“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation.” – Plato

The Nashville Technology Council and Centresource are teaming up to present an event that aims to improve communication between technologists and marketers.

This event is for any team who has ever had miscommunication about technical specs and how they link to the marketing goal… basically, most of us.

This is a hands-on, minds-on, problem-solving workshop – not a presentation. It will be a professionally-facilitated process using a tested concept: LEGO Serious Play.

The LEGO Serious Play methodology has been used around the world for a huge range of applications including M&A, strategic planning, and other complex problem-solving in organizations.

Our facilitator, Jody Lentz, has worked for LEGO and used LEGO Serious Play with over 6,000 people around the world from Stockholm to Sacramento.

He says, “Communication is abstract and ephemeral.  But when you build it out of LEGO and make a story out of it, it has some heft to it.  It allows you to pick apart the meanings, and reassemble – like a good LEGO set.”

Just getting Nashville teams around a table to share about their perspectives is going to be valuable.  But there is an output – not just LEGO models – but also rubric, guiding principles, rules of engagement… things that will help us create better products AND avoid train wrecks that are almost always caused by lack of clarity.

“It’s an incredibly useful tool to get people to understand more about themselves, the people they work with, and the problem they’re trying to solve…and it’s fun!!”

How do you prepare for the event?

This is a 2-hour workshop, followed by a cocktail hour to debrief.

Bring your imagination.  You could come individually, or even better, bring 6 or 7 people from your team who often work together. If they can build together, your organization will get more out of it.

May 13, 2015
3-6 pm (2 hour workshop followed by cocktail hour)
Emma Bistro
Free as a member of the NTC, $10 for non-members

We are very excited to announce that we recently won a 2015 American Web Design Award, an annual competition hosted by Graphic Design USA (GDUSA).

In collaboration with Kansas Leadership Center (KLC), we were awarded the prize for our work on “Your Leadership Edge” – a portal that gives future leaders access to the Kansas Leadership Center resources and teachings, both online and in-person.

The GDUSA Design Awards recognize the work of designers and celebrate the contributions of graphic design to business and society. We were happy to receive a Certificate of Excellence for our work with KLC and are ecstatic to be featured in GDUSA’s 2015 Web Awards print issue.

Check out the site that won the award this year at YourLeadershipEdge.com and check out previous winners at GDUSA.

Onward and upward!


So you’ve got a great idea.
You’ve assembled a crack team of marketers, sales people, client support and investors.
You’re ready to get your idea transformed from vaporware to a fully functioning, sellable web application.

These are exciting moments in your new business venture’s life cycle.

It’s time to take your idea and have some designers and UI/UX specialists create your vision in Photoshop so you can pass this along to your development team. In your meeting with your designers and UI/UX people, they ask you a very important question:

“Will you want a front-end prototype of this built?”

This is the point where you emphatically reply with, “YES”, and I’m going to tell you why.

Front-end prototypes are a crucial element to the success of your web app or service. They allow you (the client) and us (the designers and UI/UX team) to properly figure out how your app should function, look, and generally behave from the user’s point of view.

A lot of clients will think, “Well this sounds like an added cost. I can just take the Photoshop mock-ups and pass those off to my team of back-end devs and they’ll chop them up and make them work.”

This is so often not actually the way it works. I have the upmost respect for the magic that the back-end guys perform, truly. We have some of the brightest and most talented back-end architects in Nashville at Centresource. They are able to blow me away with the things they can do in an MVC on a daily basis.

That said, just the same as I wouldn’t want a back-end guy figuring out how a site’s navigation and color scheme is supposed to look, they absolutely would not want me (a front-end guy) trying to figure out how to best manage the app’s database.

What often happens when an entrepreneur opts to not do a front-end prototype, is that after they pass the Photoshop layered files off to their dev team, they come back with something somewhat working, but mostly a mess for the user. Fonts are incorrect, padding is off, elements that are supposed to be circular are rectangular, none of the javascript works the way it was intended. This results in an app that is unattractive, hard to use, and a nightmare to actually sell in the marketplace.

By allowing a full front-end prototype to be built, a client can avoid the pitfalls of having to hire another team of developers to clean up the potential mess that their initial dev team created by trying to shoehorn their skills into an unfamiliar area of web development.

In 2015, design and user experience is at the forefront of almost every major technology in the marketplace.

Apple has completely revamped iOS and OS X to create a more unified and minimalistic user interface that is focused more on the ability of the user to quickly get things done, than to show their ability to make your screen look like a wooden shelf with a 3D perspective.

Google has dropped the overwhelming green hues and Tron-like neon blue elements in previous versions of Android for their new “material design” approach, which again, ignores their stylistic tastes in favor of usability and quick communication.

Even Microsoft has changed their UI strategy since the release of Windows 8 to move more into a user-focused operating system. They plan to take this even further with the release of Windows 10, due out later this year.

In this age of the digital world, it is truly a time where all successful products are built first and foremost with the user in mind. This isn’t likely to change anytime soon. When planning the strategy of your next great idea, be sure you factor this in and allow a team of talented designers and UI experts to create a working prototype before you hand it off to those back-end guys.

This will save you costs, allow you to keep and gain more users, and you’ll spend less time re-designing things that your users are badgering you about via email and help tickets.