Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
I don’t have metrics in a classic way. It’s not like they generated $50,000 of value immediately. It was a design effort, and we didn’t have those skills in-house. We had no designers on staff, so to go find and hire that skill would have taken us months, and we would have one person full time, which wasn’t quite right for us. They were able to get us going very quickly with expert resources in a way that we had no capacity to execute on, so it made sense. They got our app platform development off the ground in a few months, which would have cost us much more than their price tag to do ourselves.
The app is very strong. We’ve taken it out to quite a few folks, and everyone always loves to pick apart something in an app. Fundamentally, our app got great feedback. I’d say the design had very strong feedback, which is what we really wanted. The design-to-engineering handoff is always a tricky issue. You want to make sure the designers aren’t designing something that’s hard to build or not spec’d out enough to build. ArcTouch put it into a bunch of tools for us. They set it up so that every single button, the number of pixels, the color hue, and all the details were clearly laid out in a very easy-to-follow manner. Our engineers could just come in and build with minimal questions.
How did ArcTouch perform from a project management standpoint?
They’re very solid. We kept having choices to make around which direction the design would take, and they offered suggestions to keep things simple and get us back on track. They had to do that two or three times, and I greatly appreciated it every time. Sometimes, when you’re too close to things, it’s hard to back up and see the big picture.
We mostly communicated by email, and that worked fine. I don’t remember any project management platform.
They were rock-solid with meeting deadlines and sticking to the budget. I had no problems with that whatsoever. They were completely professional. They advised us when we were making a decision that would push a deadline, and they were always on budget. From my perspective, having done a few of these before, they certainly weren’t the cheapest. If I were to apply a car brand comparison, they’re probably like a BMW 5 Series. They’re certainly higher-end, but they also delivered on that value promise. They were timely, professional, and thought-provoking and they delivered a high-quality product.
What did you find most impressive about ArcTouch?
The two folks we interacted with most, Anthony and Whitney, were just really strong resources. If we had gone down the path of trying to hire people, I would have hoped to hire someone like them. They are professional, smart, good communicators, and also very good at actual user experience design.
Are there any areas ArcTouch could improve?
The client always wants things cheaper, faster, and easier, but we were trying to do something hard and I think they helped us get there. I don’t have any substantive, real improvements. If I gave you something, it would just be me nit-picking some obtuse detail that’s just not fair. It’s trivial stuff in the concept of the big picture.
They have the typical model, with a business development team. If there was a project scope extension, someone else would come in and manage that so the people doing the work aren’t involved with the budget stuff. It’s always a small annoyance as a client, but all outsourced vendors have to follow that model. You don’t want the designer involved with the billing stuff. It’s really just the general thing you get when you use a vendor like them, not a comment on them specifically.