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Huge: tour their Dumbo offices and their prototyping process [PHOTOS]

The Huge product design team has struck on a workflow that they believes makes their work faster, better and easier to sell. “We design by prototyping,” Thadeu Morgado, Associate Product Design Director at the Dumbo company, said.

Huge staff like to bike commute Photo by Brady Dale.
In a previous version of this story, we misattributed Thadeu Morgado as an "Associate Product Design Director" when he is a Product Design Director. We also called the area off the Client Services kitchen a standing desk area, which is not how Huge staff characterizes the space.

The best way to figure out how to build a web product is to start building it. The product design team at agency Huge has struck on a workflow that they believe makes their work faster, better and easier to sell.

“We design by prototyping,” said Thadeu Morgado, a Product Design Director at the Dumbo company. “We use it as a design tool.”

The product design team is a little over four years old, and its prototyping strategy evolved early in its existence.

When Alexandre Saddi, Product Design Director, joined the team from a media company about four years ago, he already saw that prototyping was important to the group. Now, it is the heart of everything they do. The team had about five people on it then, but has since grown to 16 people.

“We believe we get answers by designing,” Morgado said. “You can spend a long time doing UX research and stare at a site map and feature list for a week, but you should just start designing.” The product design team is made up of designers with coding skills. Technically Brooklyn spoke to three of its leaders and they said it is also a team where everyone gets involved in basic design work. They are all building wireframes, testing products and taking them home to play with them and see how they really work in real world applications.

The team believes that prototype driven design has a variety of advantages:

  • When it is time to pitch a client, they can build a prototype fast to take to the first meeting. Rather than describing the idea, they can just show it.

  • It’s faster. Rather than making a plan to build they get started building and let the process show them what the product needs. That gets them to the point where clients and colleagues can begin testing sooner.

  • Clients can be involved from the start, coming into the office and giving feedback, taking part in conversations with the team and using the product as it iterates. “Whenever possible, we bring clients in and make them part of the team,” Saddi said.

  • Communication internally works better because they can show colleagues the part of a product they need help with rather than trying to describe it.

This process was used when the company made a variety of apps for MTV.com. When it came time to make the iPhone app, they had a client meeting with screen shots and images up on a big screen in a conference room. It wasn’t getting through, though.

Since they already had a basic product built, Morgado loaded it on his iPhone. He opened the wireframe up and passed it around the room. Once they saw it on an actual device it made sense and the client was convinced.

Huge was founded in 1999 and has 725 employees in eight offices around the world. If you make it to five years at Huge, you get a custom designed axe by Best Made, like one in one of the photos below. If you meet someone from the company at some point, break the ice by asking them the axe story.

Here are some photos of the Dumbo space.

Huge foyer

Reception at Huge.

Huge Creative Staff

Creative and Strategy

5 year axe at Huge

A 5 Year Axe inside an executive office.

Client services staff at Huge

Client Services and Engagement

Standing desk

This space is off the Client services kitchen.

Far end of the client services space

There are a lot of large canvasses like this around the space.

The Bieber conference room at Huge

Conference rooms all have celebrity names. This is the Bieber.

Looking out from the Huge War Room

Looking out from the War Room. The social media team runs accounts for several clients, monitoring activity on several giant screens while the news runs off to their right.

In the tech offices at Huge

The tech offices appeared to have the most game stuff.

Tech support at Huge

Tech support, home of the company’s best couches, according to our guide.

Companies: Huge
Series: Brooklyn
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