Posts Tagged "IQ"

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Simplify your life with #IQtoolbox web tools

Kicking off #IQtoolbox

This month at IQ we’re thinking about some of our favorite ways to use the internet to make our lives simpler, in and out of the office. Whether it’s a tool that gives you cool ambient sound to keep you focused on the task at hand or a better way to organize your office or home to-do lists, online tools can do so much for you. So this month we’re sharing tools IQ-ers use everyday, tools that make up the #IQtoolbox.

We will be sharing original articles here and in our other social media channels (TwitterFacebookTumblr, and LinkedIn). We’ll also be sharing other articles and links that inspire us and engage our minds in a playful way.

So keep an eye out for the #IQtoolbox hashtag as we share our favorite tools. And maybe you can share your favorites with us, too!

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IQ Spotlight: Courtney Kelly, Project Manager

Inspiring an Atmosphere of #IntelligenceAtPlay in my Projects

How IQ Built a Culture of #IntelligenceAtPlay

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IQ Spotlight: Courtney Kelly, Project Manager

IQ Spotlight Courtney

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so every other Friday we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

For the official record, what is your name and your title at IQ?

My name is Courtney Kelly and I’m a Project Manager.

What is your favorite thing about working with a new client?

I really like the initial “getting to know you” phase. Everyone is so enthusiastic about what you’re going to be doing, and both sides are really open to all the possibilities, and it’s just an exciting time.

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on or managed?

I would say the Hot Spring Spas site redesign. It was my first time working on a full website redesign and the team was really excited to be working on it. It was just a fun experience that ended with some amazing work.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

The result of bringing research and collaboration together to deliver an end product that’s impactful and easy for people to take in–something that has a nice, friendly, unassuming exterior, but also has depth and purpose behind every single element.

Tell me about the moment you knew this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally.

I majored in Mass Communication with a concentration in Advertising, because even then Advertising was where I saw myself going. I had heard really great things about the culture and atmosphere in agencies, so I was set on wanting to work in one. I wanted to be involved in the creative process somehow, but I didn’t really want to go back to school, and the more I learned about Project Management, the more it seemed like a great fit. So I got a PM internship, and then I was a Project Coordinator, and now I’m a PM here at IQ.

Describe your approach or process to a new project.

I like to list out absolutely everything I know about a project. What the client wants, where the files are stored, who’s on the team, just anything and everything. Because as a PM, you’re the only person between the client and the resources, so if the resources don’t know the expectations or where to find something, they won’t do it—they’re not mind readers. So I like to get all of that together first, and then I can move onto next steps.

Quickfire:

Sun or Moon?

Sun.

Wine or Whiskey?

Whiskey.

Ninjas or Pirates?

Pirates.

Waffles or Pancakes?

Pancakes.

Ocean or Pool?

Pool.

Now you know a little more about Courtney Kelly!

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IQ Spotlight: Shari Benowich, Account Supervisor

Inspiring an Atmosphere of #IntelligenceAtPlay in my Projects

How IQ Built a Culture of #IntelligenceAtPlay

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Danger: Good Times Ahead

Danger: Good Times Ahead

In case you haven’t noticed there is a sea change happening in business. As companies go into 2015 they are more confident that their marketplace is solid than at any time in the last five plus years. This is very different from every January I can remember since the recession hit. If you recall, as we would roll into each New Year, brands would emerge extremely cautiously, prepared at any moment to run for cover as they watched their consumers crawl back into their shell. Of course they had reason to be gun-shy. Pretty much on schedule every year the promise of the economy turned to ashes usually around the second quarter. Budgets were cut, rosy forecasts trimmed and the rest of the year was usually a matter of subsistence marketing.

This year, however, is different. Confidence is brimming, because the fundamentals are finally, truly strong. More important, consumers feel the wind at the back of the economy for the first time in a long time. As a result brands are bullishly turning their attention to full force competition. That’s a big shift in mind-set. Planning to grow market share in the face of competitive pressure requires a different set of strategies and tactics to those required to just make it through the year.  This is made much more demanding when you consider that consumers have been trained by years of scarcity to be value conscious, sophisticated buyers. The upshot is the most challenging, competitive environment brands have probably ever seen.

The lean years have turned consumers into smart, careful shoppers. Buyers of all stripes have been provided with the tools, education and practice to become adept digital consumers armed with the skills required to make the best possible decisions every time. This has reshaped the buying process and redefined consumer expectations. Now there is really no choice for brands but to deliver enablement, transparency, quality and a superior experience. Anyway you look at it, it’s a tough nut to crack, but the companies that deliver on these expectations will earn a place in the consideration set.

All of this requires not only a different mind-set, but also a different tool kit to what brands used the last time they went out to do battle in a strong economic environment. Some forward thinking companies saw this coming, recognized that buying dynamics would forever be linked to new consumer expectations and put the pieces of a new kind of brand ecosystem in place. This ecosystem intelligently connects all of a brand’s touch-points throughout the consumer decision journey. With technology supplying consumer insights, and content keeping the consumer engaged, the new brand ecosystem has shifted to more science than art, and provides companies with more predictability even in the face of more complexity.

Today as we launch into the best environment in years, those brands that studied the new consumer and invested in the infrastructure and technology, find themselves ready to activate these sophisticated marketing ecosystems. Brands that did not do the work, however, are in a very different position. They will quickly find that they don’t have what they need and will be forced to not just change the tires on the bus at 60 mph, but to try and rebuild the whole bus without stopping.

Within the next few months the gap between the haves and have-nots will play out and for the first time the stark realities of marketing in the digital age will be plain for even the most hitherto blinkered to see.

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Pushing Boundaries in a New Year

Head to Head: IQ Designers Duke it Out Over Brand Style Guides

3 Technology Game Changers

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Pushing Boundaries in a New Year

Social kickoff January 2015

It’s the first Monday at work in 2015, and at IQ we’re thinking about growth, refining skills, and transformation. This month we’re focusing on pushing boundaries in creative intelligence. We will be sharing original articles here on the blog and in our other social media channels (TwitterFacebookTumblr, and LinkedIn). We’ll also be sharing other articles and links that inspire us and push our perceived limits. So keep an eye on our channels as we share things that push, grow, and expand our creative intelligence.

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IQ Spotlight: Carol Montoto, Associate Creative Director

Head to Head: IQ Designers Duke it Out Over Brand Style Guides

3 Technology Game Changers

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IQ Spotlight: Carol Montoto, Associate Creative Director

Carol Montoto, ACD

Carol in her Ugly Christmas Sweater for the contest at the IQ Holiday Party.

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so every other Friday we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

For the official record, what is your name and your title at IQ?

My name is Carol Montoto and I’m an Associate Creative Director at IQ.

Tell me about your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame microsite I worked on when I was at Sapient-Nitro. It was a massive project that we had to get finished in a month. We were working nights and weekends and it wasn’t just the creative team, we worked closely with our developers, our motion graphic guys, everyone was just so passionate about the project and the end result was amazing and totally reflected that passion.

What’s your superpower?

I would say my energy. I’m sure you’ve seen me running around the office like a crazy person getting all the things done. Maybe the coffee helps.

Outside of IQ’s clients, what brand is doing really well in advertising lately?

For me, they have to suck me in and make me think it’s not an ad until they show the brand and I’m like “oh, they got me!” I really liked when Skeletor took over Honda’s twitter a couple weeks ago.

What is “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

I think it’s more the collective of brains in a room coming together. Not just people in any one department, but the cohesive vision of the agency.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Anything snow related, even if it’s fake snow. I try to go skiing and snowboarding at least once during this time of year. I love snow?

Quickfire:

Hat or scarf?

Scarf.

Sun or moon?

Sun.

Strawberry of blueberry?

Strawberry.

West coast or East coast?

West coast.

Handwritten or typed?

Handwritten.

Now you know a little more about Carol Montoto!

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Russ Sauvé, Social Media Community Manager

Head to Head: IQ Designers Duke it Out over Style Guides

Why Designers Love Whitespace

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  • 12.17.14

Head to Head:

IQ designers duke it out over “how to” or “how to not” follow a brand’s style guide.

Head to Head Style Guide Design

Point: The Type-A Guide to Following Design Rules

By: Lauren Weir, Sr. Designer

Our creative team nominated me to write the point of the article — establishing why you should stick to brand guidelines and how to work creatively within them. And while I’ll give you that I’m the type of person who neatly orders my pens, keeps a daily game plan on my signature yellow notepads and may or may not be easily compared with Monica from FRIENDS, I still have fun and sometimes I show up to work in a banana suit. I just think of brand guidelines like a pair of moon shoes — sometimes kind of clunky, but they help you jump to new heights. They’re also infinitely cool.

Brand guidelines are so important to designing for a brand because they explain and uphold the values and importance of the brand for which you are designing. A strong brand will help increase recognition and brand loyalty, which is directly related to a company’s success and profitability. As Smashing Magazine points out, brands have to reach people through so many different platforms that recognition is critical. As designers, if we do not help a company clearly communicate their messages and uphold the definition of their brand then the brand will start to develop on its own through customer opinions in spaces like social — and we all know how that can go south pretty quickly.

How to stick it to the Book:

  1. Make sure you and your client have a complete understanding of the brand guidelines. Take time to go through the guidelines with your client and ask questions. By sitting down for a conversation first, you’re avoiding the future problems that could arise if the brand guide has any holes. Figure out how strict the guidelines are and what will still be considered within the guidelines if it is not explicitly stated. This will give you a clear understanding where the designs can start to move forward. You can also for a clear idea of what to measure your design successes on and give you, as a designer ground to justify the designs you have produced. You can become a design partner for your client, making recommendations for their design in the future, rather than just a production artist for what they envision for their brand.
  2. Experiment within your limits. Think mixing different martinis, rather than making a mix drink with gin, Bailey’s and Chardonnay. Creating and following parameters set by guidelines can give you the chance to try a ton of experiments on different pieces to create interesting designs that relate back to the brand. For example, within a color scheme, try combining the colors in a different way or in different proportions to create something that is different than what is expected. Sometimes the most successful designs come from a new or updated perspective on already existing guidelines.  Guidelines can help you narrow down what areas to experiment in, rather than spending all of your time looking at the endless design options. Put your design energy in the right places, rather than the places that are already defined.
  3. Measure back to the guidelines. Keep brand goals, audience needs, key messages, and brand personality central to each and every decision made in designing for the brand. It is easier to justify your design decisions because the client has already approved their guidelines. Once you can design really well and with new ideas within the limitations given by the client, you can clearly understand the best way to adapt the brand to new platforms (social, mail, web, etc). The most successful and gratifying design systems work show a strong brand voice and visual style across multiple mediums without becoming too repetitive.

There are many brands out there whose designers rely heavily on the visual guidelines and still create some badass designs. Like these:

Counterpoint: How to Design Outside the Style Guide (and not get caught)

By: Carol Montoto, Associate Creative Director

So I was nominated to write this counterpoint by my team. I guess they see me as that annoying creative who just won’t stick to a style guide. Maybe that’s slightly true, but I see a style guide as just a guide and not an end-all-be-all. It’s tough exploring creative directions to take a brand without wandering outside the style guide a bit. Rebellious design superhero, Paula Scher, talked about guidelines at the Adobe Max Conference (13:00).“Guidelines are difficult things because they’re rules that prevent bad things from happening, but they don’t really promote good things TO happen.”

It’s not that I think designers should irresponsibly blow off style guides and have a creative free-for-all. But as creative experts, it’s our job to ask questions, challenge the rules when necessary, and push our creativity beyond its limits. Personally, it’s my favorite part of the job. The key is to use brand guidelines to maintain the spirit of a brand. As long as your brand remains consistent, recognizable and the design doesn’t suffer, the guide has accomplished its goal. As John Moore from Idea Sandbox put it, “A Brand Style Guide is essentially an internal communication compass. It provides guidance on how a business should communicate the Identity, Personality, and Authenticity of a brand.”

Common Style Guide Challenges

There are some style guide challenges every designer is familiar with. An incomplete style guide is the most common. Its creator can’t predict what all the uses for it might be in the future. For example, often it is created for print, not for digital. This leaves important brand details such as color (CMYK versus RGB), and fonts (web-friendly) up for debate. The ridiculously strict, 598-page style guide is just as tough to work with. As blogger Geri Coady explains, “Guides can be so strict that it can be virtually impossible to introduce a little creativity.” If you are spending more time measuring pixels than exploring creative directions, just take a step back. The last thing you want to do is kill any amazing ideas you have because they might not exactly fit the style guide. Sometimes, the style guide looks like the ugliest pair of moon shoes you’ve ever seen. If following the style guide is forcing you to make bad design decisions, you’ll need to bend the rules a bit, for everyone’s sake. Chances are that making some small tweaks will vastly improve the design without looking off-brand. If you can pull this off while keeping the brand police happy, nice job.

How to Design Outside the Style Guide:

  1. Know the rules before you break them. Read the style guide. Thoroughly. Really get to know it. THEN you’re ready to challenge the rules. You’ll need to have a good reason for doing so, not just because you think it’s fun to break rules. (Sorry.)
  2. When in doubt, share your thoughts with your client. Even something as small as an inverted white logo on a dark background may just have never come up for a brand. Crazy, I know. If you want to challenge the style guide, why not just talk with your client? Paula Scher suggests making your client a co-conspirator with you (16:52). Be up front and explain to them why you need to deviate from the brand guidelines. You’d be surprised how effective this can be.
  3. Don’t let the style guide become a design crutch. At the end of the day, people will see the final product and NOT the style guide you are following, no matter how beautiful that guide may be. Don’t be afraid to push the creative. The brand police will rein you in if necessary.

Above all else, just remember, “I was just following the style guide” is not an excuse for bad or boring design. Have fun and rebel — responsibly.

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Russ Sauvé, Social Media Community Manager

Snapchat is the New Facebook

Why Designers Love Whitespace

 

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IQ Spotlight: Russ Sauve, Social Media Community Manager

Russ Sauve Social Media Comm. Mgr.

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so every other Friday we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

For the official record, what is your name and your title at IQ?

Russ Sauvé, and my title is Social Media Community Manager.

What is your favorite aspect of working at IQ?

Besides the incredibly kind people my favorite aspect is that no one has said; “don’t do it that way.” I’ve asked colleagues for input on deliverables to make sure I’m headed down the right path.  Instead of negative feedback when they see an improvable moment coworkers ask questions to nudge the ship in a more desired direction. They are helping me think in a more strategic manner. Those moments have been something remarkably fun to tap into, learn, and use in my day-to-day work.

Tell me about the moment you knew that this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally?

I was fortunate enough to be employed at a live entertainment venue when social evolved to being a platform for brands. In launching and managing our social channels I became the biggest advocate and defender of our digital fans.  It was an amazing honor to help our fans experience and celebrate concerts, shows, events, and the historic venue in new ways.  Encouraging the fans and guests created passionate and outspoken advocates.

In your own words, what is “Creative Intelligence?”

Find data, sort data, and use data to create content that digital guests desire while delivering the message you want served. Utilizing what you know about your audience and giving them the awesome content they want that engages them and makes them not only a fan, but an outspoken positive digital force for your brand.

When do you feel like you actually became an adult?

The beginning of my career wasn’t exactly stellar; I got my butt kicked a lot (and deservedly so). But I would say I really became an adult about eight years ago when I started working at the historic live entertainment venue. Being a part of a historic organization where no one person is bigger than the whole and the venue always comes first, whether it’s restoring, maintaining, or serving the guests that keep it open.  That awakened a sense of humility and a desire to serve others.

QUICKFIRE:

Kindle or paperback?

iPad.

Wine or whiskey?

Whiskey.

Summer or winter?

Fall.

Cake or pie?

Neither, beef jerkey.

Pirates or ninjas?

*long pause* Mutants.

So now you know a little bit more about Russ Sauvé!

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IQ Spotlight: Marica Slaughter, Program Manager

IQ Presents #IQgifts!

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IQ Spotlight: Marica Slaughter, Program Manager

IQ Spotlight Marica Program Mgr

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so every other Friday we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

For the official record what is your name and what is your title here at IQ?
I’m Marica Slaughter, and I am a Program Manager at IQ.

Tell me about the moment you knew this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally?

Throughout high school I would take advantage of every opportunity to draw, and I loved it. So I went to Georgia State and got my Bachelor’s in Fine Arts & Studio Arts with the hopes of one day being an animator. That was the dream. So I went to get my Master’s in Animation. After three straight nights of drawing characters all night I realized I really enjoyed the process of collaborating with voice over actors, after affects animator, the sound and editing guys much more than the drawing part.

What is your role in building the client/agency relationship?

As a Program Manager I manage a portfolio of projects for an account including planning, organizing, financial and resource management.  My job is to be able to identify and manage cross-project dependencies on the account.  The account management team manages the relationship with the client, but collectively we work to ensure client goals are achievable and improve brand performance.

What is something you know now about your job that you wish you knew when you were starting out?

That’s a tough one. In your career path you try to make sure you are fully prepared for what’s to come, but I think lessons are learned as you’re ready to learn them, at least that’s been my experience. Though I would have liked to learn how to distance my personal investment in a project so professional critiques felt less personal earlier on.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

For me “Creative Intelligence” is the ability of collaborative minds to leverage each others creativity to influence and create innovative ideas.

What is your social media platform of choice?

Facebook. I just got on it a year ago, so we’re still in the honeymoon phase. I try to balance out time away from it, but it just keeps sucking me right back in.

Now it’s time for the quick-fire questions. So, waffles or pancakes?

Pancakes.

Beach or pool?

Pool.

Unicorns or narwhals?

Unicorns.

Video games or board games?

Video games.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee.

So now you know a little bit more about Marica Slaughter!

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IQ Spotlight: Tricia Gillentine, Art Director

Why Designers Love Whitespace

SoDA Report – Volume 2, 2014

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IQ Spotlight: Tricia Gillentine, Art Director

IQ-er Spotlight: Tricia Gillentine

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so every other Friday we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

Alright, let’s get this started. For the super-official record what is your name, and what is your title here at IQ?

My name is Tricia Gillentine, and I am an Art Director here at IQ.

Tell me about the moment you knew this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally?

I knew what I wanted to be before I knew the name for it. I knew that I wanted to do creative work. But it wasn’t until I was about to graduate from college that I realized what an Art Director actually was… I found a magazine called CMYK and discovered one of the portfolio schools here in Atlanta. So I moved to Atlanta to go to Creative Circus and now, several steps later in my career adventure, here I am.

What brings you the most joy in your day-to-day work here at IQ?

My Co-workers. Is that cheesy? I love just feeding off the energy here. Although, I have to say though I enjoy, but am also completely weirded out by the wildlife here. There have been two snake encounters, a vulture that just hangs out on our porch all day, and at least one lizard rescue.

What do you enjoy most about working with a new client?

I love the new design challenges it brings. It often sparks new ideas and teaches me about industries that otherwise wouldn’t know anything about.

What is your favorite current design trend?

I’m really loving the movement back to hand-type.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

I think it means making work that people will stop and look at because it’s beautiful, but then they’ll have that “A-ha!” moment while looking at it, like “oh, that was really smart” or “oh yeah, that totally makes sense.” Brains and beauty.

Now it’s time for the quick-fire questions. I’m going to ask you a series of either-or questions and you give me your first response. First one: Apple or Android?

Apple.

Unicorn or Narwhal?

Oh gosh, that’s a really tough one! Hmm. Narwhal, for sure. They’re like the unicorns of the sea!

Coca-Cola or Pepsi?

Neither. I don’t participate in carbonation, actually.

Pen or pencil?

Pen. Always. Especially the really inky ones, they’re the best.

Would you rather go see live theatre or a live concert?

Theatre play!

So now you know a little bit more about Tricia Gillentine!

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Mobile First Web Design

IQ Typography Challenge: Candy IQ

IQ brings #KNOWvember to you

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  • 11.04.14

Mobile First Website Design

by Jay Littman

Mobile First

When it comes to responsive design, the concept of mobile first is not a new one. It was first coined by Luke Wroblewski (LukeW) in 2009.  However, as time goes on, it only becomes more apparent how important designing with mobile in mind will continue to be.

As of February of this year, Americans use tablets, phones, and other mobile devices 55 percent of the time they go online.  At IQ, we’re no strangers to responsive projects. We want to ensure that this huge portion of our clients’ traffic is able to access their sites without anything breaking. But we do have internal debates over which should come first: desktop design or mobile?

I tend to vote for mobile first. We know designing for mobile is important, but why design for mobile first? There’s several reasons to explore:

1. Forced Focus

Designing mobile first forces you to focus. Because when designing for mobile, you want the quickest loading time possible. That means cutting out anything unnecessary to the user experience, paring down a site hierarchy to the essentials, and keeping the core purpose of a site as the only content left standing.  Designing for mobile first requires designing the simplest, quickest method to get the user to what they want from your site. Then, in desktop versions, expanding upon that design while keeping those core functions top of mind.

2. Smaller Real Estate, Bigger Design Challenge

One of the key elements of designing for mobile, and also possibly the most intimidating, is that space is limited on a phone screen. Mobile design is the tiny NYC apartment where you end up using the oven for storage if you don’t plan for your small space. But if you do plan ahead, you can end up with a space that is streamlined and incredibly elegant. I will admit that this is not an easy endeavor, but your designs will be better for it.

3. Enhancements versus Degradation

Let’s get a bit technical. When you design for desktop first, it means loading all of the content that would be seen on the largest platform and then reducing it to the mobile version. The trouble is your user already had to wait for all that content to load on their smartphone before they can get to the mobile version of the site… if they indeed waited and didn’t just close the page out to find something else. Designing for mobile first means allows a minimal amount of content to load first, streamlining the experience. This is a lot faster and means your site gets enhancements as it moves up to desktop, instead of degradations of content when moving down to mobile.

These are some of the things we consider when beginning a website design project here at IQ. This method may help you find a few ways to improve your user experience all over, not just on mobile. So on your next site design project, try starting with mobile first and see where this aspect of creative intelligence takes you.

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