Behind the scenes with Toolhouse development: siloed no more



At Toolhouse, our developers play an integral role in the conceptualization and creation of rich, interactive, digital experiences. Working hand-in-hand with strategy and design, these ninjas of binary code bring meaningful ideas to digital life. Here’s a look at how this technologically adept department fits into our agency process.

The biggest advantage is that designers and developers working together will come up with different and better solutions than if they were working in a vacuum.

What is essential to a successful development team?

Toolhouse VP of Technology, Kevin Stock, says his team’s effectiveness stems from three key ingredients:

  • Flexibility
  • The right tools for the job
  • Open dialogue

“We understand that requirements and priorities change, as a project grows. That’s why it’s important to embrace flexibility,” says Kevin. That flexibility keeps the team agile, while access to the best tools helps them work efficiently. “Whether it’s hardware that has the right capabilities, software that helps automate things, or internal tools that take care of repetitive tasks and solve common problems, it’s important for our developers to be well-equipped,” says the programmer and company partner. He also credits open dialogue with ensuring that the team defines and implements a technical solution, as early in a project as possible; one that fully realizes the design vision.

Meet Toolhouse developer, Kit Shaughnessy

What pain points do we overcome for clients?

In this mobile age, with its limitless screen sizes and platforms, the schools of design and development have become wholly reliant on each other. Designers need to know from developers what can (and can’t) be done; and developers need to understand the latest design trends, so they can figure out how to deliver during the build phase. We nurture this symbiotic relationship at Toolhouse, and that means our clients win with projects that run more smoothly, are cost-effective, and work in the best way possible.

What are the benefits of developers working alongside their designers?

The biggest advantage is that designers and developers working together will come up with different and better solutions than if they were working in a vacuum. In fact, they frequently develop ideas together that separate teams might never have identified. When the two disciplines work in tandem, everyone on the project understands what’s technically possible, prototyping is rapid and allows for testing before we even start a build, and we are able to deliver against the original vision for the project in ways that meet, and often exceed, expectations.

What are some of the big digital or technological changes we’re currently seeing?

Mobile, and its corresponding need for responsive web design, (websites with content that reflows to fit a variety of screen sizes), is mandating a more modular approach to content. “Modularity is still an emerging field in terms of how you create and structure your content,” says Kevin. “It is where design, development and content converge, figuring out how to store and use all of that content in the right way.” In fact, the collision of responsive design, content sharing, and content embedding is changing the way we view “pages” in web design and development. Our development team keeps a keen eye on these issues throughout the life cycle of a project, ensuring everyone understands what has to happen, all the way from early concepting and design, through the build.

And, what’s on the horizon?

HTML5 and a host of coding languages now give developers the tools they need to make a website experience as interactive and engaging as an app or gaming experience. Soon, users will come to expect interactive 3-D graphics and visual effects in the same way they have come to expect websites to have images, videos and other 2- dimensional visual elements. The key for developers, designers and content creators, however, is to use this exciting new technology only when it enhances the user experience and underscores brand messaging. At Toolhouse, we don’t start with the technology. We start with the user needs, and make the technology serve those needs.

Looking to develop your career, as well as good code? Check out our job openings

Take a look at our work to see out principles in action

Let’s talk.

embrace@toolhouse.com | (360) 676-9275