Why we're putting our money where our mouth is
We've been extremely busy lately working on a project that represents a big investment in both our time and our money to show everyone what we feel is the best way to work on a project.
Those following us and @welcomebrand will no doubt have noticed
the @offroadcode account has been quieter than
usual of late. It's because we're getting very close to the launch
of our new business Cutting Edge Knives.
We're investing actual money (thousands of pounds) in stock,
logistics and marketing spend as well as significant time to build
what we hope will not only be an innovative and original ecommerce
website but also a process.
What are we actually doing?
We are setting up a brand new online business selling extremely
awesome kitchen and chef knives. Mostly handmade knives from Japan
but also some great European brands too.
In order to do this, we are speccing up not just a full
Ecommerce website which we're building in Umbraco and using Tea
Commerce but an actual business. Not only that, we're also
investing in logistical support to get orders to our customers as
quickly as possible.
We're researching and buying products, creating unique,
considered and interesting content right from the beginning. Not
just using generic guff that is supplied by manufacturers. What we
want to do is prove that quality and effort count and set you apart
Why are we doing this?
We are always keen to embrace best practice when it comes to
designing and developing websites.
As such, we felt the only true way to initiate our own project
as an experiment that enables us to start from scratch with a blank
In doing this, we're able to completely switch our design
process around and focus on content first, then develop quick HTML
prototypes and move onto short, iterative development sprints to
minimise the amount of time wasted going back and forth with design
and functionality ammends and revisions.
In reality there's still a significant gap between "best
practice" and "working practice"
In an ideal world, all clients would immediately embrace
responsive web design methodology and practice and we're keen to
switch to it. However, in reality there's still a significant gap
between "best practice" and "working practice" in the web world and
while I'm sure many designers would love to do the things many of
the best practice speakers talk about, unfortunately maintaining
legacy code, scripts, old templates mean you end up unable to do
much of the work you'd like to.
We wanted to stay right up to date but at the same time show our
clients a real world case study where we've been able to combine
best practice with working practice and have it deliver proven
To that end, we're investing a significant chunk of our savings
into this project because it will not only prove that despite years
in the design industry, we're as committed to doing the best
possible job as we've always been.
So far we've blasted through intial concept to being around 2
weeks from launch which would mean a total of around 6-7 weeks to
spec up (and write) content, create prototypes and a final build
and then add everything into Umbraco.
This is fast, we're working with some great tools but what we're
building is hopefully somewhat different to many sites out there
and along with researching and then sourcing products the process
has been very quick indeed.
Our intention is to release early and often. We want to avoid
getting bogged down in internal testing as so many projects do. We
want real customers using our site and telling us what they think
and we'll react accordingly.
It's hugely refreshing to work in this way and while we're
reallistic enough to understand external clients often have
different stakeholders involved, conflicting business requirements
etc - we also know that all this often leads to is design by
committee and way too much back and forth rather than agile
Our aim is to launch our new site and company in the first half
of July. Keep an eye on the Cutting Edge Knives website for
news (and some truly amazing Japanese kitchen knives) and don't
forget to follow Cutting Edge Knives on Twitter or
UPDATE - Our design process
We've launched the website now and I've written up our changed
design process that we used. Read about how we
designed and built the site.
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