Uppercut loves cats

Why Everything is Better with Cats

I LOVE CATS. If you're a cat-person, you'll understand the many reasons why cats are so lovable (for their adorable personalities and endless hours of entertainment they provide). YouTube should be called CatTube and don't even get me started on how many awesome cat memes are out there! #crazycatlady

Cat memes

The opportunity

When Meow Foundation, a Calgary cat-focused charity and humane society with a no-kill mandate, called us for creative and marketing help, you could imagine how excited we were [insert heart bursting emoji]. Art director, Shauna Hartsook, described the opportunity as a "dream job" [insert hands clapping emoji].

Since 2000, MEOW Foundation has been rescuing and facilitating the adoption of stray and abandoned cats into new, loving, permanent homes. In addition to their Rescue and Adoption program, MEOW Foundation offers a subsidized Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP)Cat Food Assistance Program and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Program for cats living in the Calgary community.

By taking a humorous and lighthearted approach, we created a campaign for 2016 around the idea that everything is better with cats. To help generate support from the public, we created a betterwithcats microsite, advertising on public transit (your commute home made better with cats), and large life-size cat stickers for shop windows – all promote the hashtag #betterwithcats.

Uppercut donated additional hours to help extend their small budget for this "good for your soul" project.


betterwithcats window sticker

Advertising on public transit.

More about the project

Uppercut importance of design

The Importance of Good Design in Apps

Design is an important principle of innovation that is often overlooked in many web and mobile apps. The app market is competitive, and it sort of makes sense to why companies want to quickly launch an app. However, not taking the time to figure out the design – UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) – can lead to frustrated users because they don’t know how to navigate your app. In addition, making multiple pivots during development (without a good plan from the start) can be costly.

As a creative director, I explain the importance of good design is beyond having something that looks nice, it’s about creating a pleasant user experience from beginning to end.  If you’re building a house, I don’t just want to know how you want your house to look but I will also want to know: Why do you want this house? How long do you want to live here? Where will it be built? Who will live in this house? You get the point. Very often during the design phase, we’re identifying potential user obstacles and strategizing for how to overcome them. Design should be considered right from the start because it determines how the app will look and function before it’s made.

Design is not a superficial investment. The level of fanciness is governed by your budget and business goals. Take the time to explore the user’s experience from beginning to end because that is where you will find opportunities to differentiate yourself from the competition.

What is good design?

Good design defines a product’s identity through creativity and functionality. It’s nicely explained by Dieter Ram’s ten principles of good design:

  • innovative (design works in tandem with technology)
  • emphasize the usefulness of a product
  • aesthetically pleasing
  • make a product understandable
  • unobtrusive and fulfill a purpose
  • honest and deliver on its promises
  • long-lasting
  • thorough with details (care and accuracy show respect towards the user)
  • environmentally-friendly (consideration of its lifecycle)
  • simplicity (less, but better)

Why does good design matter?

Creating amazing brand experiences will help create customer loyalty. Good design is necessary for changing and affecting a business’ profitability. Fast Company posted an excellent article on ‘Why good design is a finally a bottom line investment,‘ explaining how design has helped transformed companies and modern startups.

There is proof that design does affect profitability. Adobe posted an article on ‘The Importance of Design for Business‘ with some fascinating stats:

  • Design-driven companies have outperformed the S&P Index by 219% over ten years
  • Nike’s CEO is a designer
  • 13 of the 2014 Fortune 125 companies have executive-level positions or CEO support for design
  • Companies that foster creativity enjoys 1.5x greater market share

Start with the design before you begin to code.

Designing your app before you build it can allow you to get it in front of your users faster by using a prototyping tool like Invision (transform designs into clickable and interactive mockups.). This stage can help you to gather valuable user feedback on the UI and UX, and help developers plan out the building of the app.

Camp Festival even app by Uppercut.

Uppercut uses Invision tool for app design and UX.

We used Invision to mockup our initial wireframes and design flats for the Camp event app to help us validate our strategy, and identify technical issues way before development begins. Starting a project with design also helped us control the scope of work and timeline.

If you have an idea for a web product or mobile app and are in need of some UI and UX help, get in touch with us to see if we’re a good partner to help you bring it to life. You can also learn more about our product development process.

Saving clients from bad app ideas

Is Your App Idea Good or Bad?

Not too long ago, there was a lot of negative media attention around a particular app. We won’t name the app (we’re cool people) and why we’re talking about it is because we were asked to quote on the project way back when.

When the idea got pitched to us, we noticed some glaring flaws that could lead to significant problems regarding personal privacy and content ownership. We highly suggested modifications to the idea but to no avail. We didn’t pursue the opportunity and trusted our instincts. When this app finally got in front of the public, they crucified it for those reasons.

Sometimes, no is the right thing to say.

In this situation, the client didn’t want to change anything and believed the idea would find success. It goes without saying, it’s great to have confidence and perseverance but don’t be foolish in thinking that if you simply “build it, they will come.”

Creating and launching a new app can be a big challenge but it can also be a very exciting and rewarding experience. Understand the process from beginning to product launch and be ready to pivot if the feedback is indicating to do so.

Be brave and ask tough questions.

We acknowledge that our clients have a wealth of knowledge about their companies and customers, but clients are not always right which means we will challenge assumptions and play devil’s advocate along the way. In fact, to only be agreeable would be a disservice to our clients. Like any expert, we’re hired to help bring a different perspective, industry knowledge, technical information, and identify new opportunities. We are here to help steer clients in the right direction and not waste their money, time and effort.

Where to begin?

Start by defining the problem you’re trying to solve. What are your business objectives and the key metrics for success? Do the research before getting into the app design and development phase – know the competition and who the users are. Create a plan in launching a minimum viable product and gather LOTS of feedback from users.

At Uppercut, we strive to make people’s lives better through design and technology. We like to partner with people who share a similar vision and have exciting ideas. Learn more about Uppercut’s services.