services at AYKO and to gather some handy design tips for eCommerce merchants.
How do you get to grips with a brand’s vision before starting the design process?
Depending on the brand and how established the guidelines are, I like to have a workshop with the client. Allowing me to identify any areas that need to be developed and also allows me to fully immerse myself within the ethos and vision of the company. These workshops can be an hour or two or a full day, this is dependent on who, what and when. It is important to not only focus on the user but also the client you are representing if balanced correctly these two focal points bring back significant ROI for the client.
For customers who already have a design brief, at what part do you get involved?
I always like to be involved in the process from the very start; getting to understand how the client thinks and what they want to achieve is a huge part of my job. Any touchpoint with the client is a great way to develop a relationship and influence creative output where applicable. My role is not just about creating a brief and delivering a great looking solution, it is also about advising and steering client choices so they get as much as they possibly can out of every process or project AYKO is involved in.
What are some of the most common design and UX downfalls you see with projects?
Assumption lead design is always a big red flag, and this can happen from both sides, client and designer. Communication is key for any projects success. The more we talk to each other the fewer assumptions creep into the mix, and the easier it is for all parties to relate to the outcome of the brief. My job is to make sure assumptions are minimal, and communication is maximised. When people are not talking projects take longer, costs escalate, relationships break down and briefs are not met.
Is it important to bear in mind the eCommerce platform and integrations when creating a website design?
It is important to consider every possible element at the start, the fewer variables you have in the equation, the stronger the outcome. There will always be bumps in the road, but knowing where they may come from saves a lot of time and costs to the business and client.
How do you work alongside AYKO’s UX/CRO specialist, Adam?
Adam specialises in user experience (UX), and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) of existing projects and also has input during the road mapping stage of a new project. I am around to support and advise on any strategy he may want to implement and heavily involved when it comes to delivering a visually led outcome.
When you’re not designing websites, what else do you like to do, and where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration can be found around every corner, as truly creative brains never really switch off; they are always on the lookout for something new and exciting. In my free time, I like to go to the gym, swim, cook, walk my dogs, renovate my house, socialise with friends and go snowboarding in the winter.
What is the most rewarding part of your job, and what do you enjoy about working at AYKO?
I love the diversity of my role and the fact that every client and brief is different. Each presents new challenges daily, and I enjoy making sure these challenges are met and exceed expectations. We have a diverse client offering and heavily invest in Design Services, which allow the client to see an ROI, and is quite rare in the industry. A lot of agencies are specialists in one area whereas AYKO has a 360 offering , seldom found outside of London.
In your opinion, what design trends can we expect to see more of in 2020?
It’s hard to predict how the industry will shift as it moves so quickly, but, PWA (Progressive Web Apps) will definitely take more of a front seat. Google is delivering some great services that speed up mobile experiences and with the dawn of 5G, Apps as we know it will start to plato and PWA will start to take more of the market share. From a colour point of view, pastel shades will be more prominent as we see a move away from the bright and flat neons of the past couple of years. Apart from that, it is anyone’s guess as there are some great services and young talent coming into the industry at the moment – anything could catch on.
Alongside fulfilling the creative aspect of our development projects, Daniel also provides creative briefs for retailers who have an internal development team or already work with a dev agency. For smaller projects, Daniel can also create designs for specific elements of your website i.e. the checkout or can help you utilise A/B testing to discover what your customers find the most inviting.