ATF Gives Thanks

By Marli Mesibov

This year at Above the Fold, we’re beginning a Thanksgiving tradition of sharing the things we’re thankful for. It’s not an exhaustive list, but each selection below stands out as having a large impact on us as individuals and as a team.

We are thankful for new & improved usability testing

Heather: “This year has brought many changes to my role at Above the Fold, not the least of which was becoming our in-house usability testing expert.  Through my training with Perfetti Media, I can add “revenue generator” to my list of company titles, in addition to the management and operations.  I love being able to conduct different types of usability tests, from data analysis to solution recommendation.  I am grateful for my training and the new skills I have put into practice.”

We are thankful for Skype

Marli: “Over the past few months I’ve had the incredible experience of working remotely from Spain. As I’ve looked for the best ways to stay in close communication with everyone, I’ve explored everything from Gchat and Google Voice to online conference calls and screen shares. Time and again, Skype has led the pack, whether talking with clients in Boston or California, or contractors in Virginia or London. Besides being intuitive and usable, Skype allows me to have clear audio and video, set up simple screen shares, and install helpful plugins to forward calls and record interviews. Thanks to Skype, many of our clients have told me they wouldn’t believe I was six time zones away if I hadn’t told them myself! I place a high value on experiencing different cultures as part of my own process to stay innovative, and an even higher value on staying available and connected to everyone. Skype has been a crucial tool to allow ATF to both connect and globalize.”

We are thankful for repeat clients

Jim: “Though I love working with new and different people, I am incredibly thankful for the people and companies we work with who come back to us again and again to collaborate on user experience projects.  As a designer, it’s very satisfying for me to lay the foundations of a visual identity or information architecture and then revisit it to push, extend, and add new elements over time.  But more than that, I love being able to learn more about, and dig deeper into, a client’s business and company culture as our relationship grows over the course of multiple projects.  Taking the time to cultivate that strong sense of trust between us and a client is a wonderful, rewarding thing.”

We are thankful for Twitter

Joe: “I am thankful to have a tool like Twitter to give me a voice and to let me connect with like-minded individuals. It wasn’t until early this summer that I stumbled onto the true value of Twitter. Before, it seemed like just another publishing vehicle for businesses, but once I learned that some of my associates first met on Twitter and later met in-person at a networking event, the true value hit me like a ton of bricks. Since then, I’ve been able to have ongoing conversations with clients, associates, business partners and even role models, all online.”

We are thankful for MassPay

Heather: “In July of this year, Above the Fold took the final plunge in legitimizing its employees by signing up with a payroll service called MassPay.  Being the VP of Operations, it falls to me to ensure everyone gets paid on time, so as we set up with MassPay I was right in the thick of it.  Over the past few months, I’ve found MassPay to be a solidly run company, with individual attention to details, particularly by its partner, KC Commoss.  After our brief stint with another payroll company in 2008, I am able to really appreciate the easy system and individual care of MassPay.”

We are thankful for Dropbox

Jim: “I know I’m not alone here, since everyone I’ve ever met who knows about Dropbox is also in love with it.  Over the past year, it has really hit home for me that Dropbox is a technology that came onto the scene suddenly, and has swiftly become utterly indispensable.  In particular, Dropbox’s file sharing and syncing capabilities has allowed our team to work in ways that both complement our lifestyles and fit the company’s needs.  During the months when we all worked from separate houses, we were able to collaborate and share files with very little delay.  Now that we have an office, we get the benefit of face-to-face contact every day, but I can still organize my schedule fluidly — even without a laptop, I can leave the office to run an errand at lunchtime and then work the rest of the day from home, without having to worry about gaining access to the right files.”

We are thankful for our team

Joe: “I know this sounds typical, but I really mean it when I say that I am thankful for my team. They are smart, talented and incredibly hard-working. Above the Fold has grown so much as a result of their contributions and discipline. On top of that, they each have a great sense of humor, which makes working together enjoyable. In a recent client meeting, I mentioned how we all knew each other, and how Jim and Heather were married this past March. The client reacted by saying, “So, you have a family business.” And my response, of course, was “Why yes. I do!””

We are thankful for our partners and community

Marli: “Just as Above the Fold is a “family business,” we see our clients, our freelancers, and our UX community as our extended family. We’re thankful for the talented contractors we’ve had the pleasure to work with this year, and for the creative partnerships we’ve made, through both local Boston events and via the internet. In particular, we are thankful for our continued partnership with Active Frequency, which recently resulted in our new shared office space in Central Square. Thank you to all of our partners, near and far – we look forward to many more years to learn and create together.”

To all our clients, partners, friends, and family, Happy Thanksgiving!

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