Putting our money where our mouth is
Those following us and [@welcomebrand](twitter.com/welcomebrand "@welcomebrand") will no doubt have noticed the [@offroadcode](twitter.com/offroadcode "@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](cuttingedgeknives.co.uk "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 from competitors.
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 canvas.
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 results.
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 development.
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](cuttingedgeknives.co.uk "Cutting Edge Knives") for news (and some truly amazing Japanese kitchen knives) and don't forget to follow Cutting Edge Knives on Twitter or Facebook!
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](/journal/news/our-design-process "Our design process").