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There are the one’s who design and then there are the one’s who take design to a whole new level. The one’s who change the world with design. Who make design a language, a way of expression.
Such amazing is Aerolab’s design thinking, that the above image is an announcement of one of the startups which got acquired by the other for over $40 million. The acquired startup was Aerolab’s client.
The Rapid Moon team caught up with Alejandro Vizio, Creative Director, Aerolab. This interview is part of the thought leader series on Lean Ready blog! And before we go ahead, do check out his dribbble.
RM: How critical is lean design methodology in your view? Does it help you work with startups under tight budgets?
AV: Lean design methodologies are very useful for us when working in a tight budget or when working against the clock. In aerolab we love to plan ahead, define milestones, wireframe a lot, test, user test, design slick & awesome interfaces, illustrate and deliver. Normally we have a process for making an app really look awesome, but sometimes we have to work really fast to do this. That’s when we go to Lean design methodologies.
As I said before, planning ahead and working with focus on the budget is very important. Once you set goals at the very beginning you’ll have to see if the budget will help you reach those goals.
For example, when working with one of our clients such as Lemon, we decided on the goals before we started doing anything. A new look had to be launched, but it was a very big webpage with a lot of sub products so we started building very slowly. First attacked the main landing page, afterwards, according to our goals set at the beginning, we started re designing secondary products. Then kept on with the rest of the internal pages, documentation, an animated 404 an after all that made some design guidelines to keep everything tidy. Made a kind of bootstrap that contained all design elements use till that day.
The goal was revamping the marketing site, explaining the products in detail and making everything look really awesome. We did this using those techniques, desiging quickly, implementing, moving on and then coming back to work in more detail.
RM: How important is responsive design? Does Aerolab focus on responsive design? Are your clients asking for responsive design?
AV: Responsive design is very important nowadays, I’ll say very important. Everything that comes out from aerolab is always fully responsive. In one of our latest projects, jampp, this was tested to it’s best. It’s a startup that works with mobile re targetting and lot’s of mobile apps. We couldn’t just make a webpage that could only looked nice on desktop, it had to be full prepared for all devices. I say it’s a big YES for responsive.
If the client doesn’t ask for it, we RECOMMEND IT 😉
RM: The kind of experiences that you create for your customers is amazing. Do you involve the clients across all stages of design, so as to keep it lean and outperform client’s expectations?
AV: Yes we do. We maintain a full communication with the client and ask them to join us in the whole product creation. We’ve had all kinds of clients, even clients that in very early stages of the MVP have come in to the office for a couple days to work on them. Even had them working all day there right besides us, seeing live the process of their app. This always depends on how good the MVP is defined. Sometime we have a very closed MVP and sometimes just an idea.
We always let clients see what we call the “kitchen” and post daily our process through basecamp, share all dropbox files, sketches, drafts and very preliminar prototypes. We also share our investigation in Murally, sumarising, we have them in on everything.
RM: Does the culture of your agency help you be more creative, deliver wow to your customers? Can you elaborate on some interesting cultural aspects?
AV: Working for a lot of products, pivoting, re thinking everything again, throwing things in the trash is part of what makes us be more creative. The WOW comes when you push products to it’s limits and really believe in them. We really like to work on products we truly believe in and are comfortable working for, we can sometimes get picky with this.
We really like to develop this culture of startups in aerolab. Everyone can make an awesome product so what we normally do is, when we have a couple days to spare between projects we make our own products, for example, a couple of days ago we launched a very simple project to maps startups in latin america calle startupmap.la We always keep in touch with a lot of startups, even participe in hackatons were we have to very quickly create products in less than 48hrs to present to VCs. We participated a short time ago in startup weekend Buenos Aires and won 1st prize for our product, this was a really awesome experience to test out everything we know an see how it really works. Check out what we made
So we are always in full contact with startups, either working with them an their product or just having a beer to discuss ideas 🙂
RM: Mention 5 awesome people who you follow on twitter?
Regarding code we have 3 favorites:
- and our awesome Argentian friend @rauchg that is constantly helping us
- @maxvoltar – the very best Ui designer of all time, working @dropbox
- @mantia – this guy just rocks
And for fun and laughs follow visual idiot A.K.A @idiot – this guy really cracks me up 🙂
Image Credit: https://d13yacurqjgara.cloudfront.net/users/25928/screenshots/1344464/lemon_1x.png