Along the Assembly Line

I was a little late to work this morning due to a minor emergency at home that brought out a fire truck, the fire chief, and a very friendly policeman (at least I know my tax dollars are going to good use).

You see, the previous owner of our house had a carbon monoxide detector, which I never really noticed until it started going off last night. I don’t know much about carbon monoxide, but I DO know that it’s not something you mess with. So when the alarm went off (freaking out the dog), and a red blinking light read “Move to Fresh Air Immediately”, we did as told and opened up a few windows — despite the fact that it was about 20 degrees outside. We didn’t see it as an “emergency”, and didn’t want to call 911, so we dialed the firehouse up the street, where a very friendly guy dispatched half of the town’s resources to our little street. It may have been a little overkill, but it made us feel much better. (I’ll feel even better once we can find out if it was a real problem or a false alarm).

Given my late arrival, I didn’t get to go through my normal routine, which included coming up with a blog idea. But then a client email and short discussion with Elizabeth brought up the phrase “assembly line”, and a blog was born.

As any kid learned early in social studies class, the “assembly line” revolutionized manufacturing and changed the way nearly every factory handles its products. But today, that phrase may make some people think of a pre-processed product that is the same over and over again — which is not a good thing when it comes to advertising or marketing services.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that every project here at DDA does go through a very well-thought-out process very similar to an assembly line — with a few key differences, of course. Take the large website design and development project that prompted Elizabeth’s assembly line comment, for example.

The first step in the assembly line was a meeting (or series of meetings) with the client to determine exactly what they were looking for in a new site, whether it’s search engine optimziation (SEO), Flash animations, or just a simple, eye-catching destination. Once that was done, the assembly line broke into two branches. On one side, Mick worked to develop a menu structure that is intuitive, easy to use, and SEO-friendly. On the other side, DDA’s talented graphic designers came up with a few design concepts to show the client. Once a design was chosen, Mick’s menu structure was merged into the design, and, voila!, a great looking website (although right now it has placeholder text everywhere).

That’s where the final, and often most tedious leg of the assembly line takes over: content development. Our talented copywriters work to create page after page of content that is informative, engaging, and rich with keywords. All the time checking those pages with the client for approval so we can stay on track. When that step is over, we will turn it back over to the design team to integrate all that content into the fancy-looking pages they created earlier in the process. And finally, Jess will put some final touches on it by working her meta tag and optimization magic, creating a final product that is unique to that client, and something both sides can be proud of.

So our “assembly line” may not fit the definiton you learned in 2nd grade, and it DEFINITELY does not result in pre-packaged, boring products that look the same day after day. One look at our portfolio will prove that. But in our own way, we try to tweak our assembly line every day, creating the most effective and efficient process possible.