Case study: Balkan Hidraulik

Or: How Much Involvement in the Client's Industry is Enough (or Too Much)?

Alright, so here's the deal – when you're crafting a website for someone, knowing a bit about their industry is like the secret sauce. It's not just for making things look pretty (that's UX/UI for you), but also for talking the talk and giving killer advice when your client needs it. Now, the burning question: how deep should you go into the client's world when you're building their website?

Let's be clear – we're talking web design here, not the nitty-gritty development stuff, which is a whole different ball game.

Picture this: We once had a client dealing with heavy construction machine parts. Easy, right? Wrong. When it came to figuring out what goes where on their homepage, we were drawing blanks. So, we went on a deep-dive mission. Checked out CAT, Volvo, SANY, XCMG – we practically stalked their websites looking for a magic formula. Spoiler alert: there wasn't one.

Now, faced with a tough choice: do we become industry masters or roll the dice with something unique? We went for a mix. Some parts of the design had rough edges, giving off a vibe like, "We're tough and strong."

How much did we really know about heavy-duty machine parts? Enough to not get lost in the weeds and sacrifice time we could spend on other cool projects, but also enough to tell our hydraulic springs from our lifters. There's something oddly satisfying about learning the ropes of something you knew zilch about. It gave us that cool, calm feeling when we wrapped up the project.

And guess what? The client noticed.

We didn't brag about our crash course in heavy machinery lingo, but the client's first reaction to the homepage draft was, "Have you worked in the industry?" Boom! That right there told us we nailed it. Another successful mission under our belt, and now it's time for a well-deserved beer. Cheers to rocking the web design world!

Case study: Neurokard

Or: Sometimes, simplicity is the key.

Every business should have a website, and that's a fact. Additionally, considering there is a website for every 8th person in the world, it's hard to be innovative.

But do we always have to be innovative? Perhaps, sometimes we just need to present the right information, list our services, and include several pictures and a contact section. At the end of the day, no one will care about fancy animations if we don't convey our business with the right information.

So, should we make websites without CSS?

Absolutely not. The point is that it's entirely fine to have a website that's simple, clear, and done on a tight schedule. Neurokard was one of these websites. The client called us and wanted to have a website done ASAP, which we are very accustomed to. We began to explain to him how it is important to respect the website creation procedure.

However, he told us to stop. He doesn't want any of that. He just wants to have a clean-looking ID-type website that gives him a basic presence on the internet. And he needs it fast. So, we skipped a few steps in the design process and listened to his inputs, which gave us the result done in just three days. He was happy, we were happy. What's there not to be happy about when everyone got what they wanted?

In the end, that was the reason we left Neurokard on our portfolio. To show that it's okay to have a simple website and that we're proud of every single project, no matter how small it is.

Case Study: Rock music video production

Or: Pushing the boundaries of budget video production

Serbian rock musician with a long CV, Bob Vidaković, reached out to us for a chat about a new music video. And we were delighted about that! Needless to say, every creative studio (with video production in their portfolio) wants to create music videos.

Bob wanted to have the video done in a quarry, with a CAT machine and a bunch of extras on the set working manually. However, when we discussed the budget, it became clear that it couldn't be done with the money he allocated for this project.

So, what's the solution?

To improvise! It is said that during the long course of evolution, the most adaptable had the most chances to survive, not the strongest ones (jellyfish or "meduza" in Serbian are immortal because of that). So, we sat down and thought. What was our biggest asset in this video? The location itself! And on top of that, we had a giant CAT machine on-site.

But, we needed it to work.

We called the owner of a querry (who happened to be a very cool guy) near city of Arilje and asked him a very unusual question: "Do you want to act in the music video?". He told us that we're crazy. After that, we told him that his role would be to operate the CAT and look cool, so he couldn't say no. The game was on!

But wait, that's it? Guy operating a CAT and band playing, really?

Of course not! We are very experienced in storytelling, so we created a cool backstory. The cool guy comes to his quarry and finds a cassette tape player on the seat of the CAT machine. He puts it on and starts to play. As the music starts, members of the band appear in various places in the quarry, playing the music he listens to. And that was not all.

To top it all off, we placed a drummer with a full set on top of the CAT machine, taped him and the set so it wouldn't fall down during movement, and shot it with the drone! He presented the cool and fearless nature of the guy operating the CAT, and at the same time, it was the most interesting shot in the music video. The rest of the band was in various locations playing their instruments, and the setup was perfect.

Oh, we haven't mentioned the time restrictions. We had just half of the day to do it, so we woke up at 5 and started shooting by 6:15 AM. Shooting was done by 4 PM, so we packed our gear and went to eat a well-earned "Kompletara," a specialty in that part of Serbia. It was a successful day.

What's the moral of the story? Don't limit yourself or your client with things that he/she is not able to afford at the current moment. Adapt. Improvise. Go beyond the obvious. After all, that project is your baby also. You gave it a life, and it's something you should be proud of.

The amazing final product can be found here.

Case study - Novi Dorćol

Or: Maintaining websites doesn't have to be boring

Novi Dorćol is a fancy new block in the center of our beautiful Belgrade, and they wanted us to maintain their website. Of course we accepted! After the initial talks and agreements on what should we do and how often, we started with the work and discovered one thing: it's pretty straight-forward. Do we like straight-forward? Sometimes - yes. In this case - not so much. Why? Because we knew there is potential for something more.

What can be exciting in maintaining websites, for god's sake?

Everything! For example, you have to add new blog post with several images and few CTA. Why don't you make a responsive slider out of images, with headlines over them? Or, CTAs can be so much more than a link. They can be blinking piece of text which can't be missed. Now, tell me that's not exciting!

Maps can be fun too. Instead of having all the stores and commercial spaces listed in one boring, black and white list with the names we decided to make a map with their logos. Now, people will have no hard time navigating long hallways looking for the store 27B.

But, be careful.

It is important to know your boundaries. So we didn't went too far and changed the UX of the website because we're bored with some simple maintenance. No, we kept it interesting but still did a lot of backups and other manual tasks that had to be done. At the end, someone else did the website and it would be not fair to mess that work. We are here to help and make it perfectly safe, with a few helpful tweaks, and that's it.

Turning Annoying Clients into BFFs: A Success Story

Let's face it, we've all had that one client who just can't stop calling, right? You know, the type who takes your polite "anytime, day or night" offer way too seriously, and suddenly your phone's buzzing 24/7 with questions unrelated to the project. Total burnout alert!

Well, it depends on what you want from the relationship. If you're just building a website, cool. But what if it's the start of a journey that could have them shouting your name from the rooftops to all their friends? Something to think about.

Take this one client, a tech-phobic lady wanting a website for her non-profit. Before we even kicked off, she bombarded us with questions out of pure fear – like, "What if I get the wrong hosting?" and "Who's gonna swipe my domain?" Cute at first, but it got old quick. We braced ourselves for a rocky development ride with tons of revisions and last-minute changes.

But, something in us said, "Let's stick with her." We answered every call, patiently explained how to reset a lost password, and magically, she started calling less. Questions became more about the project, and after a few days, just once a day to check on design stuff.

Within a week, she went from tech-fearful to part of the gang! We laughed on calls, chatted about cool global stuff, and her caller ID wasn't annoying anymore. Plus, she became our unofficial hype woman, telling everyone about us. Not bad for a week's work, huh?

When we finally wrapped up her website, she said it was awesome to have such a great relationship with a business. And you know what? I couldn't agree more.

Moral of the story? Patience is key. Give it a week or two, see if the annoying client turns into a buddy. If they do, you've hit the jackpot. If not, no biggie. You've learned something for the future. Remember, websites aren't just websites; they're the result of a (hopefully good) relationship with the client. And trust me, people can see that.

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