A picture can say a thousand words and on the internet, where cognitive decision-making occurs at the milli second level, they can make or break your online presence. If you’re currently commissioning a new content-managed website, take a moment to see how the successful brands on the high street do it.
Below is a list of 6 high street brand website home pages. In each case, the images have been removed to demonstrate just how much of the page is dedicated to photographic imagery.
If you’re building or commission a new website and are aspiring to achieve a professional modern look, think about how these brands capture and sustain their visual identity, using high-quality photography - how will your web build do something similar?
Example 1 with images removed - do you know which well-known brand this is?
Example 1 - John Lewis
Example 2 with images removed - do you know which well-known brand this is?
Example 2 - Marks & Spencer
Example 3 with images removed - do you know which well-known brand this is?
Example 3 - Virgin
Example 4 with images removed - do you know which well-known brand this is?
Example 4 - Harrods
Example 5 with images removed - do you know which well-known brand this is?
Example 5 - Harrods
Example 6 with images removed - do you know which well-known brand this is?
Example 6 - Harrods
D. Agency is a vibrant digital agency currently expanding at a rapid rate.
We have an immediate opportuninity for a graduate or Junior Developer to take advantage of a 3-month paid internship through our D. Academy.
Working in an excellent studio environment, you’ll gain real world experience in a fast paced environment and will be able to share documentation, assets and achievements with future employers.
There will be an option to discuss a full time position at the end of this internship.
Purpose of The Role
Introduce graduates to Drupal – the hottest sector of web platform development and the area with the greatest shortage of specific skills. We want to help you get a grounding in Drupal whilst working on real world projects learning from a senior Drupal Architect.
Contribute to the development of client websites and projects
- Have technical and/or creative input into the planning of projects.
- Undertake research where required to establish the best way of carrying out tasks assigned to you.
- Take responsibility for the development of assigned tasks.
Studying to gain a working knowledge of the Drupal CMF
- Working with the senior development team to gain or improve Drupal related skills.
- Study Drupal best practices, APIs etc in order to be able to contribute more to agency development work.
- Get involved with and to contribute to the Drupal community.
Key Selection Criteria
Knowledge and Experience:
Desirable (but not essential):
Drupal development experience
- Site building
- Module development
Experience of working with open source projects
Experience working with Linux.
Lateral thinker capable of thinking outside the box.
Strong people skills.
Ability to think on your own feet with minimal direction.
A passion for open source software.
Interest in an agency environment where you would get to work on multiple projects across different industries.
Help to develop Drupal based products
Assist in the development of modules, themes and distributions to be contributed to the wider Drupal community.
How To Apply
In the first instance submit your details via our Contact page or call our Studio Director, Phil Allen on 01202 390822.
One of the key talking points at Drupal Camp London earlier this year was the challenge of pitching and the difficulty in providing profitable work on fixed priced projects.
It was interesting to hear one of our industry’s leading peer agency’s admit that historically, they lost money on 35% of all their fixed priced projects.
To alleviate this risk, another agency we spoke to has implemented a policy of not engaging in the RFP process at all.
They choose to provide a chargeable detailed design and functional specification instead. And since switching to this method, their lead to conversion rate has increased, their profitability has increased, all their projects get delivered on time, and their advocacy levels have gone through the roof.
Our role as an agency in the pitching process is to primarily to overcome two challenges:
- Fixed budgets that are allocated by finance departments as percentages of marketing spend, profit or turnover, which bear no relation to the cost required to deliver a project successfully, and..
- Overcoming the tendency for a prospect to accept the lowest price because they can’t differentiate between the offerings
As a business ourselves, we fully understand the need to work with budgets.
But in the same way a fixed budget might let you fund an entry level Mercedes, but not a top level Mercedes with a bigger engine and stacks more features, so a budget you pledge to a web project may not be enough to give you all that functionality and design standard that you need to make the project a resounding success.
And success in most cases can be directly related to conversion rate performance, a subject that can produce eye-watering results.
Overcoming the tendency to accept the lowest price comes down to the challenge of helping clients understand that not all websites are created equal, despite them all being called websites.
And that in many cases, more investment will mean a superior return because the end result will convert a much higher percentage of users into leads, sales or advocates.
The anatomy of web design cost.
Web design cost is made up of two main components:
- The amount of hours required to build the project, and..
- The hourly rate of the agency
So what can a company do if they have allocated a fixed budget, defined their requirements and put it out to tender, only to find the projected costs coming back at two or three times their expectation?
Firstly, they can reduce the number of hours required to build the project
This is obvious, but no so easy to achieve.
It’s true that some agency’s work faster than others, Agency’s that have really sorted their internal workflow out, or that may have a deeper experience in the client field, or who have the ability to reuse code can often deliver a spec for spec site up to 20% faster, which translates to a 20% reduction in cost if everything else is equal.
Reducing the level of features is another way of reducing development hours, but prospects can really struggle with this. They will frequently use phrases such as ‘just’ and ‘only’ when talking about feature requests and who can blame them? The prospect only sees the end result, not what it takes to get there.
So if you want a £50k site for £20k you’ll start by trying to figure out how one agency might be able to work 20% faster than the others in your pitch pool, and that gets you down to £40k.
Then, you can try and understand how to reduce the feature set to reduce the development hours.
Wunderkraut, Europe’s largest Drupal agency have a great way of articulating this:
They argue that if 100% of the feature set will represent 100% of the cost and that’s too high, what if 80% of the feature set could be delivered for 50% of the cost?
That for us is a logical approach, and in many cases would deliver value for the client.
So reducing the feature set by 20% might get you your site for £25k, but if the 20% reduction is all the stuff that would really make your site fly, then caution is urged.
This is particularly relevant when it comes to conversion rate optimisation, and if that 20% of feature set or £25k of cost sees conversion rates drop from say 3% to 1%, you could be loosing hundreds of thousands of pounds of lost revenue in the first year.
Secondly, so what about reducing the man-hour rate?
Hourly or daily rates can be roughly split into five tiers. This is by no means cast in stone, but it does simplify the argument:
- Tier 1 agency – up to £3k per day
- Tier 2 agency – around £1.5k per day
- Tier 3 agency – around £700 per day
- Contractor – around £400 per day
- Offshore contractor – around £160 per day
Unfortunately, making direct comparisons based purely on agency rate is difficult:
A Tier 1 agency won’t be pitching for a £50k project anyway. A Tier 2 agency will have more senior staff that will work faster than junior developers. They may also need less R&D so ultimately may be able to deliver a project in less hours.
A Tier 3 agency may on the other hand have exactly the right project specific experience and may also be able to deliver a project faster than a competing agency.
A single contractor won’t have experience across all the main disciplines of creative, design, UX, architecture and development, so will only provide a cost saving if part of a wider team.
Going offshore won’t deliver the same standards by a long way and in our historic experience won’t offer a genuine cost saving – not when you take into account the greatly increased project management and delays for misinterpretation or reworks.
If you want a £50k site for £20k, its safe to assume you can’t. Something will have to give. You’ll either have to peg back your wish list of functionality, or accept lesser levels of design and development standards, or cut corners (and be aware these are being cut).
In our opinion, cutting back the functional wish list is one logical approach, because if managed correctly, you can always build this back up in the future.
Another option is to stick to the specification but build the project in two or more phases. We’ve had a few projects like this recently and its almost self-funding for the client. Phase One delivers an immediate sales uplift, which helps provide the budget for Phase Two and so on.
That said, the option favoured by many companies is to stick to the wish list and budget and keep going until you find an agency that will help – and there are plenty of agencies out there willing to take on a project for a relatively low budget and hope it all works out.
Unfortunately, motivations will probably wain after the thrill of the win wears off, and the chances are you will contribute to our deplorable industry statistics:
- 65% of all projects are delivered late
- Clients are disappointed and don’t getting what they expected in 35% of cases, and this rises to 50% when the work goes offshore
- (Source: Aberdeen Group).
But dissuading prospects from this approach is a tough sell – especially when all the indications at the start suggest you really can get a £50k site for £20k.
We continue to try and find ways of helping companies make better-informed decisions, and on the whole we are getting there.
I hope this article gives you food for thought, and best of luck with whichever approach you take.
Finding work, as a fresh graduate can be a real challenge, and even with our brand new glowing qualifications, we do not have any real work experience, which is what most employers are looking for. Yet to get this experience you must find a job!
This is one of the biggest stresses of entering the big bad world … but for every stressful situation there will be a solution. And my solution to this problem was finding my internship with D. Agency.
I believe Internships are majorly underrated, as they are often stigmatized with being the office slave and completing all the jobs the other staff do not want to do. However since starting my internship at D.Agency this has not been the case for me at all.
From day one all the staff were very welcoming and made me feel part of the team, and throughout the week I felt like I had gained exposure to real world problems and oversaw issues that were never found in my textbooks; and I probably learnt a lot more than I ever have in a whole university semester.
In addition, my boss Phil is one of the best bosses I have ever had, he has taken me under his wing and filled my brain with facts about marketing that will definitely become valuable to my future career. Working in an agency environment with a small team is also very stimulating, despite everyone working very hard the atmosphere is calm, laidback and pro active (Which is ideal for your first proper job).
I am currently working towards a marketing qualification, which is strengthening my knowledge in Google Ad Words, benchmarking and how to write a detailed digital marketing plan. This qualification is a great exchange of service and experience between myself and D.Agency as I am building upon my experience ,while D. Agency is receiving a brand new digital marketing plan.
Moreover, the pinnacle of your undergraduate education gives you the chance to use the skills you learnt from studying in a real-world setting. I definitely think internships deserve more credit than they are currently accounted for, and the Bournemouth University and Santander partnership is a fantastic scheme to help students find a paid internship to kick-start their career.
I love what I do so far as an intern and I am excited and eager to come to work every day to learn more and work with such talented and bright people. My internship has already showed me this is the career path I would like to take and from here I plan to go onwards and upwards.
Expanding into larger office space is always a great opportunity to design things just the way you want.
We are moving across the reception into Studio 4 in June so we thought it would fun to run a post highlighting the process on a step-by-step basis.
Well we have access to the studio now and fortunately we have a great head start. Studio 4 had recently been converted back to a photo studio so we pretty much have a blank canvass of freshly white painted walls and ceiling with a contemporary grey painted floor.
The team are all having their say on what we should do, and Senior Designer Paul Barnes wasted no time in showing us all where he thinks it should go.
Checkout his design concepts:
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