Mobile-First Design and Strategy

Hi, we’re ESPRESSO, a top rated digital design firm specializing in mobile-first web design. We partner with startups and companies, small and large, across the street and around the world.

We thrive on unique, challenging and innovative projects which enhance the mobile-first user experience through design, creativity, and technology. Our passion is to eliminate outdated web design one pixel at a time and making the Internet a better place for all.

We provide a full range of services, including digital marketing, brand strategy, content creation, web design and development, mobile app design, search engine optimization (SEO), organic social media strategies, and performance tracking and analytics.

Our passion lies in providing businesses of all types and sizes with the best possible online presence that wil attract more visitors, engage them, and convert them into consumers of your product or service.

We’ve helped dozens of clients develop and execute digital marketing campaigns that drive targeted traffic to their sites – increasing online revenue and reinforcing our client’s brands. And we use best practices SEO techniques and organic social media strategies to ensure our clients achieve long-term benefits rather than short-term gains.

 
$1,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2004
Show all +
Seattle, WA
headquarters
  • ESPRESSO Digital
    114 1/2 First Ave S, Suite 5
    Seattle, WA 98104
    United States
    206.264.2438

Portfolio

Key clients: 

We work with small and large brands in Seattle and across the globe. Our clients include Union Bank, Best Western Hotels, Seattle Children's Hospital, the Downtown Seattle Association, Sushi Kashiba, as well as small businesses and non-profits.

Multilingual WordPress Website

When this nonprofit organization from Oakland, CA, first contacted us they had a domain, and a vision. Now they wanted to combine the two into a multilingual WordPress website to raise awareness and donations for their cause. So far, so good! However, Amoveo Mundi had much less comprehension of the complexities that are part of a multilingual WordPress website project. We knew we had our work cut out for us.

The first steps in building this multilingual WordPress website involved helping the client figure out what kind of content they needed to tell their story, and how that content should be structured on their website.

The next phase focused on the design of the new multilingual WordPress website. Amoveo Mundi intended their new multilingual WordPress website to connect them to a global audience. Therefore it was essential to keep the overall design bold and minimal while encouraging visitors to explore content through interactive elements.

The final phase...

Japanese Restaurant WordPress Website

This project was a bit different, even for us. First of all, this was the third Japanese restaurant WordPress website we designed for the same client. Actually, this project came about when the owners of two adjoining restaurants decided to join forces and become a single Japanese restaurant. But instead of cobbling the two existing websites together we decided to design and build a brand new Japanese restaurant WordPress website.

The first step to build any Japanese restaurant WordPress website is to take lots of images. Lucky for the client we are not only experienced food photographers; we are accomplished foodies as well! And for some reason this location photography project was very popular with our team. Every time we went to photograph lunch or dinner menu items for this Japanese restaurant WordPress website we got to eat them as well.

The next phase focused on the design of the new online presence. The client did not require any custom functionality at this...

Greg Anderson Painting - Painting Contractor Website

When Greg Anderson Painting first reached out to us they were not in a good place and badly needed a painting contractor WordPress website re-design. Their existing website was on a hosted solution, which cost the company significant money without providing any measurable results. The site contained content that was not approved by the client, was not optimized for SEO, and generally failed to meet the client’s expectations.

The first steps to build a new painting contractor WordPress website involved helping the client structure their content and images to better present their professional services. The client had plenty of high-quality images, but needed some guidance to create the required text content to go along with them. Our team helped them re-organize their content make it easier for visitors to find by creating a separate services menu.

The next phase focused on the design of the new online presence. The client was very focused on an extremely minimal look...

The Bakeree - Cannabis Retail Store Website

Building a cannabis retail store WordPress website can be a little different, especially if there is no store yet! This was the case when The Bakeree first contacted us to build their new website. At the time the store was under construction, so there were no images, no products, and not much else. So our team started by helping the client secure a domain and establish branded email for their team.

As a first step we helped the client understand what kind of content would best connect them to their intended audience, and how to go about creating that. While the client started on that part our team began the process of building a cannabis retail store WordPress website from the ground up. Starting with a mobile-first framework we laid out the color scheme and navigation and roughed in some basic content containers for text and images.

By that time the physical location was ready to be photographed, and our creative team met with the client several times to help them...

Portfolio Communications - IT Infrastructure Broker Website

When Portfolio Communications first contacted us they had an outdated looking website that did little to demonstrate the level of service and experience this IT infrastructure broker can provide. Not sure how to make things better on their own the client decided to approach our team for an initial consultation, and we went from there.

The first steps involved creating a new content strategy for the client. Based on this our content team evaluated the existing web content and made recommendations for creating new content as well as editing existing content to better align the content with the firms service offerings. Our team created approximately two-thirds new content together with the client. We also proofed and edited existing content to provide a consistent voice.

The next phase focused on the design of the new online presence. Initially we provided the client with different layout and design options. Once Portfolio Communications narrowed down the selection our...

Coach Seattle - Business Consultant Website

The client did have an existing brand, logo, and color scheme as well as branded content in the form of infographics. It was up to us to incorporate the existing brand in a bold new design that would showcase the client as experts in their field. It was especially important for this client to successfully compete against bigger brands online.

 

The client wanted a simple and bold design that was easy to navigate. We made it easy to consume basic information about the client’s services by breaking them into groups. Simple contact info in the header and footer make it easy for potential customers to convert.

 

The final steps were to simplify the e-commerce part of this website. Based on Woo Commerce, we connected it to the client’s existing payment service provider, and designed a simple mobile-friendly product page. This makes it easier for the client to upload more free or premium e-publications.

Blue Snow Montana - Custom Furniture E-Commerce Website

We were introduced to this client by a photo stylist we work with. At the time they had just hired another web design for to design a WordPress e-commerce site for them. They needed our help photographing the products for their new site. But as time passed and the new site never seemed to near completion they were getting very interested in our web design capabilities.

 

The first step was to take all the available product images, a specialty of ours. We photographed some items in our studio, and others on location in the client’s showroom. The client was also able to provide additional images of their designs, and the creation process. Combined with a bit of content guidance we had everything we needed.

 

The final steps were to complete the actual custom furniture WordPress e-commerce website. Based on Woo Commerce, we connected it to the client’s existing payment service provider, and designed mobile-friendly product pages. We also helped the client...

Talent Excellence - HR Consultant Website

We actually designed a previous version of the site for this client about four years ago, so this technically was more of a refresh. We started by evaluating the existing online presence with the client, determined what stayed and what had to go, and how much new content needed to be added. The new content also included a studio head shot session, as well as a more extended photo session at the client’s office. We also searched our own stock image archives for suitable images to use in the redesign of the site.

 

The end result is a stylish HR consultant WordPress website design. Optimized for mobile devices first this website is easy to use on any device. Information is sorted by category and easily navigated. Relevant information is grouped together for convenience. The overall design presents the client as the experienced and professional consultant she is.

 

The Gagasphere - Event Facility Website

In this project the challenges included not having an actual facility or images, and a client on the other side of the country from us. And we will be the first to admit that the first attempt at coming up with an event facility WordPress website design was not a success. We tried again.

 

We began by asking the client to provide as much detailed feedback as they possibly could what exactly did not appeal to them at our first attempt at their event facility WordPress website design. They did, and we went through their answers with them one-by-one explaining pros and cons, and planning out a course of action. This gave us a much improved base from which to try again.

 

The final version of this client’s WordPress website design is both functional and urban edgy. The animations and imagery will captivate the younger audience, while parents can easily find information, schedule events, and even sign insurance waivers right from the website.

Robert Guthrie Legacy Project Website

Over the years we have done all kinds of projects, but this was a first for us. We launched the new Robert Guthrie Legacy Project website on what would have been his 100th birthday. And we are definitely honored to be chosen to help preserve Dr. Guthrie’s legacy.

 

One of the challenges of this project was the variety and age of much of the content. Much of it was collected over 50+ years, and to be sorted and organized before being used on the new website. Luckily Dr. Bob’s daughter willingly served as an editor. We combined the pared down content with historic images to create a visual story of the life and work of Dr. Robert Guthrie.

 

Within days of launching the new Robert Guthrie Legacy Foundation website people from all over the world started leaving comments, perhaps to the surprise of the foundation administrator. And we will continue to work with them to implement more features and potentially expand the Robert Guthrie Legacy Project website.

Harris Harvey Gallery - Art Gallery Website

We have to admit we were honored to be asked by eminent Seattle art gallery owner Lisa Harris to design her new website. Even more so when we found out that Lisa Harris Gallery had the first art gallery website in Seattle way back in 2000! So we knew we had to step up to the plate and bring the gallery’s online presence into the mobile age. This was especially critical as the gallery was moving to a new location and becoming the Harris Harvey Gallery.

 

The basic website is fairly simple, a few pages describing the gallery history, staff, and location. The real challenge lay in delivering a mobile-friendly way to browse artists and galleries. We chose a simple grid approach that can be modified depending on the number of pieces. All collections open as individual slide shows that look and work great across all mobile devices.

Mike Daugherty Music - Musician and Bandleader Website

When Seattle drummer and bandleader Mike Daugherty first contacted us he was promoting his gigs through Facebook and word-of-mouth only. Seeing that he is a well know musician he was looking for a better alternative, and even considered trying to build his own site. Since he is much better with snares and cymbals than code and browsers he decided to seek professional help to build his new site.

 

He had a vision for his new musicians website, but no idea to make it a reality. That’s where we came in. We came up with a “hip” design that reflected his unique style. He had some fabulous images, which gave us the perfect idea for his design.

 

We decided to keep it simple and build a one-page Parallax musicians website for him. A short biography, a few testimonials, a discography, a scheduling calendar and simple contact form was the start. Eventually we plan to add some sound tracks and videos of his shows as they come available. For now Mike is very happy....

CDO Analytics - Research Institute Website

CDO Analytics is the data science division of Seattle Children’s Research Institute. But while they use the latest methods and technology their existing online presence was pretty dry and musty, and devoid of any human element. It was also awkward to update, not mobile-friendly, and overall confusing to the intended audience. So a major makeover was definitely needed. Only one small additional detail had to be considered; the new online presence had to be ready for a major conference less than 4 weeks away!

 

We started with a quick brand refresh, moving away from the somewhat Halloweenish color scheme to something more reflective of the parent brand. At the same time we developed an entirely new content strategy as well as totally new or significantly edited content, including all new photographs. The new content was then structured to be easily navigated on a variety of mobile devices. The entire package was elegantly wrapped in a bold and elegant design based on the...

Manu's Bodega - One-Page Restaurant Website

Manu's Bodega was already in business for over a year when the owner contacted us regarding a new website. He recently changed the name of his Latin themed restaurant, added a new patio, and extended his hours. He had an existing website, but was not overly happy with it. The owner wanted to add new functionality, including the ability to order and pay for take-out ahead of time and live cams showing the order line and patio. And the new site had to be especially mobile-friendly as well to attract the busy lunch crowd.

We started by taking lots of images of the signature menu items as well as the location. Several live events provided us with some great visual material. We used the resulting images in the design of a responsive one-page restaurant website based on WordPress for maximum compatibility with third-party functionality. The one page design makes it easy for mobile visitors to quickly scan the content for the specific information they are looking for. Colors and...

Sushi Kashiba - Japanese Sushi Restaurant Website

Sushi Kashiba is the combined effort of 5 top sushi chefs in Seattle. Even the rumor of the restaurant opening in Seattle's Pike Place Market create a buzz. To create the online presence of Seattle's new premier sushi restaurant we had to go well beyond ordinary. From initial brand consulting to location and food photography to the design of a simple and elegant website we worked with their team to create something special. And we must have succeeded: Shiro-San himself described our work as "transcending the traditional sushi experience." Mission accomplished!

First Underwriters - Insurance Broker Website

When this client first contacted us they did have a website, but they did not know what to do with it. This was a big problem as Google considered them to be a spamming site. We helped them get a better online presence by creating an effective content strategy, working with them through content creation and image selection, and building a responsive small business website that provides them with an effective online presence to market their brokerage.

Izakaya Maekawa - Japanese Restaurant Website

Izakaya Maekawa is a traditional Japanese Izakaya restaurant. Since it appeals to both local residents and Japanese visitors alike the owner was excited that we were able to create a bi-lingual website. We also provided them with brand development and food photography services to create their new website.

Fort St. George - Restaurant Website

When the owner of Fort St. George Restaurant wanted to update their various menus they asked our team for help. After we discovered that they did not have a restaurant website we recommended creating both a printed and online version of their various food, drink, and appetizer menus. We started by having a photographer in the restaurant for a few days to photograph all the menu and drink items.

Combining the resulting images of their specialty items with a modern design resulted in colorful, washable menus printed on recyclable vinyl as well as a user friendly and informative restaurant website that provides all necessary info in a user friendly way. The excited owner even told us that the sale of some menu items have increased since our team worked with them.

 

Plum Design Fabrication - Manufacturing E-Commerce Site

Plum Design and Fabrication first contacted us after reading one of our blog posts, and realizing that they may not be doing things quite right. Their existing online presence was bare bones at best. The first time our team saw their website we had to call and ask what they did! Obviously that left room for some improvement, and the need for a more engaging manufacturing e-commerce website.

We began by photographing all of the products the client wanted to feature. Smaller pieces were photographed in our in-house studio. For heavier pieces such as custom furniture our photo team went to the client's manufacturing plant; this also enabled them to photograph key elements of the facility.

Next came the content strategy and creation part. Our content strategists interviewed the client to determine the most effective content strategy and information architecture. We used this info to create all new content and added organic keywords to be used in the SEO campaign.

...

Ecco Architecture + Design - Architecture Firm Website

We had been talking to the principals at Ecco Architecture and Design for some time about creating their new architecture and design firm website, but neither side was in a big rush. Ecco had a great looking website already, and it was not until the firm bought an iPad Air that a more engaging mobile presence became more urgent.

Our team was tasked to create a simple, bold, and effective presence for the firm, regardless of the users mobile or desktop device. Ecco would provide us with project and background content based on the recommendations of our content strategy team. Lucky for us the firm had a large archive of professional project images, which really helped showcase their beautiful work!

The resulting architecture and design firm website meets the firms overall style and mission, reflects the nature of the individual partners and architects, and helps the client understand the firm's work and process. Additional content relating to specific areas of the...

Perfect Formula - Health & Beauty E-Commerce Site

When the CEO of Perfect Formulas contacted us they had an outdated web presence that no longer matched their brand identity and focus and did not reflect the style of this nationally recognized brand. With a new product line coming out and a planned expansion into new markets we had to act fast.

The first step was to match their existing brand image to their website. Our team built on the client's existing logo and color palette and came up with a bold modern look that works well across all mobile devices.

Next came the content strategy and creation part. Our content strategists interviewed the client to determine the most effective content strategy and information architecture. We used this info to create all new content and added organic keywords to be used in the SEO campaign. And our digital post production department prepped all client provided images to look their best.

The final phase was the design of a user-friendly responsive health and beauty e-...

Leda Business Consulting - Business Consultant Website

The CEO of Leda Business Consulting contacted us after another client referred her to us. By that time Sheryl had already spent time and money with another agency without getting the results she needed. When she learned about our process for creating engaging and highly visible brands and websites she hired us on the spot!

Since there was a lot of work to be done we divided it into separate phases to keep the project more manageable for the client. Phase one involved the creation of a new brand identity, logo, and business cards.

Next came the content strategy and creation part. We photographed Sheryl and her clients interacting in a variety of professional settings and used these images to illustrate her services. At the same time we created all new content and added organic keywords to be used in the SEO campaign.

The final phase was the design of a user-friendly responsive business consultant website that looks and works great on all devices and is easy...

Resound Energy LLC - Small Business Website

When their existing website no longer met their needs Resound Energy contacted our agency. We worked with their marketing team to design and develop a small business website that was bold and dynamic and reflected the client’s extensive experience and professional reputation as an energy consultant.

This CMS based website can easily be expanded as the client and their services grow and need to reach new markets. In the meantime this efficient website and CRM system can easily be maintained and updated by the client, therefore saving them time and money.

Pacha Youth Foundation - Non-Profit Website

When we first met this non-profit client bribed us with cupcakes! But that was not the (only) reason that our team decided to donate our services to Pacha Youth Foundation and create an online presence that showcases their efforts to help children in Asia and Latin America achieve their educational goals. This young non-profit was focused on their mission and only too happy to leave the design of their non-profit website to us.

Members of our team are active in a number of non-profit organizations, including serving on their board of directors, and we have a good understanding of what non-profits need. By bringing that experience to this project enabled us to develop a user friendly engaging website to support their efforts. Please visit their site and support them as well!

Kemly Electric Inc. 0 Electrical Contractor Website

When Seattle electrical contractor Kemly Electric Inc. needed help getting found by search engines they contacted us. Our experts worked with their team to design and develop a new responsive WordPress website, create engaging content and take images that reflect the firms culture and commitment to excellence, and provided them with on-site and on-page SEO and website optimization services.

As a result they are now very visible online, and their customers love the new, easy to use web interface. And the phone keeps ringing!

Irvine & Company - Professional Services Website

When Portland based Irvine & Company decided that after more than 20 years in business they really needed a website they contacted us. Our team worked with them to define and create the visual and content strategy and designed a responsive WordPress website that presents a professional, yet personable, image of the firm to potential new clients and team members.

We provided the client with content strategy and editing services in order to create the most engaging content. By including SEO services including on-page and on-site optimization we further added value their internet marketing campaign.

Jeremy Miller Architects - Architect Website

When Jeremy Miller contacted us he was a very well known architect with 30+ years of experience. What he did not have was a website, and that made it difficult for potential clients to see his work. Jeremy was interested in discussing how an architect website would benefit his firm, and we were happy to help!

To reflect his design style Jeremy wanted to focus on big bold images instead of a lot of text. Our team started by helping him organize his portfolio, including the digital capture of dozens of printed images, newspaper articles, etc. We also added new images from more recent projects.

The final phase involved designing a one-page parallax website that is easy to navigate and very mobile friendly. As Jeremy wanted his beautiful designs now have a fitting online showcase.

Bicycles for Humanity Seattle - Non-Profit Website

When the Seattle chapter of Bicycles for Humanity first contacted us they had a TypePad website, which was difficult to update, and definitely not engaging. Our team created a non-profit organization website based on WordPress, which makes it much easier for them to maintain themselves. By using lots of images and videos we connect the volunteers and donors in the PNW to the happy recipients of the bicycles in South Africa. And this mobile friendly responsive non-profit organization website provides a great mobile experience as well.

In phase two of this project we plan to add a blog and connect additional social profiles to increase organic reach and engagement. At that time we will also develop an effective editorial calendar that is easy for the client to follow and implement. Our team will work with Bicycles for Humanity Seattle as needed to ensure continued engagement with existing and potential supporters of this worthwhile cause. We hope that you will support them as...

Summerfield Services - Responsive Business Website

Summerfield Services first contacted our team because they needed a new website for their construction business. Over the years the company expanded, and soon their main company site was no longer suffiecient. Instead of a simple upgrade we had a better solution.

To simplify navigation between different services we designed a responsive business website based on the same overall brand strategy for each of the firms five divisions. Then we added specific functionality, including searchable real estate listings and secure maintenance request forms to each site as required.

All six of their new responsive business websites are based on the WordPress platform, giving the client easy of maintenance and high performance. We host their websites and our team monitors them for performance and security issues as well as future upgrades.

Surfin' Seafood - Mobile E-Commerce Site

When the owners of Surfin’ Seafood contacted us they had just purchased an existing business. They wanted a fresh new look, better product images, and a more functional mobile e-commerce website. To make this entire project more manageable we broke it up into separate phases.

Phase one involved the creation of a new brand identity and logo, including wrapping their delivery van.

Next came the photography part. We photographed the entire available product line frozen, then used them for actual recipe images as well. (We did mention we are foodies, right?) At the same time we created new and edited existing content and added organic keywords.

The final phase was the design of a responsive mobile e-commerce website that looks and works great on all devices and is easy to update for the client.At the client’s request we added custom order tracking, payment processing, and shipping option configurations.

Reviews

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Web Redesign for IT Sourcing & Consulting Company

“Our new website provides the credibility that we need.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Dec. 2016 - Mar. 2017
Project summary: 

Espresso Digital revamped an infrastructure broker's brand with a new WordPress website and updated copy. They also took pictures for the website and will soon engage in minor SEO work.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Seattle, Washington
Mark Spagnola
President, Portfolio Communications
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The updated website provides enhanced recognition which helps to earn the business of larger companies. Espresso Digital’s work increases credibility and better demonstrates a broader range of capabilities. They exceeded expectations with expertise and enthusiasm at a fair price.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Portfolio Communications is an infrastructure broker located in Seattle, Washington. We specialize in helping medium-size, nationwide businesses with their telecommunications infrastructure by sourcing bids from multiple carriers for multiple technologies for them. Examples would be a network to connect all of their locations and Internet and dial tone and co-location facilities and hosting and so on. We’ve been in business for about 11 years and we have approximately 10 full-time staff.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Espresso Digital?

We needed to more effectively articulate what our value proposition was to a potential client. We needed to provide evidence of our work to substantiate our credibility with our existing client engagements. We had not been able to do a good enough job of that previously. Technology changes so fast and our website didn’t have enough of the additional newer technologies featured on there that we had used to help solve client issues. Those are the main three reasons we sought out an agency. One of the differentiators was trying to find somebody who could write technology business centric content as opposed to just doing a website, someone who could actually help us with crafting the content.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The scope included crafting entirely new website content, a new website that was mobility centric and then continuing to provide ongoing hosting, management, and update services to the website. They used HTML5 and the CMS platform was WordPress. I like the fact that with WordPress, we can go in and edit content. I like the ease of uploading a new employee or new case studies. I also like the flexibility of the site to render correctly on a mobile platform whether it’s a cell phone or a tablet.

Espresso Digital hired a third-party person that specializes in copywriting. She provided a form in which she asked us questions, not so much about technology specifically, but about what we were trying to convey and how we are different. She provided the content and environment to ask us questions that led to the outline of the site and some of the content that we weren’t able to come up with on our own.

Espresso Digital also brought in a photographer who advocated that instead of paying for stock photography that might be found on other websites, they could do a fair amount of photography and use that on our website and make it more personal. They took photos of our staff and our office for the site. That worked out pretty well.

We are going to be engaging on an initiative for SEO as well. On a scale of 1–10, 10 being crazy SEO, this is going to be like a four, pretty basic, just enough to get us in a reasonable spot. We’re going to start that next week.

How did you come to work with Espresso Digital?

We found Espresso Digital online. We interviewed approximately seven companies. We narrowed it down to three, and then to two. It was their enthusiasm, their previous work, their willingness to provide the content person, the fact that they had a copywriter available, and their ability to get started quickly that led us to choose Espresso Digital. Pricing was fair and compelling; they weren’t the most expensive or the least. It was about who could fulfill our needs.

How much have you invested with Espresso Digital?

We have invested $7,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from December 2016 until March 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We’ve become better known for going after more complex technologies and working with bigger and bigger companies over the years. The website did not convey that. This allowed us to more accurately represent what we do currently, how we do it, and why we’re a worthy consideration from some of these larger companies. It allowed our sales staff to feel more confident because the website has so much more credibility. We don’t expect many people to search us out on the web to get our services, although that’s great when it happens. Our new website provides the credibility that we need.

How did Espresso Digital perform from a project management standpoint?

They did a good job. It was clear and consistent. No issues.

What did you find most impressive about Espresso Digital?

Greg, [Owner, Espresso Digital] who I would define as the front man for the company, was most impressive. His enthusiasm and willingness to jump in is a big differentiator. His affinity for working on websites and trying to do a good job for a good price is genuine. He’s not just the sales guy trying to pitch you. I appreciated that. As an owner of a company, dealing with the owner of the company is something I prefer. His understanding of the need for mobility first was another differentiator. Everybody claims that they’ll do that. It’s almost a given, but he differentiated it himself compared to the other companies. He explained why it was more and more relevant now. Lastly, he has a very acute understanding of Google Analytics and how they assess the site relative to SEO. That was a big differentiator as well.

Are there any areas Espresso Digital could improve?

In the past, the methodologies of creating a website outline included what I learned as wireframing. Espresso Digital advocated not doing that and rather just creating content in Word and using that as the file to refine and evolve between the content person, them, and us. That helps to start things off with, but at some point, we told them that we needed an outline because I didn’t understand where all the individual content was supposed to go. That allowed us to work more efficiently. Once we had that, I understood what it was supposed to look like on the site. That’s a very different look and feel than just having it on a Word doc.

5.0
Overall Score There wasn’t really anything I disliked. It was good.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    There weren’t any issues of theirs for missing anything. It was all mine.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

WordPress site for Local Painting Company

"They know what they’re doing and they want to make sure that they are performing well."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
May - July 2017
Project summary: 

Espresso Digital designed a WordPress site after a previous company fell short of expectations. They provided SEO services and now continue to host the site.  

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Kent, Washington
Erin Anderson
Marketing Director, Greg Anderson Painting
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Espresso Digital was always on top of their game, providing timely communication and invoicing. They were readily available to meet in person and shared constant updates of the work being produced. As a result, there was a clear uptick in traffic of unique, organic visitors to the site.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I work with Greg Anderson Painting. We are a local Seattle painting and drywall company. We do both residential and commercial jobs. We also do insurance work and private retail work in the greater Seattle, King County area. Primarily I do marketing and communications, but I also do HR.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Espresso Digital?

We had worked with another company in the past. They said that they would do full-scale marketing through social media and our website, but they were falling short of their claims and definitely weren't worth the amount of money we were paying them. We wanted to solely have someone help redo our website to improve our online presence.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

I initially sent them an email and they called me right away. They gave me a brief overview of what they thought we should do and then we met in person and talked about the website. We then gave them an idea of what we wanted to see on the site and what we wanted for SEO. I did all the content production and provided that to them so they could edit it as they saw fit.

They provided us with a few rough drafts of the website throughout the process to make sure we liked what they were doing. Then we met one last time to go over the website in its final stages. That led us to where we are now, they have it published. The site is built on WordPress.

We decided to also have them host the website because we wanted it to be hosted locally. We are doing a trial period to see how our website does with the current content and keywords. Once we assess that, we’ll decide what we want them to do as far as SEO. They are going to train me this week to be able to do a lot of the editing on WordPress.

I met with Gregor [CEO, Espresso Digital] and his wife periodically throughout the whole process. Espresso Digital didn’t specify the full number of people that were on the team.

How did you come to work with Espresso Digital?

I spent a lot of time on Google looking at different website production. We were going back and forth between getting a whole SEO marketing team versus a just a website production team. We eventually chose to do website production because it’s our busy season right now. We didn’t really need any more SEO.

I really liked how detailed Espresso Digital’s website was and how they had different case studies online. I liked how they had a form that you could fill out to specify your exact needs rather than an open-ended, “Hey, we need your help” type of thing. They were also closest to us in Seattle. We’re in Kent, but all the other companies were way up north.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

$3,000. For them to host the website and to check once or twice a month that everything is still working and complies with Google laws, it’s $600-$800 for the year.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them May 2017 and ended in July 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We definitely noticed an uptake in traffic of unique visitors rather than paid visitors. That is what our past company did, a lot of paid advertisement to bring people to this site; whereas this one is more unique, organic visitors who are searching, “Painting in Kent, Washington,” and then they’ll come to our site.

We haven’t had any feedback necessarily, but we haven’t done a ton of promotion because we’re so busy. We actually don’t need any business. Everyone within the company is really pleased with how it looks. It’s really clean and easy to use. We have a form sent back to us to get a free estimate, and we’ve noticed a lot of real people using that as opposed to spammers, which is really good. We used to get a ton of spam.

How did Espresso Digital perform from a project management standpoint?

They did really well. I was really pleased. Gregger [Espresso Digital] was on top of his communication and email. When I emailed with a question, he’d email back as soon as possible with a pretty thorough response, which I like. You could definitely tell that they are on top of their stuff. They know what they’re doing and they want to make sure that they are performing well.

What distinguishes Espresso Digital from other providers?

Our previous team was a huge corporation. They had a call center that’s definitely not in the U.S. Whenever I’d call, it was impossible to get an answer. I would try to get invoices for what they were charging us and that never happened. What I really appreciated, individually and as a team, was Espresso Digital’s timeliness and their customer service responses. If I emailed them and said, “Hey, what is this for?” they sent me an invoice that was super detailed, but also in laymen’s terms so that I could understand. There wasn’t a ton of jargon that wouldn’t have made sense to me, which I really liked.

Is there anything Espresso Digital could have improved or done differently?

No, we had a really good experience with them. We never had any issues.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They did a really good job given the timelines that we had, which was less than a month.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We would have loved to have been below our budget, but for the product that we got, it was good. We went in with a budget of $3,000 and they met us there.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    For sure.

Web Design for Professional Coaching Firm

"Studio 5 designed and developed a brand-new website based on the user experience I wanted to have." 

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Studio 5 conducted an audit of a professional coaching website to pinpoint areas for improvement. Based on this, the team designed and implemented a new site with simpler editing features and an improved user experience. 

The Reviewer
 
2-10 Employees
 
Seattle, Washington
Hsuan-hua Chang
Owner, Coach Seattle Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The revamped site now allows easier posts and minor internal updates. Studio 5’s developers showed strong technical expertise and accommodated all feedback promptly; their grace and patience paved the way for a strong collaboration. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are a professional executive and business coaching company with a focus on leadership development.

What is your position?

I am the owner of the company. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Studio 5?

I had a website, but it was hard to make any changes on it. I don't have a technical background and wanted the freedom to make edits by myself. 

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

Studio 5 made an audit on my website at the time, which revealed that its implementation made the editing process more difficult. Studio 5 designed and developed a brand-new website based on the user experience I wanted to have.

How did you come to work with Studio 5?

I made my own search and received some recommendations.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The cost of Studio 5's work has been $2,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Studio 5 in 2015. We have an ongoing relationship for maintenance and enhancements. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I liked Studio 5's design process. We worked together closely, and the team accommodated all the feedback I gave them. We're currently working on the events page, which I'd like to simplify, making it easier for people to schedule appointments. The way it turned out was not Studio 5's fault since it was not included in my original designs. Other than that, I've been happy with Studio 5's work.

I can post on the blog and perform minor changes easily. I actually made a mistake, which led to some issues with the website, but Studio 5 fixed it for me. They are very gracious in that sense.

One of our challenges came when moving the site from Bluehost to Studio 5's own services. Their hosting technician worked directly with me and resolved the problem.

How did Studio 5 perform from a project management standpoint?

I was usually the one making decisions in terms of project management. The overall process went well.

What distinguishes Studio 5 from other providers?

Studio 5 has shown a lot of patience when working with me. We didn't always get things right on the first try, but Studio 5 made an effort to design something I really liked. I had a much more difficult time trying to get what I wanted from my previous web developer.

Is there anything Studio 5 could have improved or done differently?

Changing from Bluehost to Studio 5's servers was quite a struggle. Getting access to their technical people a little sooner would have helped. The issue probably hadn't occurred for Studio 5 before.

Do you have any recommendations for others considering working with Studio 5?

If the client needs to switch servers, they will probably have to have a greater involvement in the process. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design for Woodworking Company

"They are artists of web developing."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
July - Aug. 2016
Project summary: 

Studio 5 Innovation designed a new website for the client, whose unique woodworking company needed an online store that properly displayed the available products.

 

The Reviewer
 
2-10 Employees
 
Seattle, Washington
Owner, Blue Snow Montana
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new website has received many customer compliments. The client is pleased with Studio 5's design skills, excellent customer service, and timeliness without needing the client to check in on them constantly.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the owner of Blue Snow Montana. We are a high-end woodworking company with an online store.

 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Studio 5?

We needed a unique website designed for us. I had gone through 3 different web development companies but fired them all. It took a unique person or business to consider what I was trying to achieve as a website. The biggest challenge was getting the pictures right. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Studio 5 made an online store that’s easy to use. The pictures were taken and posted on the website elegantly. She did a wonderful job with that.

How did you come to work with Studio 5?

I had 3 different people come into my gallery, look at my stuff, and listen to what my vision was. I even went all the way to pay them half up front. Halfway through the projects, I felt that it was not what I was looking for, or even close. It was frustrating. Then I had Studio5 doing my pictures. I was just talking with Coco and she kept telling me to give them a shot. So, I did, without setting my hopes too high. They delivered very well.

How much have you invested with Studio 5?

I spent $3,000 to $7,000 on their services. I paid $3,000 upfront, but since I’ve had more ongoing work, we were able to work out a deal where she was going to add a cost to any new photos or lines of product. She included the photography, editing, copywriting, and posting on the web, without going over $7,000. I was very happy with that.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked during the month of July to August 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

I’m happy because everything was pretty good. I’ve met so many people on my website now, and I'm like, “Thank you! Studio5 built this.” It was awesome. They are artists of web developing. The biggest thing a business owner can pay for is not necessarily a perfect product, but a product backed by great customer service, and Studio 5 gave me that. I liked that.

How did Studio 5 perform from a project management standpoint?

Gregor comes down to the gallery and provides updates from time to time. It’s pretty simple, for the most part. I hate to pay someone to do a job and then have to micromanage it. They have taken the project, ran with it, made it their own and made it awesome.

What did you find most impressive about Studio 5?

 I was impressed by their timeliness.

Are there any areas Studio 5 could improve?

It’s my first experience, so I don’t have anything else to reference it to.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Studio 5?

Be very vocal about what you’re looking for when working with a really good web developer like Studio5. The best thing anybody can do to let them work their art is to communicate as clearly as possible. You need to define the objectives on their website. And no website is perfect the first time, so be patient. It’s an art.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Without a doubt. Other people charged $4,000 for just half the work.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

WordPress Development For Art Gallery

"They understand that a project needs to be tailored to a specific business."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
3.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
3.5
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Apr. - June 2016
Project summary: 

Studio 5 Innovation built a modern, mobile-friendly WordPress site for an art gallery. They designed a usable back-end and interactive platform, updated the web gallery, and handled domain registry.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Seattle, Washington
Director, Art Gallery
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Featured artists and visitors alike report that the new site is more attractive, intuitive, and accessible to everyone. Although their planning and management processes were lacking, Studio 5 Innovation successfully tailored the site to meet a very specific set of requirements and functions.

BACKGROUND

Please introduce your business and what you do there.

The company is a Seattle art gallery. I am the assistant director and was in charge of the former version of our website before Studio 5 updated it.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Studio 5 Innovation?

We wanted something that was mobile-friendly, and our old website was not. Our old website was about 10 years old and could only be modified by HTML code, which limited who in the office could make changes to the website. In addition, the interface was not very user friendly. We wanted something simpler – a simpler platform – and a platform more accessible to people who didn't have coding experience so they could make changes. We were also looking for a more updated look – better platform for our clients to browse the artwork that we had – a more enhanced visual experience.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They set up a WordPress platform for our new site. They built a new website for us on that platform. They also did some troubleshooting with some issues that we had with our domain registry and email addresses relevant to the domain. They put some new interactive features into our website, added a new page, and an updated online gallery for our artwork.

How did you come to work with Studio 5 Innovation?

I did a bit of research on Yelp. I selected several web development companies and met with them. Then we decided to work with Studio 5. We thought that they could handle what we were expecting for a price that was in our budget. They were also very local – just a short walk from our office. That increased their appeal as well.

How much have you invested with Studio 5 Innovation?

We have spent something less than $10,000 working with them.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working with Studio 5 in April [2016], and the site was launched in June. They continue to host our site, but we haven't entered into a more extensive ongoing maintenance relationship aside from that, although it has been offered.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work or the impact of the engagement?

I've had feedback from both our clients and our artists. Everyone thinks the website is much improved – that the appearance is very appealing and that it's easier to use. It's obviously an improvement over the old site. We don't have e-commerce on the site, so we don't have a built-in metric to track statistics.

How did Studio 5 Innovation perform from a project management standpoint?

We did have some issues with that. There were some problems with their communicating to us what they expected from us. They did not outline how they needed to receive content from us. Things did get a bit stressful just because we didn't always have all the information they needed when they needed it. We're satisfied with the overall results, but the process was sloppy.

What did you find most impressive about Studio 5 Innovation?

They understand that a project needs to be tailored to a specific business. No one wants an agency to develop a cookie cutter site and just put a logo on top of whatever image is at hand. I think they did try to spend some time understanding the kind of functionality that we would need and what we were trying to use the site for. It did feel personalized, which was great.

Are there any areas Studio 5 Innovation could improve?

I think the root of the problems we had with them is that they didn't understand the scope of the project. We were starting with an already very extensive website. I think that spending more time in an initial assessment and getting a better grasp of what we required and the time commitments that we needed would have been helpful – just having everything better laid out in advance.

3.0
Overall Score
  • 3.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We would often submit content to them and then hear back only later what they actually wanted from us. That led to many delays in the project.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The overall product was good.
  • 3.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I think they provide good value, but a client would have to be on top of the project to make it work.

Web Design for Commercial Insurance Broker

"Studio 5 did a phenomenal job. ... Studio 5 worked with me, pulling a website out of the very little material I was able to give them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Sep. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

The client hired Studio 5 to fully develop their website and is now interested in further engaging the agency for search engine optimization services.

The Reviewer
 
Seattle Metro Area
Kathryn Oskouian
President/Owner, First Underwriters, Inc
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Studio 5 delivered a high quality website with modern aesthetics. The client is pleased with the results and is optimistic about the site’s ability to represent their brand in the future. Studio 5 is praised for their professionalism and friendliness.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

First Underwriters is a commercial insurance broker.

What is your position?

I am the president and owner of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Studio 5?

Our business was started last year and needed a website presence.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

We started our conversations in the fall of 2015 and proceeded to figure out how to develop the right solution. We're currently talking about search engine optimization aspects of my website.

How did you come to work with Studio 5?

I had met them at a business conference a number of years ago. Last year, after meeting them again and explaining my struggles, we started working together.

Studio 5 did a phenomenal job. I am not a tech person and have no understanding of the intricacies of the process. Studio 5 worked with me, pulling a website out of the very little material I was able to give them.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The total development cost was around $5,000-10,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in September, 2015. The site went live last month. It could have been launched sooner, but I needed to provide Studio 5 some content. The total development should have only taken around a month.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Insurance companies tend to be old-school and slow to progress in terms of web presence and anything to do with online activity. I feel that what Studio 5 has created for me is very modern, and it attracts the younger generation. I don't engage in online sales, but I do have this capability if I choose. As my business grows, people will be able to make online purchases and also receive quotes. The process is intuitive; it represents me and what I'm trying to achieve.

What distinguishes Studio 5 from other providers?

I appreciate their professionalism and friendliness. They have been very engaging. If they ever need to prod me for a certain topic, they do it in such a way as not to bug or hassle me. They have met my scheduling needs constantly.

Is there anything Studio 5 could have improved or done differently?

No, I don't think so.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've handed out their contact information to a lot of people so far.

Web Design for Japanese Restaurant

"[W]e've worked with Studio 5 in the past and everything was fantastic.."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Aug. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

With the goal of establishing an effective online presence, the client hired Studio 5 to develop and maintain their website which also included SEO services.

The Reviewer
 
Seattle Metro Area
Director of Operations, Sushi Kashiba
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Studio 5 satisfied their client by creating a quality website that received press coverage from national publications and serves its audience well. The client praises the agency’s ability to provide a personal touch and highly recommends Studio 5 to others.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Sushi Kashiba is a Japanese fine-dining restaurant in Seattle, Washington.

What is your position?

I am the director of operations.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Studio 5?

We opened our restaurant at the beginning of December 2015. We were looking to have a web presence.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

Studio 5 developed a website for our restaurant and continues to maintain it. They have search engine optimization [SEO] experience, so I'm sure that was built into the code. Search engine presence is working very well for us. We haven't engaged in any proactive marketing. Our work was more foundational.

How did you come to work with Studio 5?

We had worked with one of their partners in the past and were quite pleased with her results. We decided to work with Studio 5 again, and once again they've done what we expected.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The development cost for our website was within market average. We also received a loyalty discount. The site has no e-commerce, reservation-making, or other special functionalities. It's simply a descriptive page for our restaurant, which was reflected in the price.

What is the status of this engagement?

The preliminary, planning-out stage for laying out functionality and navigation elements started in August of 2015. The website has been launched. Studio 5 is currently hosting our site and providing general maintenance, including site work and traffic optimization.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

The website has set a very good light for our restaurant. We've received significant press coverage within The Seattle Times and even national publications. Studio 5 has been quick to update our info and host those reviews, as well as calibrate for the rise in traffic which we've experienced as a result. Since they are the host, this was easy to do.

The site does its job: clients can look at our menu and get all the other information they need for visiting our location.

What distinguishes Studio 5 from other providers?

They've provided a personal touch. Studio 5 is not a huge firm. They're more of a boutique, which is really appreciated. It means that they can get the work done faster.

Is there anything Studio 5 could have improved or done differently?

Our site has only been up for three months, but everything so far has been exceptional. I don't think this will change because we've worked with Studio 5 in the past and everything was fantastic.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design for Fossils & Minerals Store

"If we expand to online commerce, I will definitely have more work for Studio 5 Innovation."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
2010 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Studio 5 Innovation built the client’s profile website. Their engagement has continued for the purposes of photography and keeping the website updated with new content.

The Reviewer
 
2-10 Employees
 
Seattle Metro Area
Terry Derosier
Owner, Agate Designs
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Studio 5 Innovation pleased the client by contributing to a high quality website that receives positive feedback from its users. The agency is praised for their personality. There have been no complaints for Studio 5 Interactive and they are recommended to others.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Our shop specializes in gem minerals, rocks, fossils and carvings. We’re based in Seattle, in the heart of Pioneer Square, which is a tourist area. We’ve been in this business for 34 years.

What is your position?

I’m the owner of the store.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Studio 5 Innovation?

We needed someone to build our website.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

They built our website and they continue to work on keeping it updated with new content, including new images from our shop. Studio 5 Innovation handles the photography as well.

The site is strictly a profile for our company and not an e-commerce site.

I can always call them with any problem. Recently, there was an issue with our Google search information: the hours of operation got changed, showing us as closed. Studio 5 Innovation solved the problem for us by contacting Google directly.

How did you come to work with Studio 5 Innovation?

They’re our neighbors. It was convenient and I felt confident in them.

We did work with another vendor in the area. I wasn’t happy with his service, and he wasn’t easily reachable.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Pricing depends on the work we do at any given time.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them five or six years ago. It’s an ongoing relationship.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

People have said that they like our website. Overall, it’s a high quality page that Studio 5 Innovation created for us.

What distinguishes Studio 5 Innovation from other providers?

I like their personality.

Is there anything Studio 5 Innovation could have improved or done differently?

I can’t think of anything. If we expand to online commerce, I will definitely have more work for Studio 5 Innovation.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Web Design for Signage Company

"Where it really started to fall apart was when we got the designing of the site itself."

Quality: 
2.5
Schedule: 
1.0
Cost: 
1.0
Willing to refer: 
1.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
Project summary: 

ESPRESSO Digital created a WordPress website for a signage company. The team provided design and development as well as some initial SEO analysis and content.  

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Los Angeles Metro Area
VP of Operations, Signage Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

ESPRESSO Digital had awful project management and did not provide any wireframes or design mock ups. The team did not meet the project launch date and refused to make changes without payment. Furthermore, the 30 days of support outlined in the initial contract was not honored.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

We are a signage contractor.

What is your role and responsibilities?

I'm director of operations. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with ESPRESSO Digital?

We needed a brand new site. The site we were using was just a placeholder site, so we wanted them to build a custom, fully responsive WordPress site. 

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

They did WordPress design and development. ESPRESSO Digital was supposed to provide training and support as well, but it didn't work out that way. I also had them do some initial SEO [search engine optimization] keyword analysis. They wrote SEO content, and a few non-SEO content pieces, and assigned title tags and meta-descriptions to the SEO pages.

What was your process for selecting ESPRESSO Digital?

I found them on Clutch. The two top firms that I was considering, I found both of them on the Clutch site.

Can you give a sense of the size of the initiative?

It was less than $10,000.

When was the project completed?

I've severed ties with them. Last week, we finalized the site and got it sort of up and running. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What were the results of the project?

The only part of the project I thought went well was working with his content person. We had a phone conversation, and then she wrote all the content. She did really well on the first draft, and I sent her back revisions to tailor it more to our tone we want wanted to portray to clients. She was very good, and I have nothing negative to say about her work. I thought she did a good job with the content.

On the SEO side, it was OK. There was very little communication. I initially talked to the SEO person, and he sent me some stuff to look at. I was made aware in the beginning that there would be about a 10-day timeframe when they wouldn't be available, so we rushed and got a bunch of stuff done in the beginning. When they came back to us, the SEO guy was no longer available. I couldn't communicate with him. He wasn't responding to my emails. They didn't ask for my input, they chose the keywords, and she just started writing content from that. We did have to review a few things there.

The project manager refused to send me the proposed meta-descriptions. I've done quite a few sites, I have several companies, and I've been working with SEO vendors for 15 years, so I have more than the average level of understanding in this area. On all of the other SEO projects, there's been a lot of communication, and I was always given the meta-descriptions to review and approve. That didn't happen this time. I think ESPRESSO Digital is better off working with people who have no idea what goes into a website or how it needs to be done, putting 100 percent faith in them and not questioning them.

Where it really started to fall apart was when we got the designing of the site itself. I realize everyone has their own methods of doing projects. I've never experienced this kind of method. Before they presented me with a design of any sort, they said, "You need to send us all your approved images, and that's what we're going to use." I can't send images if I have no idea of what the site is going to look like. I have no idea what images would go where, how many images. So, there was a bit of a battle with Gregor [Schmidt, managing partner of ESPRESSO Digital], the person I dealt with on that.

They didn't provide me any wireframes or any type of design mockups. They promised to produce a usable site the first go-around without working through wireframes. I personally think it's time wasted because we need to at least get an idea of the design. I also sent him a very detailed email with my design requirements, links to other websites, clearly stating things I liked and being very specific.

I got the first round of the design, and I had a conversation with him, and I said, "Did your design team even read my email? There's nothing in this design that even comes close to anything in the email I sent over as far as the look and feel of the site." He was very aggressive in saying, "Well, we don't do edits by phone. You need to put in written form." I said, "That's fine, but I'm not going to send you any edits because there's absolutely nothing in this entire site that I like."

One thing that was really strange is that I had no communication with anyone from the design team. I'm used to having a team phone call, where we would review things that I sent over that I liked. Then, he started having some personal issues, or he was off in a conference. He sent me the second round of edits. It took another week after the initial round.

One thing that was very frustrating is that they kind of piecemealed things together. He sent me an email and said, "Okay, these are the things we've done." So, I looked at those things and started making notes. I waited five days to speak with him about going through the revisions, then he said, "Oh, I only have 10 minutes to talk to you. I have other clients waiting for me, other engagements." So, he didn't make any plan to verbally review the changes I needed made. I think that's needed sometimes, so there's no misunderstanding and you don't waste time.

When I got back the revisions, they started changing things that I didn't even specify in my email. So, it took even longer. We were a month past the initial projected launch date. Every time we did revisions, they would change things that I hadn't even mentioned in my emails.

Right about that time is when they were using a theme, and customizing the theme. There was no mention of them using a theme, which is why I hired them in the first place. I understand that any customized site is very expensive, and if you start from scratch, you waste a lot of time doing programming and whatnot. However, he never mentioned that. In his contract, it says, "We're going to build you a 20-page custom WordPress site." When I brought it up, he goes, "Oh no, this is not custom. That would cost $25,000." I asked why it said it's a custom website, and he said, "Oh, we're customizing a theme for you." I said, "Well, then you should have shown me the theme, and told me you were going to customize it."

I wanted some specific information visually for the contact forms or estimate forms, for our footer. We got into a big battle as it was going to require custom programming to make the changes to the form that I was requesting, and to the footer, and he wasn't going to do it unless I paid him. So, we got into a battle on that.

Quite a few of the things that I specified in my email, like adding code for our Web-to-lead forms, he was very upset with me and said, "We don't support third party this and that." I said, "Look, this was in my site requirements, that I need you to install this jQuery web to lead form. It's super simple, and they even provide a WordPress-friendly code." He said, "If we do that, we're not going to provide you any support on the form if it doesn't work." I ended up just saying, "don't even bother, I'll deal with it."

They kept pushing WordPress Engine on us, and I didn't want it. I had a hosting service that has a lot of great stuff, and it's very personalized support. They said, "Send us the files, we'll install it, and they can go in and have the admin level access and tweak everything." Well, Gregor thought that was fine, but then when it came time to actually install the site, he absolutely threw a fit and said that, if I'm going to have my guys install it, they will not provide any support for the site once they turn over the files.

To boot, they used this updraft plus backup migrator thing, which seems like a great product, but they wanted to me to pay $30 so I could unzip the files that they were providing to me, which I thought was kind of silly. I asked, "Why do I have to pay you to give me my files in a certain way?" There was a big verbal battle on that with him. I asked, "Can't you give me some kind of access so that we can use your tool to unzip the files?" Apparently, it was related to their Amazon account, or something or other, and he was screaming at me, telling me that, for security reasons, they wouldn't do it.

So, I called my hosting company, and I said, "Look, I really need you guys to give FTP [file transfer protocol] access to them so they can install it and make sure the site is functioning." They agreed, we gave the FTP access to his team, and next thing I know I'm getting a text that says, "Your server has old Apache software on it, and if you don't go with WordPress Engine or upgrade your Apache, we cannot guarantee any functionality of the site, and the support will stop immediately once we give you the site files."

I asked my hosting company, and they said, "We don't even use Apache. We use NGINS. Apache isn't even on our server." I told Gregor that, and he insisted, and he would not turn the site files over to me or install them until I sent him an email that said I won't hold him accountable for the website files, and for the functionality of the site, or compatibility of any plug-ins because of the hold Apache stuff.

So, I sent him the email, they installed the site files, and that's pretty much the last I heard of them. They were supposed to give me 30 days of support to ensure the functionality of the site. The forms weren't working. They installed the old version of the footer initially. There was a popup from their demo site requesting a login and password, and I ended up having to pay my Web team, who handles WordPress as well, to remove that. I've already paid them 10 hours' worth of stuff to fix things that were wrong with the site, which is about $400.

They still didn't fix the issues I told them to fix. They were supposed to provide me two hours of training on how to use the site because I only know how to use Drupal, and I wanted training included in the contract, so that I knew how to administer content and do general things on the site. They didn't do that either. ESPRESSO Digital has not responded when I said I needed them to provide the support and training per our contract. I'm actually paying somebody about $400 to give us some training specifically on our WordPress site.

Do you have any statistics or metrics on the project?

No. I don't have stats because we just launched the site.

1.0
Overall Score
  • 1.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 1.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The value was there in the dollar amount, but he didn't provide all of the prerequisites. He was constantly asking me to pay more for things that I already asked him for. He was supposed to do a pay-per-click landing page, which they didn't do either.
  • 2.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The content person was very knowledgeable and very good at what she did. I would give her a five, for sure. The SEO guy is about a three. My issue is with Gregor and his project management.
  • 1.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Website For Human Resources Consultant

"Studio 5 adapts their creativity and their creation to the person and the company."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
Project summary: 

Studio 5 Innovation built a website for an HR consultant. The project involved brand strategy, custom development, photography, content creation, and hosting and email services.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Seattle, Washington
Terri Ebert
Founder, Talent Excellence
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The website elegantly reflects the consultant's strengths. Studio 5 Innovation fully understood the site's goals, offered honest feedback and suggestions, and aimed for total customer satisfaction. Their well-rounded talent pool and small size give each project a personalized touch.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

I own an independent consulting company for human resources. It’s a one-person shop. I focus on training, employee development, meeting facilitation, coaching, and career development in the Seattle area.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was the business challenge you were trying to address when you approached Studio 5 Innovation?

I had a desire for an online presence that would be easy to navigate, easily findable, and targeted towards my audience. I had met Studio 5 through a networking event, and spoke to them about my desire to have that online presence, to be very targeted to the audience that I was trying to reach. They had the skill set, so we continued that discussion.

Did you have any specific goals for the work?

This is my first consulting gig, I’ve always worked corporate, so I needed to ensure that what would be out there was relevant to what I could accomplish, and what I could do as part of my business. So, it was a very open and honest content about what I do. I needed them to represent that in a format such that people could easily navigate the website. There were multiple tabs to give information related to the work I do and the types of companies that might be interested in me.

My goal was to gain new business. But, the overarching goal was that when you meet somebody, such as at networking event, [that person] always asks if you have a website. So, I knew I had to have a website ultimately.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

I have no Web design in my background. Like many people, I just have what I think I want out of the website. So, they had to determine who my audience was, how far-reaching my audience was. I live in Seattle, so we focused on the Washington, Oregon, [and] California corridor. We talked about what types of businesses, companies, organizations, or even people would be interested in what I do so they could make the website targeted in that way. They had to write all of the content, find the photos, [and] take the photos. They created the website from start to finish. They also helped me determine where to host the site, as well which email services to use, so that people could access the website with ease, and find me with ease.

What was your process for selecting Studio 5 Innovation with which to work?

I met Gregor [Schmidt, co-founder and creative technologist] at a networking event and immediately liked him, just from a personality standpoint. I found him to be very energetic, so I chose to go with them. I could have spent a ton of time searching for a Web developer, but they had a packaged deal of sorts. Some people just write your content, then you have to edit it, and then you have to find someone to put it on the internet. They could do everything I needed done. Since I found it quickly, I just went for it.

Can you provide a sense of the size of the project, in a cost range or work-hour figure?

It was affordable for a small business. It was in the $4,000 to $5,000 range. For me, I knew that I was getting what I wanted, and I was very happy with the outcome.

How long did the project take?

For this type of work, how long things take is predicated on your own response time. It’s not something whereby they just produce something and then it becomes live. It is a back-and-forth dialogue. It probably took anywhere from five to eight months. The site was launched in 2013.

Part of that time, while it may seem long, is that you have to respond to their emails, have meetings with them, give them the feedback. They will produce things for you, but you must edit it because in the end you own your own website. There were times where I just couldn’t get it to them, so it took a little longer than anticipated.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What were the results of the work?

When I share my website with friends and people who are interested in my business, resoundingly what I hear is that the website represents me and my personality very well. Studio 5 did a great job of representing who I am, and I show up on the Web in a way that people know it’s genuinely me. People have also told me they find it to be very informative.

Studio 5 adapts their creativity and their creation to the person and the company. They are not a one size fits all, they are not a cookie cutter. They really take the time and energy to figure out what it is the person wants out of the website, and they try to deliver on it. It’s really a gift.

How would you describe their performance?

I think their performance was really good. Gregor is very direct, very forthright, and very opinionated. There were times when I said something and he did not agree, so I found I needed a little bit of patience. But when he said they were going to do something, they did execute on it.

There were times when I had action items, and I failed to get things done, and he followed up very much so. Overall, I’m appreciative of his work. He definitely is driven to customer satisfaction, and he will work towards that. Some people may find his work style a little off-putting because he’s quick to tell you when you didn’t do your part of the bargain, but I did not find it so.

Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?

It’s a Seattle-based, small company. I think what’s special about them is that they are very individualized. They are not a big company, and they don’t try to be. They know what their niche is, and they do their best in that.

I think Gregor has done a wonderful job of finding people to surround himself with, to help him get his job done. So, he’s done a good job of hiring people different from him, who have expertise in areas he doesn’t have so they can get things done. That’s pretty important in that industry. He must treat people really well because the same people are still there since when I started talking to them, which probably was at least two years ago. So, I think he’s doing a nice job of helping consultants and contractors partner with him to get work done, which I think is unique.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?

There are some expectations that they have along that way of what they need the client to return back to them to get their job done. I had said to him, it would be lovely if I had a check box or a guideline of what they needed from me and when. Whether or not the person uses it, it’s about providing information for people on the other end. He would still have to call and follow up. He will still have to email and ask for things. I think the idea is just to be open that you may have to work for other people’s styles also. I did already give him that feedback, and he’s very gracious.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would recommend them.