The Customer Centric Approach | Entry 2
Blog - Career Options Series
To infinity and beyond
On Tuesday September 26th, our Professional Topics class had the pleasure of meeting four employees, Aaron, John, Kristen and Tina, from the global agency SapientRazorfish. I sat for the most part of the presentation quickly trying to scribble down any sort of information or stat that I could catch just because the team went through so much content. With brands like Fiat, Kids Help Phone, Manulife and Walmart we got to learn about how the apps, platforms and websites were built.
SapientRazorfish builds digital experiences through services like marketing, commerce, innovation and experiential design. Just from this brief presentation, as their own brand, I deduced that SapientRazorfish is always putting themselves at the forefront of technology and design. They’ve explored so many avenues and are constantly paving new ones.
Who are these guys?
Aaron Aylward | Tina Truong | John Gauthier | Kristen Nakamura
Aaron and John work as designers while Tina and Kristen are developers. All of them work out of offices from downtown Toronto.
Below is an extremely simplified chart of a few of the projects mentioned in the presentation :
From all the projects presented to us by SapientRazorfish, the recurring theme across their design ventures revolved around a complete, total, customer centric design. And that is the most important point I took from their presentation because without that mindset, I don’t think the agency would be where it is today. Sure, having a rich pool and diverse set of clientele is a part of it, but on a more human level, the communication and bond you have with your client is something more valuable. Something money can’t buy.
The length of each project varied, some took months to complete (Kids Help Phone took 6 months) whereas some were churned out within weeks (Faces of Pride took 3 weeks).
John spoke about his projects with Walmart in a very personal way, in a way that showed me how dedicated he is to his work, and how involved he is in every step of the design process. Working day to day, having meetings and the “symbiotic relationship” he has with his clients, he feels like he is working with friends.
He also described his process as following the agile model where you have segments of sprints (creating a lot of work in a short amount of time). Every morning he has scrum meetings where everyone from Front/End Development, Design, Quality Assurance and the client sit down to have discussions. The different stages of each project are approved through a ticket system. When a client approves of the ticket, that stage of the project gets a green light to move forward. Otherwise, the design is revisited and goes through another set of reviews.
Having Tina and Kristen come in to talk to us was really valuable because we got a taste of the designer / developer dynamic. They also mentioned that react.js is the current popular industry framework and that Adobe Experience Manager is also used to create interactivity.
The Agency Culture
SapientRazorfish is a company that immerses itself in the community and really cares about engaging everyone.
If you want to evolve and move forward in your career, you should always be looking for new skills to learn. As a designer, knowing how to code or at least understanding the code, is an invaluable asset. Moreover, knowing the terminology / lingo facilitates the communication between you and developers.
For portfolio building, Aaron mentioned “know what you want to do” and “know your strengths and weaknesses”. Showcase a portfolio with a variety of styles and include process work because some clients really lookout for those wireframes and rough sketches.
The SapientRazorfish team was very considerate, helpful and even spent the extra time after their presentation to take pictures and answer our many questions. Thank you John, Kristen, Aaron and Tina for coming in to talk to us!