Logo for Thrill & Create, a digital interaction design consulting company

Thrill & Create rebrand: taking amusement’s thrills to users’ devices

For Immediate Release

Thrill & Create is a user experience design consulting company focusing on digital products for the amusement industry.

Gambrills, MD (September 3, 2014)—Thrill & Create LLC, a user experience design consultancy specializing in designing digital products such as websites and user interfaces for the amusement industry, today announced its new brand identity. The company unveiled its new name, website, and design process.

Established in 2012 as Dalandan Concepts LLC (pronounced “dah-LAHN-DAHN”), Thrill & Create is the first user-centered design company focusing on digital products for primarily the amusement industry. Companies in the amusement industry which have worked with local, national, or global web design firms before now have a new option: a user experience design firm which only works in their industry, is passionate about their industry, and truly seeks to understand their business and their customers.

“Amusement parks, and theme parks in particular, have been masters of guest experience for many years.” said David Parmelee, Owner & User Experience Designer. “In the physical world, every aspect of their interaction with guests is designed. Users are now expecting this more and more in digital products. The Thrill & Create rebrand and the rollout of our formalized user-centered design process position us to help amusement parks and other amusement companies with user-centered design for their digital products.”

Using user-centered design, Thrill & Create produces designs which focus primarily on helping users accomplish their goals using a park or company’s website, microsite, app, or other user interface. The new design process begins with systematic user research and in-depth evaluations of a company’s existing product designs. After presenting a summary of review findings to clients, it proceeds through multiple iterations of ideation, sketches, wireframes, and prototypes before a product is translated into code and launched. Many rounds of testing with users and detailed post-launch analysis helps ensure a successful product launch. The process emphasizes, “It’s not done until it’s usable and it brings value to your business.”

“Rigorous user research and frequent user participation throughout our design process gives our clients a sturdier foundation for their users to market them via word of mouth.” said Parmelee. “Our use of quick iterations—Agile UX—comes from the software industry and applies naturally to design. It permits us to eliminate or mitigate users’ pain points early in the design process. That would ultimately allow our clients to keep customers engaged digitally with their brand, save support costs, and save expensive and substantial development rework.”

Thrill & Create also provides usability and user experience evaluations as separate services to amusement-industry companies seeking feedback on their existing digital products. Offered at several price points, these evaluations combine technical analysis of a digital product’s usability with feedback from real users.

Additionally, Thrill & Create reimagined their main website and moved it to http://AmusementUX.com. The new website features streamlined porfolio samples which walk readers through their design process on several projects. It also describes the company’s service offerings and aforementioned new user-centered design process in greater detail. Incorporating feedback from hundreds of users, the Thrill & Create website is the most recent result of the company’s user-centered design process.

The new brand identity will be implemented and rolled out across numerous touchpoints, ranging from social media to business cards.

For more information about Thrill & Create LLC, please visit http://AmusementUX.com. Or contact info@amusementUX.com for a free consultation.

About Thrill & Create LLC

Founded in 2012 as Dalandan Concepts LLC, Thrill & Create LLC offers user experience design solutions for digital products, such as websites and apps, to the amusement industry. Thrill & Create’s service offerings range from new designs and redesigns to usability and accessibility evaluations. Years of previous experience in software testing and development influence Thrill & Create’s design process. You can learn more about Thrill & Create by visiting http://AmusementUX.com.

Logo for Thrill & Create, a digital interaction design consulting company

Some big announcements

I have several big announcements to make.

Let’s begin with the company’s story.

Dalandan Concepts (pronounced “dah-LAHN-DAHN”) has been around since April 2012, and it has been Dalandan Concepts LLC since June 2012. It began as a company which drew upon my passion (usability and user experience) and background (software testing and development). Initially, it was marketed as though it were two companies under one roof: user experience design and software quality assurance. The company began bidding on projects, mostly user experience design work for small businesses in a wide range of industries.

In my past workplaces, I was known as someone who spends most of his vacation days at amusement parks. During the amusement industry’s largest trade show in November 2012, I happened to be in Orlando. While I was there to work and did not get to attend, I kept up with several major industry blogs as they covered the event. I flew back from Orlando wanting to have been there.

That trip sharpened my focus for the business’s service offerings. Shortly thereafter, I stopped offering software quality assurance services in order to concentrate on user experience. I was going to be the founder of the first user experience design consultancy for the amusement industry. This truly represented doing what I love for the industry that engages me the most.

(Later, I would find out that other user experience design companies, which work with physical environments, do work with the industry. To my knowledge, my company is still the only one which does user-centered design for digital products for the amusement industry.)

Within weeks, I had several prospects in the industry. I started our first amusement project in 2013, soon after the first of the year. Throughout 2013 and the early part of 2014, I worked on design projects for the amusement industry and a local nonprofit.

After I finished that work, I turned my effort toward replacing DalandanConcepts.com with a new site for the company: a responsive site using WordPress, like many of our other recent projects, so that I could update it easily with new articles and new portfolio entries.

However, analytics data showed us that few people were finding DalandanConcepts.com. Those who found the site often found it because they wanted recipes for dalandan, a tropical fruit in Southeast Asia which had inspired the company’s name. The site was providing very few inbound leads for design projects.

I had read an e-book about “pretotyping” (note the spelling). The main premise of pretotyping is, “Make sure you’re building the right it before you build it right.” Dalandan Concepts, as a company name and as a web address, was clearly the wrong it. I began designing and developing the company’s new site under the name Amusement UX – just a placeholder name which says what the company does and for whom.

So by now, you would know my first announcement.

This company has a new name: Thrill & Create LLC.

Thrill & Create is the winner of hundreds of name ideas that came from a variety of sources: friends, clients, and hundreds of poll participants. I polled hundreds of people regarding their first impressions, word associations, image associations, and competitor/product associations with each of my favorite names among the suggestions. I also tested how well people could recall the names and how easy or hard it was to spell the names properly.

(For a baseline, I included Dalandan Concepts in one of the surveys. Everyone spelled it wrong. If you did too, don’t feel bad! 🙂 )

These polls and surveys took place in several rounds throughout the Amusement UX design and development process.

So, why Thrill & Create?

“thrill (verb): to suddenly excite someone, or to give someone great pleasure; to (figuratively) electrify; to experience such a sensation”

(from Wiktionary)

“Thrill” shows that we focus on the amusement industry. The amusement industry is in the business of providing a great guest experience to a very wide range of people. The attractions and the atmosphere of each park, zoo, or aquarium are designed to thrill the guests. But each guest is different. For some people, a good thrill means an adrenaline rush riding the most extreme rides in the park. Others prefer more relaxed rides, shows, or just taking pictures while others in their party have fun on thrill rides.

“create (verb):

  1. to put into existence.
  2. to design; invest with a new form, shape, etc.
  3. to be creative, imaginative”

(from Wiktionary)

“Create” makes it clear that we focus on design. Designers become known for what they create.

Someone suggested to me the name Thrill Creative. “Creative”, as it turns out, gives a connotation in company names that we don’t want. “Creative” de-emphasizes the fact that design is a trade. So I call myself a designer, not a creative.

Several of our other suggestions also had the word creative. I was wondering what I could do with the idea of creating without positioning myself as a “creative”. Ultimately, I chose a company name based on verbs: action words; forward-thinking. Thrill & Create. That went into the last two rounds of surveys and did the best of each remaining name.

My next announcement:

The company has a new website, AmusementUX.com.

You can now find Thrill & Create at AmusementUX.com. ThrillAndCreate.com will redirect there in the future. I chose Amusement UX because this company does digital user experience (UX) design for the amusement industry.

That was simple. What’s the next announcement?

The company now has a more formalized design process.

Our first UX design projects went according to a partially waterfall process: usability evaluation, requirements, design, development, launch.

But clients and users were rightfully pushing back on some of the design ideas presented to them. We realized that trying to do everything in one iteration and then move on to the next step was not going to work for every client.

To work smarter, I decided to implement a new process inspired by agile development on projects in which the process is up to me. The new process builds in multiple iterations of design and development. The number of iterations varies from project to project. And the process is more user-centered than ever before.

So, how is this process going to be carried out?

The company now has a new strategy for growth.

I started my business over two years ago with no background in running my own business, and I had a lot to learn. Since then, I have taken courses taught by established consultancy owners, read numerous blogs, read books, and listened to many business podcasts.

But as Dalandan Concepts, I consistently found much of the development and deployment work – and, in some projects, all of it – falling on me. I was wearing so many hats: business owner, designer, developer, and deployment engineer. I wanted to spend more time designing, and I had ideas that users loved which had to stay on the drawing board because I did not have a full-time developer on my projects.

So as Thrill & Create, I am seeking to grow the company while limiting my roles to Owner & User Experience Designer. Not by hiring employees, but by building dream teams on a per-project basis. This is also called the Hollywood Model. “This project needs a developer? A deployment engineer? An illustrator? An animator? A virtual assistant? Great, let’s find people who can do these jobs best and hire them as subcontractors.”

I want that to be my mindset: when clients do not have a team in place, I can build one, so that we can provide the best products we can for our clients. And concentrating on what we are best at will help us to deliver these products smarter and faster.

Thank you, and may we continue to spread the joy of amusement.

—David Parmelee

Owner & User Experience Designer, Thrill & Create LLC.

Work with Thrill & Create

If you would be interested in having us work with you and your users on a new design, redesign, a website, a microsite, an app – or if you want me to have users test your site or take an in-depth look at how well your site is doing at usability and user experience – please feel free to contact me (David Parmelee) at info@amusementUX.com.

Join a Thrill & Create project team

If you’re passionate about amusement and creating great user experiences and you would be interested in joining one of my project teams, I’d love to hear from you and find out whether you may be a good fit. Please email me at info@amusementUX.com.