During our meeting at the BNI a few weeks ago we met Guy from Guile Digital, a web and digital development agency. Guy, who is based in Letchworth, agreed to talk to us in more detail about Guile, their work and digital and technology in general.
1. Introductions, can you tell us a bit about Guile Digital?
Like a lot of good stories, the founding of Guile Digital began in a pub one evening. I was approached by someone I knew as being, “handy when it comes to IT” and that they had a problem I might be able to solve. I tentatively agreed to hear him out.
It turned out he was having trouble when it came to creating, editing and sending some PDF reports to his clients. On hearing him out I knew I’d be able to find a solution for him but I’d need a bit of support. So, I rang a friend, agreed to split the payment, developed a solution and from there Guile Digital was born.
As it turns out, from talking to other contacts and as word got out, we attracted more clients until gradually, what was a one-off project in Guile, became a full-time job!
Between myself and my business partner Liam, we have over 20 years’ experience in digital development and IT solutions. We also cut our teeth working with some big name companies like McDonalds, BMW and Playstation.
2. What’s your relationship with Letchworth?
I lived here for two years while working for a local company and was just struck by how pleasant a place it was. Its greenery and tranquil environment really appealed to me.
I then moved to work in Ireland and when the time came to move back across the Irish Sea, Letchworth was the place. There’s always something going on and I’ve found it a place where the community really looks out for each other. I’ve recently become a father and I can attest to the fact my neighbours are slowly becoming like a family with their helpfulness and thoughtfulness.
3. What kind of things do you develop for clients? Who are they?
Our clients range from large multi-nationals through to small local companies and start-ups.
In terms of our work, we’ve gone from just doing development and now offer a complete range. We create websites, e-commerce, do logo design, social media consultancy, web copy, SEO. We’re always open to new ideas or concepts (which we get to later) and if it’s really something not suited to us, chances are we can refer you to someone who it is via our BNI links.
4. What are the digital trends you’ve seen over the last few years?
We live in an age of users wanting instant gratification. If you want to buy or find something out, you want results quickly. You also want that experience to be as seamless and intuitive as possible.
This means I see mobile ordering and geolocation tracking becoming even bigger business than it already is, but it needs to be done right.
Too often companies will just pour money in to apps without thinking about the user and customer journey and the link between app and web channels. If your users have a problem or issue ordering an item via an app, then you should be considering how your website can interact with it to help guide the user’s next interaction.
It’s this kind of thinking that we offer to clients, it’s more than just delivering of a digital product or service, it’s how they are really going to improve your user experience and improve your business.
5. If someone is thinking about starting a web/digital project, what advice would you give them when putting a brief together?
I apologise now for going in to full-on buzz word jargon.
We work in an agile way as a company. We work in two week sprints with the aim of delivering small scale products or prototypes in that time. These are then tested and refined with the user to make sure they work as desired.
They key thing for us to be able to work in this way is to, from the outset, have a clear understanding of the user journey and touchpoints with your digital platform, be it an app, website, back-end system etc. We will spend time with a client at the beginning of a project mapping out these touchpoints and requirements, no matter how trivial they may seem. If you want to deliver a platform for a use to be able to buy food, you still need to consider how they change their delivery address, or save their basket for example. If you can come to us from the outset with these considerations in the brief, you instantly win brownie points from us!
6. What are you working on currently, if you can tell us?
We’ve got a nice and varied workload at the moment to be honest!
There’s an events platform in development designed specifically at a demographic, a website to develop and host alongside an app, a POS system, the list goes on.
We’re also working on a couple of “concepts”. This is where somebody can approach us with an idea, but perhaps not the full means to develop it or map it to completion. What we’re starting to do is, after understanding what the development needs to do and if it’s a sound investment, we’ll develop it and as demand for it increases, we’ll sell it as a platform.
So a client can have access to the platform, use it, feedback how we can make it better and then help us to provide it to others in their sector. That way we lean on their expertise in making it a better platform for their peers and they receive a continually evolving platform.
7. Where do you see digital going in the next few years, will VR and AR become more commonplace and accessible?
I don’t think VR or AR are quite there yet. Like many others I rushed out to get the Oculus and Playstation VR sets but now rarely pick them up. I can see the practical uses for VR and once the technology becomes ubiquitous things may change.
For me, it’s the continued rise of geolocation that will keep growing. Where businesses and organisations will be able to alert users to news or offers based on their movements, that’s an area I expect to see more growth.
For instance, if I was to head to a drive-thru, I’d want to be able to order and pay in advance and then, while on route to pick it up, the order gets prepared when I’m within a set radius. That’s what I’m sure is being worked on at present.