"Little things, done right, matter. Well-designed moments build brands."

- Renny Gleeson

FAQ

When talking to prospective clients a lot of the same questions tend to come up over and over again. Below are the answers to many of the most common questions we get. If you have a question you want answered, let us know.

How long has the Brick Factory been around?

We celebrated our first birthday on October 1, 2012, so we’re still relatively new.   However the team behind the Brick Factory worked together for many years at The Bivings Group, which was one of DC’s first digital agencies.

Your project will not be our first rodeo.

Where are you located?  How large is your team? 

We are based in the DuPont Circle area of Washington, DC and have twenty employees.  Around half of our team works out of our DC office while the other half telecommutes from around the world.  We have employees working from Montana to West Virginia to Singapore.  Despite our relatively small size, the sun never sets on the Brick Factory. 

Do you do all your work in house?

Yes.  We have in house designers, developers and strategists that perform all our project work.  We don’t subcontract our design and development work to other firms.  So when you hire us, you are actually hiring us.

When a client needs something we can’t provide, we will occasionally bring in a partner to fill the gap.  If this happens we will be completely transparent and make sure you always have a clear understanding of who is doing what.

What technologies or software packages do you specialize in?

We believe in open source software and are active members of the open source community.   From a technology perspective, we specialize in the LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) stack. 

Drupal or WordPress power most of the work we do.  We have experience working with a variety of mass email, fundraising and CRM solutions, and have built rich integrations with social platforms such as  Facebook, Twitter and Ning.

Do you do custom development work?

Our philosophy is to utilize existing technology whenever possible, and to perform custom builds only when absolutely necessary.  Why waste resources on problems others have already solved?

But we get really excited when presented with unique challenges that require custom solutions.  Our love of solving hard problems has lead us to create our own media monitoring system and online training platform. Some of the most rewarding work we have done has been custom development work.

Do you do mobile development?

Yes.  Most of our experience in mobile has involved creating custom mobile interfaces for the sites we manage.  We have a lot of experience with responsive design.  In addition, our team has built a few iPhone applications and we’re looking to expand our capabilities in that area.

What is your process for developing websites and online applications?

We have a pretty long, detailed explanation of our process that we include in most of our proposals.  We won’t bore you with that here.  Following is the Cliffs notes vesion highlighting our four main development steps:

  1. Discovery and Planning.  We work to understand your needs thoroughly and to figure out how we are going to solve your particular problem.  This phase typically involves creating a site map, wireframes and a technical plan explaining how we will tackle the work.
  2. Design and Prototype.  After we’ve made a plan, we’ll typically build out an unstyled prototype of the project while simultaneously working on the site and user interface design.  This approach allows us to take care of a bunch of technical details while we’re still working on the details of the design.
  3. Styling. Once the design is approved, we implement the look and feel on our prototype.  Out of respect for your time, we do a ton of internal testing prior to turning the site over to clients for review.
  4. Review and Quality Control.  At this point in the process the project is turned over to the client for testing and review.  Our Brick Factory team performs an intense quality assurance review.  Once the client gives us the green light we launch the website or online application. 

What is your web design philosophy?

There is a Steve Jobs quote about design that we love:

“Some people think design means how it looks.  But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”

For us web design is about usability.  It is about getting users as quickly as possible to the content they are looking for.  We strive to create designs that are beautiful and usable. 

How do you manage projects after the initial website launch?  What sort of ongoing services do you provide after you complete a project?

We strive to be long term partners with our clients, and to build sustainable programs instead of just websites.  While it is not a requirement, our preference is to remain involved in the program after the initial launch.  If we build something for you we are invested and want to see you thrive.

During the Discovery and Planning phase of our development process we work with the client to create a list of overall goals and metrics for the program.  After the program launch, we produce monthly reports assessing our successes and failures in reaching these metrics.  This approach forces us to look at all site decisions in the prism of our overall goals for the program.  It is amazing how many people forget about this part.

Typical ongoing services we provide to clients include strategy, design and development, email marketing, Search Engine Optimization and online fundraising.  Our What We Do page covers this ground in detail.

What would you say separates you from your competitors?

The DC-area is blessed with a bunch of talented digital agencies that do great work.  There are a lot of good choices.  So choosing a digital partner is as much about shared philosophies and cultures as it is about qualifications.   The best way to assess whether we are a good fit for your organization is to have a conversation, so please don’t hesitate to reach out

With that caveat, here are the things that make us different:

  1. We are blessed with a talented staff that have repeatedly shown the ability to solve hard problems.  When we hit a wall, we usually find a way to go around it, over it or through it.   We get things done.
  2. We try to be strategic and thoughtful in everything we do.  We don’t believe in doing things for the sake of doing them.  We believe in doing things because they will help our clients meet their organizational goals.  Results matter a great deal to us.
  3. We pride ourselves on being easy to work with and meeting our obligations.  We end up spending a ton of time with our clients, so we strive to make it time well spent.

What types of organizations do you work with?

We’re based in DC, so a lot of our work is with nonprofits and advocacy groups in the public affairs space.  However, we don’t limit ourselves to that space and love new challenges.  So don’t be shy about reaching out if you want to run something by us.