Team spotlight: Creative Director, Dave Rice

Joining Cognique in 2009 as a Graphic Designer, Dave has been a strong creative influence for nearly 13 years, breathing life into client’s ambitious visions, websites and naturally, our own creative direction. We find out more about Dave and the future plans for Cognique.

What’s your role at Cognique?

As Creative Director I oversee the creative side of the business. I’ve naturally navigated towards specialising in website design, as well as managing all website projects from inception to completion for our clients.

How does the website process work?

Initially, Nige is involved in liaising with new clients and once they’re on board, I work closely with them throughout the entire project. This is generally a six month period, depending on the scope of the project, which involves the following elements;

1) Research

This is a fundamental part of any website project. From identifying user personas, analysing a client’s existing site, user interviews, mapping user journeys and flows and creating the information architecture of the website (what we call the sitemap); this research formulates everything else within the process and ensures the UX (user experience) will be slick, enjoyable and memorable.

2) Visualisation

We use Figma, a collaborative interface design tool which allows for an interactive design process. We create high fidelity prototypes so our clients can experience transitions and get a better feel for how a user will flow through the website, combining UI (user interface) and UX design. We also test the website on a selection of end users, which allows us to tweak any design elements before starting the development stage.

3) Development

Our Technical Director Jim, builds our websites, bringing the creative concept to life! All our websites are bespoke and built on WordPress. As well as designing and building websites that focus on the user and look the part, we also aim to create a product that improves the client’s day to day running of their business by integrating with any internal systems to improve productivity and efficiency – this is where Jim’s development expertise and technical know-how really comes to light.

4) Testing

The testing of a newly developed website is absolutely vital. We ensure that no matter what device, screen size or browser the user is viewing the new website on, they’re going to have a consistent, positive experience. So we test and test again to make sure the website works on different browsers, devices and screen sizes.

5) Go live

There’s usually a slight down time when a new website launches so, depending on our client’s busy periods, we launch when it’s a quiet time for them. Evenings or the end of the working week is generally the preferred option for our B2B clients. For B2C it’s usually late evening or early morning. 

Why is UX so important to website design?

UX is about putting the user first and fulfilling their needs while on a website. Every website has goals, whether that’s to generate more enquiries (B2B), or increase sales (B2C). However, in order to achieve those goals we have to fully understand the needs of the people that will be using the website.

By focusing on the users we are able to design a product that provides a positive experience that’s intuitive, enjoyable and memorable as they flow through the website towards their end goal. UX is very emotive and by creating a memorable experience you’re more likely to create loyal customers.

Interestingly, when you use a good website, you might not necessarily think about it because it simply works as expected. But when you have a poor experience, you’re unlikely to forget it and that instantly creates a negative impression of that business or brand.

Take us back, how did you know a creative career was for you?

Growing up, I loved to draw, I was always drawing Sonic and Bart Simpson and my favourite subjects were PE and Art. I knew I wouldn’t make it as a professional footballer but I had such a passion for Art. Maths was also another subject I excelled at but knew I didn’t want to be an accountant, so I decided to go down the Graphic Design route, which led me to studying for a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design.

When I first joined Cognique I joined as a Graphic Designer and everything I designed was for print. However, as the business evolved and the digital world really started to kick off, my role gradually shifted towards website design. Technology is constantly advancing, so there’s always something new to learn and experience, especially around UX. This is where my passion now lies, I can’t remember the last time I designed something for print!

What’s the most satisfying thing about your job?

Without doubt, seeing the website design come to life and the stage when the website has been developed. We pride ourselves in great client working relationships and a website is a very collaborative project. So it’s really rewarding when a website goes live, the client is happy and we start to receive positive feedback from both them and their users.

What are your ambitions for Cognique?

The core goals are to grow both the website and marketing sides of the business. However, my personal ambition is to build a dedicated team of UX specialists and make UX design and UX research more accessible for Somerset businesses.

What do you get up to outside of work?

I’m a dad to two young boys; Leo’s 5 and Jude is nearly 3. My wife Em and I met at University, so we have known each other a long time. When not spending time with my family, I like to play squash, golf and have just started PT sessions to help with my overall fitness. Before having the boys, I did a number of triathlons, cycle events and football training which kept me very active. Now I have no time for any of that as it’s all about outdoor activities to wear the boys out!

I’m passionate about making change and have a real interest in keeping an eye on my carbon footprint. As a family we recycle as much as we can and use renewable energy, just trying to do our bit to protect the world which our boys are growing up in. As a business we are looking to do more in our local community, starting with a Surfers Against Sewage beach clean.

Does your business need a new website?

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Our industry expert

Nigel Reece

Managing Director

Standing at the helm of Cognique, Nige is a strong believer in the value of professional networking and strong business relationships. He also still finds time to exercise his creative muscles, designing attention-grabbing brand guidelines and concept boards for our clients.

Nigel Reece profile photo

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