Life is a profusion of experiences that we go through continuously, deciding which are the most important and closely aligned to our values is paramount. This profound reality must be at the core of any act we perform as human beings. This is what keeps things in perspective and helps us navigate the ocean of choices facing us every day.
A couple of years ago, I left Google in sunny California and came back to freezing cold Rochester NY without a job waiting for me. Why would you do such a thing you might ask?! Why would you choose an experience that seems, at first, of lesser value? A place where sub-zero temperatures are the norm and opportunities are limited. Why would anyone choose this over beautiful sunny California and a job at one of the best companies to work for on the planet?
Well, life is all about those experiences we deem most important to us. I know you might read my reasoning and think I am nuts, or that I gave up too quickly. The truth is everyone’s values and what they deem important is different and unique to them. Having an enviable career that many people dream about with the caveat of two hours commute, constantly fighting for your own space, living in a small one bedroom apt for $2700mo and not having enough time to spend with your family were experiences that didn’t align with my values or what I considered important. Life to me was beyond a fulfilling career and a free daily lunch in a Google cafe. It was much simpler and more meaningful.
Rochester NY, even though freezing cold, provided my family and me with warmth and gratitude, the ability to appreciate little things and the capacity to focus on what’s really important. It helped me realize that even though we are expected to do more and more nowadays, it’s crucial to just let go of all the noise and only focus on the few experiences that best align with our values and help us accomplish our goals.
After several months of being back, I ran into my dear friend and mentor, Thérèse Hannigan, who asked me if I would be interested in coming back to Dwaiter, a company she founded over a decade ago out of her passion and belief in giving talented people a great place to work in Rochester, NY. I was one of the first two employees at the company back in 2005, and coming back to where my journey started have been an incredible experience. I am constantly challenged and motivated to do better. The Dwaiter team solidified my belief that not only do talented people exist outside of Silicon Valley, but they create amazing things.
At this point you might be asking yourself, what does all of this have to do with Dwaiter and the way we build digital solutions for our clients? Trust me, I am getting to that.
That chair that you’re sitting on and the screen that you’re gazing at serve a purpose and help you feel or do something you care about. Experiences that align with our values include tools and products we use every day. Have you ever tried to update the clock in your car and failed? If you said yes, don’t worry, you are not alone. Such experiences are widespread and cause people everywhere a great deal of frustration. Some even blame themselves, “oh I must be getting old, I am not as sharp as I used to be”. This always happens when users were not at the center of the design process.
The only rule when I was designing at Google was “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” When we care about users and place their needs at the center of the design process, we end up with products that are easy to use and help us accomplish our goals. These products are the ones we tell our friends about and keep using every day. As designers, engineers, and craftsmen, not only do we make products but decide how users experience them as well.
Because our clients have a great appreciation for their customers and strive to provide them with better services and products, we ask them a simple question, what are your users’ needs and objectives? This question generates a spark of excitement and helps crystalize the priorities of the project right from the start. These goals and objectives become the motivation behind the decisions we make in strategy, design, and development. That is why we consider user research and testing as the bedrock of our design decisions.
How much your agency cares about your users’ needs, will ultimately determine the success or failure of your product. At Dwaiter, we focus on your user's needs always and all else will follow.