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”
“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.
- to put into existence.
- to design; invest with a new form, shape, etc.
- to be creative, imaginative”
“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 ParmeleeOwner & 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.