Josh Kotlar – Design Agency

Josh Kotlar

Bringing Our Clients’ Visions to Life

Interview with Josh Kotlar, Founder of New Edge Design

What is New Edge Design and what’s the vision?
New Edge is a design studio that offers branding, product design, print, website and app design as well as WordPress development and maintenance. Our vision is to offer more than just something visibly appealing but rather a branding and design experience based on high level business know-how and market strategy.

Who makes up your clientele?
For the last six years, we have been servicing professional service providers and ecommerce site owners as well as mobile app startups. We have also worked with some inventors and startups who came to us with an idea and needed it designed in a way that would bring their product and dream to life. In short, we have a wide range of clientele but our bottom line is beautiful design with a great user experience.

How does “you get what you pay for” apply to your business?
Well, we’ve had clients come to us after trying to do it the cheap way, and they landed on our doorstep six months later after a lot of headache and stress. At the same time, there are so many beautiful templates out there these days for websites that get the message across, and we do offer that option to clients who don’t have the budget for a custom site. For a low price, we can research a template together, redo some design elements and add any missing features to get a nice looking and useful site. Although this is a great option, many clients don’t want their main face to the world to look like something they bought off the shelf. No matter what type of project you are launching, saving money now may cause you more time and money pitfalls later. I advise to do your research into the right company, and do it right the first time.

What are UI and UX? And why should I care?
That’s a great question since most people hear those terms have no idea what they mean. In the tech industry, a UX designer, or user experience designer, is primarily concerned with how the product feels. The broad responsibility of a UX designer is to ensure that the product logically flows from one step to the next. An example project is creating an easy to use sign-up process to a platform, or creating wireframes of screens for a mobile app. UI designers, or user interface designers, are particular about how the product is laid out. They are in charge of designing each screen or page with which a user interacts in order to ensure that the UI visually communicates the path that a UX designer has laid out. So why should I care? When hiring a designer for a more complex project like a mobile app, or a website with a lot of user interaction, hiring a regular graphic designer may not cut it. Some graphic designers are not concerned with how screens link to each other, nor how someone interacts with the product. Instead, their focus is on crafting beautiful icons, controls, and visual elements and making use of suitable typography.

What kind of ecommerce platforms have you worked with and what are some of their differences?
Over the last 6 years we have worked on several ecommerce platforms that our customers were either already using, or they needed guidance on which would suit them best. The market s basically split into two different types of platforms. The first is open source platforms such as Magento and WooCommerce and the second is out of the box hosted platforms like BigCommerce, Volusion and Shopify. An open source platform like Magento is among the most popular ecommerce platforms; it’s free to use and highly scalable. At the same time, the customization of a theme is very time intensive, it’s recommended to use an expensive hosting service like Rackspace or Nexcess and you need to maintain the site on your own or hire a company. When using a platform like BigCommerce, on the other hand, the site is completely hosted and comes packed with all the features needed to run an ecommerce business. BigCommerce type customers are usually smaller to medium size businesses, that can live with the limitations but prefer the ease of mind knowing there is always customer support available. WooCommerce, which is an ecommerce plugin for WordPress, has grown in popularity over the last five years as an affordable open source option.

What’s the key to making a successful app?
To get your app to stand out from the crowd, you need to focus primarily on the user experience. Customers use apps as an easier way to access what your brand has to offer, so the design should always focus on the user. When a client approaches us to create a mobile app, they usually have over a hundred ideas and are looking to take over the market in less than six months. We all know the feeling of being excited over a great idea. My job is to help our clients focus on realistic goals in a realistic world; taking into consideration budget, time and market need. While a client’s feature list may make this product one of a kind, I always begin by writing down all his features and organizing them into launch stages, with levels of priority. My initial goal is to help my clients create what’s called an MVP or a minimal viable product. Once we have stripped away all the “extras” and gotten down to the main features which will give the product the ability to test the market, we can move on to the wire frame and design stages to bring it to life.

Should every website have a mobile version?
Every new client these days wants a mobile version of their website. For many websites, creating a website version for each resolution and new device would be impossible, or at least impractical.
Responsive web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences. This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market. Besides saving us from frustration, responsive web design is also best for the user. Every custom solution makes for a better user experience as we can create custom solutions for a wider range of users, on a wider range of devices. Besides the user experience and evolving range of devices, is the SEO ramifications. According to Google; it now receives over 50% of its searches from mobile devices. Therefore, websites which are responsive are more important to SEO than ever. My advice is to make sure the WordPress site you build will be responsive, using Bootstrap if possible, and always make sure it’s in the proposal.

What type of products does Product Design include – is it only in the realm of digital and hi-tech or do you design actual products that you can hold in your hands? What are some examples of products you have designed?
First let’s define product design. Product design is the process of creating a new product to be sold by a business to its customers. Product designers conceptualize and evaluate ideas, turning them into tangible inventions and products. The product designer’s role is to combine art, science, and technology to create new products that people can use. No matter what your product, your customers expect it not only to function well, but provide total user experience. At New Edge, we create both digital and hi-tech products such as mobile apps and back ends, as well as physical products you can eventually hold in your hand. The processes for both are very similar. First we start by understanding the concept and creating a wireframe, or storyboard, using paper and pencil. Once the client acknowledges that we are going in the right direction, we turn the sketches into a wireframe using an online tool. Depending on the type of product, digital or physical, different types of tools are used. For some it may be a wireframing program like Axure or Balsamiq, and for physical products we would use 3DS Max and Solidworks. We then apply the design aspect, which shows the product in real detail as well as color and definition. For most product projects, my team can take a 3D design one step further and give the product life by either showing it rotating in 3D to see a 360 view, or animate it to show how it would work in real life. An example of a project we just designed recently was a building design for a new shul, which at this point is just a large dirt area on the side of a mountain with preliminary blueprints. After creating a handmade drawing of the future building, we turned it into a 360° model, and then created a 3D version to show future investors how the building would look when finished. We can do the same for the interior design as well. In short, we can help you bring any idea to life!

How does your wide range of knowledge and experience with startups, project management, and ecommerce put New Edge
Design in a class of its own?
With years of experience in the field, I pride myself on an upper hand in the industry. Being that I personally built many digital companies of my own from the ground up, I have not only been through all stages of the process, but have lived through the process from idea to strategy to go live. My experience working with over 50 clients, as well as employees and contractors from over 10 countries while managing a large bulk of those projects, has given me the ability to see a client go from an idea to a product over and over again with success. Covering such a large spectrum of projects from ecommerce to data to design to development, to strategy and marketing has given me the ability to offer real value to my clients. We aren’t just a design company. We offer so much more than that. If you’re looking for a company that can take your new idea or existing business and bring it to the next level, you’ve come to the right place.

What is the most exciting part of your business?
The most exciting part of my business is bringing my clients’ visions to life. Although it could be a lengthy process, when you combine strategy, marketing, design and development into a project that doesn’t exist, or exists on a low level, seeing the end result is always very gratifying. To help a client get to where he wants to go makes the job that much more fulfilling. We don’t approach clients with a ‘who’s next’ attitude; rather every client is another part of the New Edge family. We’re looking for clients who want to work with us long term and keep us in the loop with their ups and downs throughout the lifetime of their project.

josh@newedgedesign.com
O: 02-580-2740, C: 052-421-5758
www.newedgedesign.com

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