Make Awesome.

Humanist partners with businesses to bring out the awesome, in people, products and services.

Humanist is a product and innovation strategy practice with a focus on partnering with you to build digital products people want and brands they love.

 

We’d love to hear about your product or project and help you make it awesome.

 

We partner with startups and organizations to help them build products and services that people want and love. And to help those organizations bring out their own awesome in their teams so they can do better work.

 
$5,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2014
Show all +
Brooklyn, NY
headquarters
  • Humanist Brooklyn, NY
    United States
    646-355-1330

Portfolio

Key clients: 
  • QuickFrame (a Broadway Video Ventures company)
  • Door3
  • Lotus Research / Vū-Mē
  • Fast Focus

Reviews

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User Design, Testing & Strategy for iOS Platform

"If you want your product's user experience to be superior, it's worth investing in Humanist."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Apr. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Humanist’s initial engagement was to design the user experience for a mobile-first app. Iterations included market creation and management, user testing, and page wireframes, with ongoing work pending funding.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York, New York
Bill Bloom
CEO, FastFocus
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Humanist’s carefully crafted user experience led to the app’s high-level market adoption. The founder's proactive advice, listening skills, and expertise ensures a clear vision for strategic market decision making. Responsive project management and a superior end product earn a solid A+.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

The company's name is Fast Focus. I'm the CEO. Fast Focus is a mobile-first application that uses stock market-type mechanics, like a trading platform, but the markets are competing ideas instead of companies.

Essentially, the market gets sent out to several hundred customers, partners, employees, or a combination, and they can invest virtual currency in the ideas that they think are the most valuable to them. We're working on pilots with General Electric, CVS Pharmacy, L3 (a defense technology company), and an agency called C Space, (a product innovation agency).

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Humanist?

We were looking for someone who could design the mobile app.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Although we did some prototypes and some demos, we needed the simplest, cleanest design for the application. Essentially, their job was to design the user experience: the look of the pages, the connections between the pages, interfaces, buttons—all those kinds of things. We contracted Michael [Founder, Humanist] to be the lead on that, and Luke and I worked very closely with him. Michael did wireframes for all the pages.

It was very iterative. We did a few key calls and sprints. The application has different parts: market creation and management, launching the markets (which is what the customers see), trading, rewards, other pages. Those sprints lasted 2.5–3 months end-to-end.

He's in New York City, and I'm 12 miles outside New York City. While he was doing this, we looked at things every day. We didn't talk every day, but over 12 weeks we averaged a conversation two or three times a week. We've met several times face-to-face in a conference room. He's very, very collaborative.

He listens extremely well. In addition to his other talents, he asks really good questions and gets to the bottom of what we're trying to produce. He ran a few different sessions for user testing, and he was very hands-on with that.

At the beginning, he moderated testing with five users from different backgrounds. We recorded the sessions—not only their faces and their conversations, but also what they were clicking on. He has a really good style and manner with testing: It was a combination of supporting the users without giving them too much information.

We started running unmoderated testing with clients, which was basically letting them go through a market with some of their employees, but not with their customers yet. We've finished one round of that, and he set that up and moderated the feedback sessions. He's one of the best front-end tech guys I've ever worked with, if not the best. He has great skills and relates well with people. The results surpassed my expectations. I highly recommend them.

How did you come to work with Humanist?

My partner, Luke Tigaris, had worked with Michael [Founder, Humanist] on a couple of projects. Luke recommended that I talk to Michael. He was one of five agencies I talked to. I looked at his work and his portfolio, and I engaged him and one other agency to do a little bit of work for me.

Michael is just a step above the good people in the market. In fact, we had another agency do prototypes for us, but Michael is just a cut above. He's not a B+ or an A, he's an A+. I think the real differences is, not only can he design better than most of the people in the market, but he can really understand what we're trying to accomplish and help us make decisions fast. Some people placate their customers—they may do what I ask them to do. But he politely pushes us beyond that.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent $15,000 to $20,000 with them.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them mid-April through mid-July 2017. I keep them on retainer all the time, but once we get funded, we'll bring them back in. When we get our product next year, we'll be extending it, improving it, and learning about ways to do things better. I am confident that I’ll retain them starting in September or October and hopefully on an ongoing basis.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They're a significant contributor to why we have these great, high-profile pilots. That’s certainly a reflection on the application and its usefulness. The basic goal is to get customer sentiment fast on these ideas, but we wouldn't be able to unless they looked at the user experience and the design and thought it was top-notch. I credit Michael with being a substantial participant in why the market is adopting our app so well.

How did Humanist perform from a project management standpoint?

I would give them an A+. Michael's very organized and clean, and follow-ups are very proactive. I'm not chasing him down; he's right there. He meets his deadlines, and if there's some reason that he needs a little more time, I hear that well in advance, and it's discussed. There were probably a couple of cases where he needed a little more time and I thought there would be a good reason to get it faster, so he worked some overtime to get it done. He's flexible with that. I'd say his ability to manage time, manage the project, and hit his deadlines is excellent.

What did you find most impressive about them?

If you want your product's user experience to be superior, it's worth investing in Humanist. You will have a better product, and it will give you a much better opportunity for success. The designs are top-notch and superior to anyone I've worked with. I think it's really about having the best design for whatever application you're putting together.

Out of 100 people, Michael's in the top three. He's that good. I think his costs are very, very worth it. I don't think he is much more expensive than others. He's not a bargain, but he's also fairly reasonable. I'm in New York, so that has some effect on how I look at prices. I'd say he's a great investment.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There are always areas for improvement, but I can't think of any weaknesses, really. The only thing I would worry about—and this wasn't the case for us—is if he got a lot of business and I had to work with someone under him. I'm working with the principal of the company, so I don’t know about the quality of the work others in his group produce. Working with him is great, but he's the only person that I've really worked with at Humanist. It's not really an area of improvement, just a comment.

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

UX Design for Large Veterinary Organization

"The deliverables were top-notch. I have no complaints."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
Confidential
Project summary: 

Humanist served as an extension of the client's UX team to redesign a web-based office management tool for a third party major veterinary chain.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 employees
 
New York City, New York
Director of UX, DOOR3
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The product was presented at an annual meeting and was met with much excitement and praise. Humanist provided strong project management, UX expertise, and a thoughtful approach. The client cites no areas for improvement and plans to continue the partnership.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

My company specializes in designing and building applications for web and mobile. I am the director of user experience and design. I manage all of our UX and visual design capabilities. I also serve in a business development role.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Humanist?

We were working for a major national veterinarian chain. They had a series of very antiquated computer-based tools to manage their entire office experience, starting when the owner of a pet checks in with the receptionist. A nurse would then see the animal to screen them and find out what’s wrong. Then, a doctor assesses the pet’s situation and determines next steps like prescriptions, therapies, follow up visits, or surgeries. All of that was being done with antiquated tools and interfaces. For new employees, the barrier to entry was quite high. Mistakes were happening because of the cumbersome nature of the information and interacting with it. My company was asked to engage with this chain to help them reimagine these systems from the ground up. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We needed to build a web-based, visual, and user-focused version of this office management tool for our client. Humanist was involved from a UX strategy and leadership perspective. They helped us with envisioning the product strategy for how to move forward with this application. They were actively involved with the iterative Agile process of producing something, putting it in front of clients and stakeholders, testing, and getting feedback. The Humanist team integrated with our UX team, so it was collaborative in nature. They became a strategic extension of our capabilities.

How did you come to work with Humanist?

I had worked with Michael, our main contact, on previous projects. He has engaged with our company a couple of times. This project was the most significant work that we did together and definitely the one that we would want to highlight for the purposes of a case study.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started talking with the client in September 2014. The project kicked off at the end of 2014 and was completed around January 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

While it hasn’t launched, the tool has gone into beta at a couple of locations. The chain had their annual meeting where all the branches came together. They had a web presentation and they showed everyone the prototype, which was quickly becoming the first version to get released in beta. After seeing the demo, the branches were vying to be the beta testers of the app. They were so excited to get it first because it was so much better than what they had. They produced a video of themselves interviewing nurses, doctors, back-office staff, and administrative staff while showing them the application. The excitement and feedback were out of this world. I wish every client I had was so excited and jazzed about what we produce.

How did Humanist perform from a project management standpoint?

They handled this very well. Our contact, Michael, is extremely well-organized. There was no reason for me to get involved and address any issues. As a manager of the practice, I only get involved at the engagement level on troublemaker projects. This one ran extremely well, especially from a UX and design perspective. That is a credit to the Humanist team and to Michael. Our client loved him. They came to trust him with an enormous amount of responsibility on this project. From a project management perspective, he did an excellent job.

What did you find most impressive about Humanist?

Humanist is distinguished by their UX leadership, product strategy, iterative Agile design, and user testing. They are able to factor user feedback into that process. I was impressed that they used measurable, baseline-able metrics to make decisions. To their credit, one of the things Humanist did throughout the project was to baseline the things that we could measure to show progress. For example, they tracked how long it takes to complete tasks or how many clicks it takes to complete tasks. Then, they would compare new versions against those baseline measures. User testing and feedback was a critical part of the Agile process. They deliver a high-quality finished product, which is what we’re in the business of providing.

Are there any areas Humanist could improve?

None.

4.5
Overall Score Humanist was completely self-sufficient. Michael did a great job of managing his team.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Humanist was extremely on target with scheduling and meeting deadlines.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I don’t remember the project being exorbitantly expensive. I think we got very good value for the cost.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The deliverables were top-notch. I have no complaints.
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer

UX Design for Video Production Marketplace

"Humanist represents industry expertise within the scope of digital media."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Nov. 2015 - Feb. 2016
Project summary: 

Humanist was engaged to create initial designs and produce wireframes for the client's internal resources to develop.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 employees
Lucas Loeffler
CEO, Quickframe
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Volume of customers and order value per customer have increased continuously since launch. Humanist was timely, transparent, and dedicated to the client's success. Their design and technical knowledge was impressive.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the CEO of Quickframe, an on-demand platform for short-form original video. We provide a marketplace and a community of content creators and content buyers. Through our platform, they can adequately, efficiently, and successfully create short-form original videos for brands and publishers.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Humanist?

We were looking for someone who could come up with wireframes for what the website would look like. The idea was to help put together a framework or a design for the initial user experience. It’s been a while, probably at least a year since we had launched.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The scope of work were wireframes, feedback on wireframes, and the ability to turn around new work in short amounts of time. We would pass along various working designs after our head of technology put them into a working prototype. We’d pass on that prototype and continue to iterate based on feedback from prospective customers and users. We were in the super early days so the variability as far as what we were looking for ranged significantly.

From the beginning, we tasked Humanist with doing the most amount of work in the least amount of time, as opposed to setting a framework up for consistent work. From a usability and visual standpoint, we really needed design and product-centered feedback. As soon as we got a working prototype, it was best that we move on and start to develop our own internal capabilities. Based on client feedback, we started to change and hone in on exactly what we wanted the product to look and feel like.

How did you come to work with Humanist?

We met with a lot of design shops and a lot of UX product-centric consultants. Humanist was referred to us by one of our former advisors and one of our existing investors. Broadway Video had worked with Humanist on one of their earlier portfolio companies with Michael. I think we Michael was referred based on that existing relationship.

How much have you invested with Humanist?

I don’t have an exact number. We probably paid less than $10,000 for their services. If it was over that amount, it was just a little right above it.

What is the status of this engagement?

The project lasted from November 2015 to January/February 2016. Michael had existing relationships he was winding down, and new relationships that he was evaluating continuously. I think he was sort of expensive relative to what we could, at that point, invest in longer term, but we totally understood that from the beginning. We preferred 2 or 3 weeks of the right expensive work than 2 or 3 months of the wrong cheap work. I think everybody was all smiles. To us, for our stage, it was just unrealistic for us to invest in him in a daily or weekly capacity.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I think the single largest validation for us was the client feedback. We went on to launch the product and continued to increase not just the aggregate number of customers, but the actual order value of those individual customers. Obviously, the product is the single largest indicator of that success. That was one really good piece of validation.

We’ve also personally and professionally worked with a lot of different designers, design shops, consultants. We have definitely burned 3 or 4 times that dollar figure that I quoted you on other people that we’ve worked with in the past. Michael definitely delivered on what we were looking for. I just think that, for a super early stage startup, we didn’t need a consistent noncoding UX person. We needed a baseline in the beginning, which he did very well with, and then it was time for us to move on. I definitely speak to the ecosystem of different designers, freelancers, design UX consultants, and Humanist was exceptional in that respect.

How did Humanist perform from a project management standpoint?

Everything was super timely. I don’t think I ever recall following up with them because I didn’t receive something. They were more than happy to go above and beyond the scope of the initial work. They also used very simple and transparent legal terms. It was just a pleasure personally to work with Humanist. We worked through Google Docs and emailed back and forth. We were working directly with Michael at that point.

What did you find most impressive about Humanist?

Their domain expertise was impressive. Amidst people who ran the gamut as far as being able to paint pretty pictures, Michael was someone that stood out. Humanist represents industry expertise within the scope of digital media. They built a product that was super usable from an enterprise perspective. He was coming from a place where he could cite examples of work he’d done, work he was aware of, other companies and things they were doing. From the outset, it was clear that he was someone who read and kept up with what was relevant. It felt like you were speaking to a knowledgeable product resource as much as you were a UX design lead.

Are there any areas Humanist could improve?

No, not really.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Startup scheduling can be a nightmare. Sometimes that’s intimidating to people who work at larger companies, which I know Michael had experience with. But he was definitely somebody that understood the urgency of our business.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It’s a no-brainer. We’d definitely do it again.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer