Start a Career in a Digital Agency This Year

It’s a brand new year and some of you might consider your next career move for 2020. You want your job to be challenging and rewarding and of course to get well paid. You can find all of that in a digital agency that creates software for international clients.

The high and growing demand for IT products is indisputable. That’s why digital agencies and dev houses are hiring new employees each year. Their businesses grow together with their clients’. And to expand, they need manpower that will create code, take care of clients and coordinate all business operations.

It’s easy to forget that digital agencies hire not only programmers. Every company needs different specialists to handle all the areas of expansion. Administration, marketing, sales, design, QA – without them all, a dev house is like a donut without a filling 😉

So if you cannot code but your interest in new technologies is strong, you can still consider a career in a digital agency. Here’s a couple of tips on how to do it.

Your current situation

Depending on the level of your education and experience, you need to consider a job that will be suitable for you. If you are still a student or a fresh graduate – applying for an internship would be a great idea. It will give you an opportunity to gain all the knowledge needed to pursue a career in IT in the long run. And a chance to be hired afterward, too!

For more seasoned job-seekers, the question is – what are your skills? Are you looking for a chance to change the entire course of your career or you just want to switch the environment? Answering these questions will help you determine which position you should apply to.

In many IT companies not only developers can be juniors, mediums or seniors. Also account managers, business executives, HR managers and other members of big company branches can upgrade their position by being promoted. Why are we mentioning that? Because if until now you’ve been an accountant at a financial firm but you dream to be a project manager at a digital agency – looking for a junior vacancy can be a good start. Demands will be much lower and you will have a chance to learn from your colleagues.

What’s important is to be confident in your knowledge and skills. Even if you have never been an HR specialist or a social media manager – your resume should underline all your people skills or basic knowledge of Facebook. And during the recruitment process be sure to prove that you know what you are talking about. Show the employer that you are willing to learn and that you are confident in your goals.

Tech knowledge – or at least an interest

Yes, if you want to work in IT – you need to know at least a little bit about technology. That doesn’t mean you need to know how to develop software. But knowing the names of programming languages, being up-to-date with trends, understanding business purposes of digital products is a must.

Not feeling like it? Share your skills somewhere else – specialists are needed in many places like advertising, finance, automotive, fashion and more. Dev houses grow rapidly also because there is so much going on in the online world. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, new models of smartphones – we need to keep all of that in mind when working on our products.

That’s why sales, marketing, HR, account and project managers need to know what’s up in the world of software development. Every company has a different field they specialize in, so when you send your resume to a specific agency – check out their website and social media profiles. Learn as much as possible about what they do – not only names but facts as well.

What matters is your interest. No one will kill you if you don’t know all the details, but knowing basics is a must.

Certain traits

Working in a digital agency requires some attributes because it is a peculiar workplace. Do we need to mention knowledge of the English language, as most dev houses work with clients from around the world?

First of all, oftentimes we need to work under the pressure of time and with constantly evolving conditions. Clients changing their minds, sudden problems found in testing, special requirements for a project – you name it. Resilience to stress, quick reacting, flexibility and can-do attitude make this job a lot easier.

Solving difficulties and proposing creative solutions is the core of our operations. That’s why every digital agency team needs not only exquisite specialists with great hard skills but also open-minded individuals that know their soft skills. Additionally, there would be no good dev house without teamwork, so make sure you like to cooperate with others.

Company culture expectations

There are many types of digital agencies. What distinguishes them from each other is not only their fields of expertise. There are bigger and smaller dev houses with different structures, rules and styles of work.

For example, some software development companies allow their employees to work fully remotely. Most of them offer one or two days per week. Other benefits usually depend on the size of the firm so check the recruitment announcements carefully to find out what you can expect.

Also, the website should be a source of useful information about company culture. You can find out if the team is integrating regularly and how they do it. What methods (eg. Agile, Scrum) they use for their daily operations. What the office and work stations look like. IT companies are often very unique work environments – because they love innovative ideas. You can be sure you won’t be bored while working in a digital agency.

Pick one that has a culture suitable for your own needs and character. If this dev house you consider meet up every week to play board games and you rather just go home after work – maybe you should look for a different place to send your resume to.

Will 2020 be a ground-breaking year for your career? That depends on you! If you wonder how we work at iteo and if we have any open positions at the moment – check out our career page. Find out how you can expand your prospects. Starting a new job in a digital agency can be the beginning of something great in your life!

The Why and How of Wireframes

It seems like a lot of people have already written something about wireframes – but we still want to add our thoughts on that topic. This will help you understand why they are such an important step in our design process. We will explain how those are created, used and translated into a full product.

As stated at www.usability.gov – a wireframe is a basic visual interface guide that suggests the structure of an interface and the relationships between its pages.

Why do you need them?

During our design process, creating wireframes is a step of forming a draft of a product that can be easily verified and examined. During the first stages of our work, it gives us a general view of the whole project. Thanks to that, the client can check if the presented solution meets his expectations. Also, wireframes allow us to quickly introduce changes to the product before it gets to further stages of the development process.

Additionally, at this point, we can easily decide what parts of the product are really crucial, and how the project can grow in the future. This allows us to make bigger decisions before the actual UI and coding parts start.

The main benefits of wireframes for the client:

  • Evaluation of the idea before visual design and development starts 
  • A chance to present the draft of product to the client’s company and the possibility to discuss internally
  • Testing the product before moving to the next steps of implementation
  • Reducing the cost of changes and adjustments that can be very expensive in the late stages of the project

Wireframes step by step

Why are wireframes so important in our work process?

  • The whole team has a chance to understand the project’s structure from the very beginning
  • It simplifies communication between the team and the client
  • Everyone engaged in the project knows what to expect from the final product
  • The whole design and development process becomes more efficient because everyone knows how the product works as a whole.
  • When the product is complex, a more visual and “real” form helps to understand more complicated processes and allows to speed up the communication.

What do they look like?

Most often wireframes present interface structure, navigation scheme, a draft of content, buttons, icons, placeholders and more. All of these elements placed on the wireframe views will showcase the features and functioning of the product.

The base is super clear, using lines, boxes, grayscale colors, basic fonts and described placeholders instead of graphic content.

Why so simple?

Below, we present the same screen in two forms. On the left, we have a simple wireframe and on the right, we can see the styled view. Despite the time of work needed to design the version on the right, let’s analyze elements and functionalities presented on them both.

The example on the right, although generally prettier, is worse for verification, especially at the beginning. That’s because people who see the styled view unintentionally focus on aspects like: whether they like this particular color, why this icon is drawn like that, if we could change the font to a different one or maybe find another picture instead of the chosen one.

On the other hand, the view on the left thanks to its simple form helps us focus on functionalities and the “bigger picture” of the product. We can check if the whole app is understandable and how the flows work. When checking on wireframes, we ask different kinds of questions: can this element be more visible, how can we reach this option, what we push the user to do.

That’s why we always start with designing the wireframes so the client and the team can verify how an app, a system or a website works. All changes and upgrades are much easier to introduce due to simple and clear form.

The process of wireframe creation

What needs to be done before our UX team can start designing the wireframes?

Depending on the complexity of the project – definitely Product Workshops. After collecting all the needed knowledge, the designer starts to create the skeleton of the solution – wireframes. Having the information architecture in mind, sometimes we begin with less-precise wireframes called low-fidelity (lo-fi) ones.

These first sketches showcase if all the elements are included in the view and if the basic flow of operation is as expected. Depending on the preference of the designer, this can be done on paper, a board or a computer. That’s a good material to start a conversation with the client or the team about all the decisions they have to make when it comes to basic but key functionalities and structure. 

The advantage of the less-detailed approach is prompt verification of the idea (but in a very limited way). Also, we can generate a couple of different solution concepts. Next – we pick the best one.

After having the project in the form of lo-fi wireframes, we can start to create high-fidelity (hi-fi) ones – they are much more close to the styled prototype. These wireframes cover all the shortages of the basic version. They define weight, visual hierarchy, actual form and all the interactions within the product. 

What’s next?

We are almost finished! Our wireframes are ready – so what’s next? Usually, wireframes are assembled into one clickable prototype of the product. It contains not only the main views of the app but all the needed ones to present all possible cases. 

When we have this clickable prototype, we can proceed with customer surveys that will quickly verify the idea’s accurateness and if the product will actually work.

After testing and verifying, if the prototype receives approval, it can be passed to the next stages of design and implementation. These steps include whole visual design, development and more.

Now you know why wireframes are important and how we create them. If you are looking for a web and mobile development agency that works with you every step of the way – contact us. Let’s start with a conversation and your idea can become something extraordinary.

UX and UI Design Trends for 2020

We’ve asked iteo design team about 2020 trends in their field. Our UX Team Leader Magdalena and Senior Product Designer Kasia share their thoughts about the future of UX and UI design in the next 12 months.

Magdalena Brzuska, UX Team Leader:

When it comes to User Experience design, I’m not sure if we can talk about “trends” by definition. We design products that should fit users’ needs, not (ok, not only) the ones creating the demand. So maybe a better way to put it is “expectations” – what users will definitely expect from digital products in 2020 when it comes to usability and experience. Here we go:

(no) human interactions

Last year was all about chatbots, voicebots and all other ways of conversing with the client without real human input (mainly for “human resources and cost optimization”, but that is another story). Well, a bot will never call sick or be in a bad mood. Also, he (or she ;)) will always do his best to help you. That makes a pretty good customer service that slowly becomes the standard in more and more industries. 

What was also noticeable, AI came to our houses and it looks like we welcomed it with arms wide open. Conversations about how scary it is may seem to be dulled by the whispers of delight about how convenient it actually is.

Merge both mentioned above, and here comes the future (that already came, but we definitely will see more of it). We observe that our clients are no longer satisfied with bots that learned some of the answers. That makes perfect sense. People do not want to speak or chat with customer service that can not solve THEIR specific case. And getting the wrong answer, or being told to wait for a real person – that is a no go.

There are only so many processes and scenarios that we can teach bots. But the efficiency calls for more almost every day. Moreover, bots are now also used not only for helping customers but also for creating engagement with the brand. In 2020 we expect to have more efficient and “real” interactions with… whoever will be a know-it-all available under our thumb.

inclusive accessibility

WCAG is here for some time. There was a period when it froze the blood of designers, developers and clients – all forced to obey these mystified guidelines. We reached the point when it is quite common. When it is required to fill all checkboxes – we do so. For other cases – whatever we design we keep in mind that not everyone in this world is thrilled when given a fully animated, totally flashy, gesture-controlled app.

Yes, creating personas helps us to understand the targeted audience so we can adjust our product to them. And yes, if the chosen group requires some dedicated solutions, we make those a priority. BUT how often (and let’s be honest there) do we consider how diversified our target group can be in a matter of disabilities? Mary that has some problems with sight is in every way as good of a client for shopping app as is Hanna with her eagle eye and appreciation for smooth color gradients. It should not be an edge case.

Every source says that in 2020 the world will be even more concerned about social matters and inclusivity than it is now. And that is a good trend! So we, as designers should also feel a duty of making digital space more inclusive. We need to be more empathetic, maybe learn some more about sociology and behaviorism (been there, done that – totally recommend) and definitely stop running all the tests on our “perfect customers”. Be diversified, be bold. 

no more vacuum

You can call yourself a minimalist that does not need fancy smartphones and other smart gadgets. You can call yourself an old-fashioned person that is not really into this whole “smart” stuff. But I guess you get frustrated when your car doesn’t want to connect with your phone. And this super little convenience makes us all realize how much we appreciate IT. 

“It” is a mysterious thing. Outside the industry, I guess not many people understand how it actually works. But “it” enables your watch to notify you about upcoming check-in that was marked in your calendar the moment you got the confirmation email. The fact that every device of yours knows exactly what you need at the moment and you can freely manage all your data between them – be honest, you appreciate it and you like it.

So we, as designers, can no longer think about our products as stand-alone ones. Of course, the app should work well as it is, without any external “help”. And it will. The case is that there is no way that in 2020 the user will be fully satisfied with the app that creates onefold value and does not “speak” to other apps.

You can say “C’mon! It is already a standard!” but emphasizing a phenomenon is also a trend. Omnichannel experiences also made their way into customers’ hearts. So not only do we need to create applications that are well connected to others frequently used ones, but also are cohesive with the whole brand (including also all offline processes). You still can say that this is not a groundbreaking thing and it is a good practice for some time to link products and create consistent experiences, but we believe that in the nearest future those two aspects can prevail “to be or not to be” of every available service.

Kasia Ochocka, Senior Product Designer:

We want it to be beautiful! We want it to be useful! We want it to be different than everything we have seen so far! 

Product design is constantly thinking about business and an end-user while creating something visually pleasing and UI trends for the upcoming year are a great example of it. Here are some of them we thought are worth mentioning.

simply better animations

Well, it turns out that everything we’ve already said about animations is true – animations have become an integral part of UI design a few years ago and everything indicates that 2020 will not be different. This applies to both web design and smartphone design. In the first case, designers can afford a little more freedom – in fact, everything can be animated, of course, with the addition of common sense.

We already know that the animation says more than hundreds of words, but the huge role of the developer in the process of implementing this is worth mentioning. The speed of its charging, overall quality and smoothness, as well as the lowest possible load on the device – these are the goals that all teams working on creating products in 2020 will strive for.

being bolder

As you already know (while scrolling through beloved awwwards.com for instance) – UI designers allow themselves more and more courage in the design process. Broken grid, asymmetrical layouts, typography overlapping other page elements, split-screen – today’s wide desktop screens and full-screen smartphones allow you to implement these solutions without worrying about their illegibility.

Speaking of scrolling – using an empty space won’t be a problem either. A lot of comforting room and seemingly unused space on the page or in the application will allow you to maintain balance in places where the number of graphic elements will be much larger. And good balance and freedom is all we need these days, right?

mobile & gestures

Two years ago we’ve been electrified about the news that Cake raised $5 million for its swipeable browser. Now that it’s out we can tell it was worth it. Progressive web apps or PWAs are gaining momentum and it looks like there is no way a native mobile app can withstand this flurry. For us designers, it means that we have to focus more on designing something crafted for an end device that the user will use it on. Sounds easy but trust me – it’s not.

Since we’re stuck to our phones we need apps and webpages that will be even more intuitive to use and at the same time interesting and offering new value. The biggest mobile market giant like Apple is getting rid of the buttons for transitions and gestures we’ve gotten used to over the years. Farewell, “home” button, it was nice knowing you.

illustrations that are… different?

Oh, this one is quite important for us and we’re already rubbing our hands. It seems like in 2020 designers all over the world would have to come together to find another way of enhancing the design by illustrations in a new, more unique way. Everything was already created? We hope not.

Isometric is passé, don’t even mention monstera or any other plants… Gradients have been a steadfast feature of the illustration scene for the last year or so, and they’re not disappearing any time soon (well, maybe let’s make them a little more low-key). Thanks to virtual reality (and data visualization) renders are a big thing, too. Users want them so real you can almost touch it.

So to sum up – do whatever you want to enhance your UI design, but please do not put an isometric vibrant plant on the top section of your page. Or do – since 2020 is all about doing what you want.

don’t be a copycat

I know it sounds cheesy, but hear me out. We all love getting inspired while looking at Dribbble or Behance projects but at the end of the day, you don’t want to create something that looks like a combination of two most liked posts you saw earlier. It is very easy to fall into the vacuum of trends bombing us from all sides.

Creating your own design style that is your business card or simply designing products by following your own opinion and intuition is the shortest way to success. Even if it means passing several defeats along the way.

Now you know what our experts on UX & UI think about design trends for 2020. If you are planning to expand your business next year, let us know. We will use all our knowledge and experience to make your product modern, functional and eye-catching.

The Why and How of Stakeholders Mapping

In most cases, if you ask your client about the most important factor of his product’s success you will get the answer – “users”. And let’s be honest, this is a pretty good answer. More and more often the owners of a product are aware of the fact that they have to take under consideration the thoughts, needs and whims of their targeted users.

That comes down to the fact that almost every decision regarding the product’s final shape is based on USERS. Those can be real, selected, examined users. Those can also be just figures written down as user personas. Anyway – we know who they are, what they want and how to get it to them. Sounds good so far. But aren’t we missing something?

Important people in your product’s life

To be more precise – not something, but someone.  You are aware that the product is never created in a vacuum. It may sound cheesy but yes, even in product design, it is important to make everyone around happy (at least a bit). It means that although you should always focus on your end-users as prior, you should also take care of other relations. Those are:

  • Relations within your project team (every person who touches that project)
  • Relations with your clients (this one is obvious, isn’t it?)
  • Relations with investors (every person or company that is paying for your creation)
  • Relations with customers (every person who should consider interacting with your product)
  • Relations with competition (every person that will want to have the advantage of your product)
  • Relations on the product’s market (every person who enters the market that your product is hitting)

Yes, there is a lot to handle. Fortunately, there is a tool that helps lost souls in maneuvering between those listed above with grace.

Stakeholders mapping

To start with, let’s define who a stakeholder really is. It is a person who shares an interest or influence (or both) in your product. The level of engagement will also be important at some stage. But first, you have to realize who they are. There is an owner, a founder, a CEO, a designer, a researcher, a developer, a… whoever there might be. And every single one of them somehow has an impact on your product. Go bigger. Think about everything that might have an influence on it. Now match those things with people who stand behind them. Now – how do they affect your work? Or, on the contrary, do they even care? 

That’s where stakeholders mapping comes to help. Brainstorm everyone (and everything) that might impact your product. Do it with your whole team (remember, never go through a UX path alone!). Put it on the board. Yes, you can find Jim from your backend team there (I dare you to say that developers do not influence product) but also your investor’s lawyer (who explains what restrictions you have to follow). Group. Match. Link. Confront. Just get more comfortable with the knowledge of some Stakeholders existing there. 

The Who and What

Everyone you listed on board is somehow interested in your product. That means that they also somehow influence your product. Think about HOW they do it. Is it direct or not? Is it continuous or just temporary? If you managed to group your stakeholders, it would be easier to define them with some qualities. Now choose the most important qualities and make a scale of them. Then make another scale determining the impact. Place your groups on the matrix. And… that’s kind of it.

It all comes down to the question – who should I care about the most and how do I keep others satisfied? We cannot help you with the second part of this question, but at least now you know how to distribute your energy wisely. The matrix shows clearly that you should focus more on people that you defined as having the most important quality for your project and also the most impactful. The ones with weaker qualities and less impact you can now monitor. The only thing left now is to decide how you want to approach the other two extremes (strong quality-less impact/weaker quality-more impact). Keep them informed? Satisfied? Participating? Whatever fits you. But keep in mind – roles shift. Go back to your matrix every time you feel like a new player enters the game.

The Why and How

Everything mentioned above should make you think about the context of your product development process. For us, it is important to design responsibly and effectively, and we believe that being aware of relations around the product gives us an advantage from the start. Of course, this one does not cover the whole “context of product design” theme. Knowing who works for your project’s success or failure is a pretty good start. You may not know how to save the world, but at least you will know who you should ask for help here.

That is why stakeholders mapping canvas accompanies us from the beginning of most of our products. We decided to share our template with you, so you can try yourself what difference it makes. 

Click here to download FREE stakeholders mapping canvas!

Adjust it to your requirements, just as we do. Go local (internal) or more global (external) depending on your product’s character. Customize it with more definitions if needed. 

And if you have any concerns or questions – hit us with an email so we can talk it through 🙂

Top 10 Articles From Our Blog 2019

It’s almost the end of the year. We decided to overview the best articles on our blog based on the readership. In this rank, you can check them out again to refresh your knowledge. And if you are new here – we recommend reading them so you can gain a new perspective on different IT issues.

We’ve checked the statistics and here they are. Top 10 of your favorite articles in 2019:

1. The Story Of Our New Identity

This year we’ve updated our visual identification, including our logo and website. The article describes the idea behind it and the whole process of rebranding. Visuals included!

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “Change is a must in the IT industry. It is also said, that if you don’t change, you don’t grow.”

2. How Office Space Impacts Our Workflow

2019 was the year of changes! After rebranding, we moved our headquarters to a bigger office. That was a chance to design this space to be our own. The goal was to support creativity and to find a balance between privacy and openness. How did we achieve that? Find out in the article.

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “Our new workspace design positively influenced mostly our productivity and certainly benefited overall collaboration and communication.”

3. Flutter vs. React Native: A Comparison

Flutter framework became something very important at iteo. We really like this technology, so we wrote a bunch of articles about it. In this one we compare it to another tool for app development – React Native. Check out what we think about them both.

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “The battle between React Native and Flutter is mostly a battle between stable, recognized framework versus an opponent that is new, dynamic and hungry for success.”

4. The Future of Flutter

As we mentioned, Flutter is dear to us. This article focuses on the predictions and expectations of this framework. We know that Flutter’s future is bright. Read the article if you want to know what exactly is our view on it.

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “The state of the market might rapidly change when Google releases the new system, forcing all Android developers to become Flutter developers. That is where Flutter will shine the most.”

5. Game-Changing Impact of a Great Design Pitch

Design is a huge part of our work. That’s why we create a lot of articles on it. This one unveils the true impact of a well-prepared design pitch. Why is it so important? Well, if you are a designer and you want your idea to be picked by the client – this article is a must-read.

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “The beloved ‘less is more’ principle and ubiquitous minimalism will not work for every project. Don’t forget about the client’s business goals – after all, their opinion will ultimately determine whether what you have prepared will be accepted and released for development.”

6. TestCamp − leveling up our QA skills

Detailed coverage of TestCamp conference and workshops. Our QA team took part in it and shared their experiences. We attend a lot of events and we always learn something new. Gaining new knowledge and skills is crucial to expand our work. Check out how our testing practices improved after TestCamp.

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “All the issues that were discussed during presentations and while networking with other participants were a proof that our work model at iteo and our expansion plans are according to the newest technological trends of mobile and web app testing.”

7. Product Workshops Value Explained

Product Workshops are another significant part of our work at iteo. It’s a unique part of our offer, that’s why we use our blog to explain why we do it and how it is done. This one here is about the value that workshops can give to both sides – the client and our team.

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “Only by joining forces we can create something that will fit your company’s, customers’ and market’s needs (and will also make us proud).”

8. Is .NET Core a Right Choice for Startups?

Working with startups is a big chunk of our everyday operations. As well as using .NET Core. We connect those two things in this article. Startupers often look for robust solutions for their IT projects – read this blog post to find out why .NET Core framework is worth giving it a try.

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “Choosing the right technology for a digital product is not easy. And it’s the key when there is a limited budget and expectations for short delivery time.”

9. Why Choose Flutter? Pros & Cons

Yet another Flutter article. In this one, we list the advantages and disadvantages of the framework. If you wonder if this is a choice for your business – check out what’s in the article. Spoiler alert: we tell exactly who will benefit from using Flutter!

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “Why is this a revolution? Because of its nature and capabilities, Flutter is not a framework but rather an SDK for applications designed for a touch screen. Its primary purpose is to work with iOS and Android devices but can run on other platforms as well.”

10. 8 Examples Proving Testing is Important

Testing is often underrated, but not at iteo. The uniqueness of this blog post is based on examples used in it. These are real situations from many different industries, where one little bug in code was a cause of the disaster. A bit scary but also eye-opening. Find out why good QA practices are crucial for every IT product.

Thought-provoking quote from this piece: “All those events could have been avoided if buggy software wouldn’t be authorized to use. Let’s face it – there is no way to know if there are any errors that can cause dangerous situations and malfunctions if there is no testing included.”

We hope you liked the rundown of our blog post we’ve prepared for you. 2019 was a year of big decisions, bold changes and learning new things. We still have a lot to share so expect even more knowledge on our blog in 2020. And if you want to collaborate with a seasoned digital agency – let’s do something extraordinary together. The first step is to contact us 🙂

Managing Work with Remote Teams and Clients

According to FlexJobs Annual Survey, 76% of employees seek for full-time remote job opportunities. 43% of them would also agree for partially remote work. Flexible schedules and part-time schedules are also preferred. This trend cannot be stopped. It is better for companies to start learning how to manage their remote teammates.

At iteo, we offer remote work opportunities to some extent. Usually, our employees work remotely once a week. Sometimes they work from home for longer periods of time if there’s a need for that.

But when you hire 130 people (and the number is growing), usually their schedules differ each week, if not each day. It might seem like there has to be a huge amount of planning and that it’s a though management project to take care of. Well, not necessarily.

Here are a couple of tools and methods we use at iteo to work together when some of us are in offices and some are working from home.

It all starts with scheduling

Don’t forget we have more than one office. Add international clients from every part of the globe. That is already an interesting twist to our everyday operations since we have to include time zones to our scheduling. How to manage a sales update meeting when one of us is in San Francisco and the rest work in Katowice?

Of course, we have to plan them accordingly. Fortunately, we live in the 21st century and we have many communication means we can use to organize our meetings and then to have calls wherever we are. This applies to our remote workers, teams located in different offices and scheduling work with our clients.

The first tool, a simple and rather obvious one, is a calendar. We use Google Calendar as it synchronizes perfectly and it is popular within the business environment. We book time and space for our meetings, calls and workshops. Even if we work with a remote team, it matters to book a proper space because sometimes when you have a couple of people on the call you will need someplace quiet. Also, our internal calendar says when someone from the team is working remotely, has sick-days or is on holiday. This way we always know what, where and when.

Communication is the key

Okay, so we have a call scheduled very soon. It’s time to use the whole arsenal of communication tools – accordingly to our needs and preferences. We don’t limit ourselves to one app or program, as they usually have different functionalities. Our favorites are:

  • Google Meet
  • Zoom
  • Skype

For us, it is important that the tool we use for conference calls allows also display sharing, presentation streaming, as well as sending textual messages, links and files. We also invest in hardware that makes the calls easier for our office workers. One of them is Jabra – it’s a wireless conference call set we can use in any room we need it. Lately, we also bought a camera that makes the experience of a call more “live”. It shows the whole room and zooms into the face of a currently speaking person. This way we can make all the call participants feel like if they were with us.

Not every matter requires audio and video connection. For information exchange, we use two simple tools that you have probably heard of before. They are called Email and Slack. The first one is great for sending files and messages that we want to keep around for longer. Slack is perfect for everyday communication. Its pinging function happens to be useful when you need to reach out to someone quickly and find out if they are available.

As you can see, thanks to the internet, we have many different means of communication we can use on a daily basis. This way we keep up with everything that is happening in the office and with projects, no matter where we work from.

Managing projects for great success

Each project needs to be managed properly so the work goes according to plan. Again, the online environment is perfect for project management as it offers many apps that make it easy. And they work wherever you are, synchronizing data so everyone is always up to date. Including remote employees.

At iteo we believe there is no need to complicate things. Keeping operations simple is important to tame the chaos that can often happen when we work on many different projects with various team members and clients.

We use BaseCamp to organize projects – it’s a space where we can invite our clients to see what we are doing. Their presence allows them to be an active part of the work. All to-dos, needed files and information exchanges are in BaseCamp.

Two tools that come from the same place – they are called Confluence and Jira – are also an important part of our everyday work. First one’s purpose is to internally organize all our operations. We keep all important processes in it, so we know clearly what to do in certain cases. Jira is one of the most important apps at iteo – it allows us to log our work time in it. We use it to create tasks and to know who does what and when. This way we always know what’s up.

Last but not least, there’s Google Drive. Simple and super convenient when it comes to file exchange, sharing documents and creating spreadsheets or presentations. Show us someone who DOESN’T use it. But at iteo we are also flexible and we always try to be convenient when it comes to exchanging information with clients – if they want us to use their resources, we gladly will. And if they need some shared space with us – we will prepare it for them.

Security is important when working remotely with many people. That’s why all the code and other internal pieces of work are stored on our own dedicated servers.

As you can see, our work is simply but thoroughly organized. Years of experience working with international clients, remote teams and employees hired in different locations pays off. We’ve created a system that uses online communication, management tools and deliberate processes to keep the work running every day. We are prepared for all the situations that can occur. If you are looking for a digital agency that values a good work organization and has the know-how of project management – let us know what you have in mind.

Why You Should Outsource Your Next IT Project?

Looking for someone to develop your next IT product? It might be tempting to hire an internal team of specialists for your business. You will always have them in place and the process will be under your constant control. Well, we believe that outsourcing is often a much better solution.

Here’s a couple of arguments, why you should outsource instead of hiring your own IT department to develop a website or an app. Collaborating with an external digital agency like iteo can bring you more benefits than you can imagine.

Money, money, money

Cost efficiency is the biggest benefit of them all when it comes to outsourcing. You might ask – how is that even possible?

If you hire your own IT department, you need to pay their salaries, you have to give them office space and provide hardware and software. That’s a lot of money. Outsource and you will save some of it to invest and grow your business.

Not to mention you need a big team of specialists to build a single product. Developers, designers, testers – hiring them all will take a huge chunk of your budget.

But if you outsource you will have access to…

Huge specialists pool

All these people are in one place when you outsource your project to a seasoned dev house. You will also get a project manager and if your product evolves along the way – other specialists that have skills and experience in different technologies.

Digital agencies hire developers from different areas of expertise. You don’t have to worry that your product will be stuck because your own team doesn’t know different programming languages that are required to solve a problem or to create a new feature.

That gives you another benefit – flexibility. Whatever your website or app needs at the moment, a dev house can just add new teammates that will bring more skills to the table.

About expertise. That’s another benefit of outsourcing. Your digital agency of choice has…

Diversified experience

If a digital agency doesn’t exist since yesterday, they have probably worked with dozens (if not hundreds) of clients. They polished their knowledge and skills doing all kinds of projects for many different industries, having in mind a plethora of business needs and expectations.

They might not be familiar with your particular business niche. But a dev house knows how to work with a client, no matter where they come from.

Onboarding a new IT department will take a huge amount of time, downsize your resources and only frustrate you. Better outsource the job to a digital agency like iteo. You know what else will be much easier?

Time management

Your dedicated project team, composed especially for you by a dev house, consists of at least a couple of people. And they all can do their jobs at the same time. Some pieces of the website or app can be done simultaneously, there is no need to wait until one part is done to start another.

Here’s another outsourcing hack – if you hire a digital agency that is in a different time zone, they will work while you sleep. They will literally solve problems and provide solutions “overnight”.

Also, you don’t have to worry that the “IT guy” you hired to develop something for your business is overflowed with work because all your employees suddenly need help with their computers. Outsource the project and you will get a purposeful team to focus on it.

It will give you something else that you will highly appreciate in the long run.

Support

Every step of the way you will get technical and factual support.

In the beginning, you will discuss your idea with the team to determine what exactly you can achieve together. You might invest in a Proof of Concept or Minimal Viable Product solution if you want to. At iteo, we also offer Product Workshops so we can work together with the client to get the best results.

With a digital agency, you can always discuss what tech support will look like and sign a contract to get their help if something is wrong with the product. Another chance to take advantage of their experience.

As you can see, outsourcing can be highly beneficial for your business. We always recommend outsourcing IT projects to a seasoned dev house. At iteo, we’ve completed over 130 projects with clients from various industries around the world. Developing applications and other digital products is what we live and breathe. If you have something in mind and want to discuss your business needs – let us know. We’re here to help.

When You Shouldn’t Invest in Product Workshops?

Product Workshops are a unique part of our product design offer at iteo. We put a lot of effort to prepare and evolve them so the client and ourselves can be fully satisfied with the results. We work hard to achieve the final output in the form of a product prototype and a documented vision of what’s next. But is it always worth it to invest in this method of work? Let’s find out.

If you still don’t know what our Product Workshops are – it’s the initiation of the product creation process. It helps us find out what client expectations and requirements are. It is also a great way to work on a project idea, as well as map out its potential and viability.

There are two parts of Product Workshops – meetings with the client and the internal work of our team. During the ladder, we examine many aspects of the product. We focus on business goals, functionalities, technology, UX and more. In general, it’s a complex process that we originally developed based on our experience.

Why do we even care about Product Workshops?

We see a unique value in product creation that is supported by a workshop. Our goal is to develop the whole product together with our client, not only deliver it. That’s why we pay close attention to every detail from the first stages of creation until the final stages of maintenance.

There are many reasons why we organize Product Workshops:

  • digging deeper into the market that our client wants to conquer, its target audience and business idea
  • making sure the idea will be profitable and that the project is feasible – and if not, suggesting relevant changes
  • preparing a crafted, detailed offer and estimation with a couple of options to choose from
  • showcasing a comprehensive sample of the product that will allow the client to test his idea first-hand
  • more effective work while developing the final product because of all insights outworked during a workshop.

What’s in it for you?

There are advantages of Product Workshops for both sides. First of all, we can meet each other face to face which makes cooperation much easier and more effective. More detailed cost estimation is a plus, as well – that step would be much less precise with only a general outline of the client’s idea.

After the workshop, we build a draft of the product’s backlog and create a prototype. The goal is to make these much more detailed and closer to the client’s idea than it would be without going through the workshop process.

Overall, thanks to Product Workshops we can understand and verify the idea of the product quickly and deliver better results during further works.

When Product Workshops are not useful?

Although we recommend workshops to most of our clients (because of the benefits presented above), and also, we adjust our offer to each client depending on his custom needs, there are a couple of situations when there is no need to invest in them. These are:

  • When the product is small and simple

Let’s take a look at the scope. Even if your idea seems like something really small (“come on, those are five screens!”), remember that there is always logic we need to put behind it. However, if there is a possibility to use it from existing solutions, experiences, samples, etc., we will let you know. There is no need to work on a reproducible product so hard. That would be a waste of time and resources for both sides.

  • When the client is still at the stage of process creation for their product

We can be your partner in creating the entire product from scratch including external complementary processes, but this requires something a little more complex than standard Product Workshop offer. If you decide to create or change processes that will rule the product’s logic on your own, you should put product workshops on the back burner until those are done. Otherwise, there is a huge risk of major changes that can influence the project (cost, timeline and final output)

  • When the client has very detailed documentation for their product

There are definitely very well prepared clients, and you may be one of them. Before we enter the product workshop process, we ask you to present all existing materials concerning your project. If you would like us to strictly deliver your vision (not to develop it with our help) and you have everything that is required (detailed tech documentation, prototype, etc.) – no need to cover more. We can plan kickoff meetings in order to dispel any doubts and get to work.

  • When the client is interested only in the redesign (UI) of their application

If there is nothing you would like to change when it comes to how your product works and the thing you are looking for is skillful team to make your product’s visual layer pop more or revamped – we have a better solution for you than an entire Product Workshop process (let us know what you have in mind!)

  • When all you need is a simple website

Don’t get us wrong – designing a well thought-through corporate or product website can be a challenge that requires a wider design process. However, if the only thing you need is a short landing page, our team can help you achieve your goals with much less engagement from both sides.

You most probably get the idea by now – we are honest about our process. The Product Workshop part is not for everyone, although it is definitely worthy for most of our clients. What’s important is that now your project might not require a workshop but who knows – it might change if you decide to level it up to a more advanced idea. Think about your product and your business needs to find out if investing in Product Workshops can be profitable for you. And if you’re still wondering – don’t hesitate to contact us and ask. We will gladly advise you on that matter and answer any other questions regarding our future work together.

iteo Accelerates at GoodFirms

The research unit at GoodFirms evaluated iteo and positioned us as one of the leading businesses on the list of top mobile app and website development companies amongst the indexed ones at GoodFirms. It also asserted that it would soon lead among top web design companies. 

GoodFirms is an evaluation and review platform that appraises different services offered by the companies. It promotes the complete performance of these companies based on three parameters – Quality, Reliability, and Ability. 

Their extensive research process ranks the companies, boosts their online reputation and helps service seekers pick the right technology partner that meets their business needs.

In this article, we present the validation of our work by GoodFirms.

Our Experience in Mobile App Development

At iteo, we’ve created plenty of apps. We utilize advanced tools and technologies to modernize our clients’ businesses completely. Besides this, our team also has expertise in producing native and hybrid apps. We help customers in user-engagement and sales by designing applications for Apple and Google app stores. Moreover, our app developers curate customized applications and deploy enterprise apps that can streamline and gather the inward-facing systems of the business people. Thus, backed by a group of professional developers with an all-inclusive approach towards the app development lifecycle; iteo ranks amongst the best mobile app developers in Poland at GoodFirms. 

Our Software Development Approach

At iteo, custom software development is the forte of the developers, in which mostly the expertise is in web applications. We develop front-solutions that are fast and intuitive and support back-end solutions, as well. Blending creative design ideas with widely accepted concepts helps us make accessible merchandise and services. Our squad creates productive, appealing, and reliable web solutions, that bring the aspired outcomes for the clients’ businesses. We adhere to a client-centric approach that aptly covers buyers’ needs. Thus, running repeated quality tests to lessen the risk of cost-consuming redevelopment concedes iteo as one of the leading web development companies in Germany at GoodFirms.

Our Creative and Elegant Designs

Website design plays an essential role in driving the intended audiences to an online store. Therefore, our seasoned designers at iteo curate pixel-perfect designs using the most advanced tools and technologies. We make sure to give our clients elegant and unique web designs that load faster in every browser. Besides that, we understand the importance of online ubiquity of any business, therefore we curate the drawings as per the SEO standards. Ergo, GoodFirms research unit believes that outlining simple yet remarkable website designs with clean codes would soon accelerate iteo as one of the best global web design agencies at GoodFirms.

We are proud that the quality of our service and human-centered approach to software development was appreciated by GoodFirms. Check out our GoodFirms profile to find out more. And if you would like to collaborate – don’t hesitate to contact us!

How Do You Pick the Best Digital Agency

So you have an idea. Your business needs a new, advanced website with many features. Or you want to become the next big startup with an app that will conquer the world of influencers. Maybe your business is growing super fast and your small e-commerce website needs expansion ASAP. That’s what digital agencies are for – to help you. We take your idea of a software product and make it become a reality. But how to pick an agency to fulfill all your needs?

Forget about choosing based on the lowest price. Saving the budget won’t save you from failing your customers when a website won’t work or an app will be a disaster. This article will tell you how to find your perfect digital agency. Let’s see what you should consider when picking one.

Evaluate your business needs

You might think that every dev house does them all – websites, apps, IoT software, CRMs. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Some agencies have a couple of teams that specialize in different digital products, yet they usually have their main area of expertise. So the first step would be to determine what kind of product you have in mind and then browse for agencies that specialize in it.

Another thing to reflect on is your style of cooperation. Do you want to be present every step of the way? Can you actively work with the team? Are you open to the idea of workshops and face-to-face meetings where you will discuss ideas and processes? Pick an agency that does all those things – like iteo for example. We always like to include our clients in the project, if they wish. This way we can help them evaluate the idea and showcase them how we work on it. If you prefer to just delegate work and not think about it too much, look for an independent team that won’t bother you if it’s not necessary.

Lastly, ask yourself – what kind of features would you expect from the product. Should it be very advanced or rather simple? That will influence the project’s budget and timeline. A competent dev house will estimate how much the project will cost and how long will it take. They will also give you some options to reduce those two factors if it’s possible. You can see how the key to a great collaboration with a digital agency is communication.

Before you contact them

So you browsed the web and found some interesting digital agencies you want to pursue. Before you do so, check their online presence. See how they communicate with the world. Do they share their expertise? Are they showcasing their finished projects? There are a couple of places to check it out.

First, go to their website. Does it look clean and modern? Is it easy to navigate? The main sections you should see are Services, Portfolio and Blog.

Services page will help you find out what kind of products are developed inside this house. Seeing finished projects in the portfolio will be a great chance to find out what is the design style of the agency you are considering. And their blog should be a source of useful information – if they are not afraid to share it, it means they are confident in their knowledge and skills.

Then, go to their social media profiles. This way you will find out what kind of vibe this company represents. It can be very important for your cooperation. On Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter you can find out more about the daily life of a digital agency, what kind of projects they participate in and what is their work culture.

Last but not least, check out their reviews on external portals like Clutch or GoodFirms. It’s a chance to see what their ex-clients say about the agency. Also, it’s definitely worth examining portfolios on Behance and Dribbble. That’s the best place to see the unique style of the agency’s design team.

Ask a few questions

So you overviewed your business needs and you researched companies online. Now it’s time to initiate the first contact. Whichever way you choose – email or phone, be prepared for this conversation. Have a bunch of information ready and ask the right questions to get as much as possible from the first conversation or email exchange.

In the beginning, briefly explain what kind of project you have in mind. Don’t share too many details but don’t be too general either. You need to give them an idea of what your main goal really is.

Then, ask questions. There are a couple that can be particularly important.

  • Do they have experience with similar kinds of projects?
  • Which technologies do they use?
  • What kind of work methods do they practice?
  • How does collaboration and communication with a client look like?
  • What are the tools they use to cooperate with a client and to manage projects?
  • Are they flexible and can propose different solutions if something goes wrong in the project?
  • What is their approach to difficult situations and problems during the project?

You get the idea. Your goal is to determine how the digital agency of your choice manages their projects and cooperates with their clients. If their answers are comprehensive, you might be closer than you think to finding the perfect dev house for your next IT project.

As you can see, picking a digital agency needs more preparation than one might think. But that’s a good thing. This way your search will be faster and more successful. You can also contact us at iteo and let us know what you have in mind. We are eager to help!