Strategic Retainers

Designing useful, usable, beautiful products that achieve business results is difficult, and doing it the wrong way can be extremely costly.  It's even harder to get it right with complex analytics products.

Bad design choices can lead to wasted engineering efforts, missed market opportunities, being passed over for financing, and perhaps at their worst, a loss of prospects or customers. When multiplied, these poor design decisions compound into technical and UI debt you carry forward, impeding your ability to improve and innovate quickly.

Good design and product decisions made throughout your product development cycles enable easier sales, retention, and customer delight.  All those data points and analytics start to become what customers really want: actionable insights.

A retainer engagement with me is intended to give your team access to my 20+ years of design and business experience and enable your team make better product, UI, UX, and engineering decisions in an ongoing and repeatable manner. My primary goal is to help you make intelligent product design choices that decrease your risk, eliminate debates/wasted time, and increase your profits.

How It Works

  1. An in-person kickoff meeting will be scheduled where we align your product development and design activities with your long-term goals. Many of my clients need help defining clear, reasonable goals and objectives, and we'll also do that together if necessary.
  2. You get unlimited 24/7 access to me via email, phone, or Slack. Typically, you'll get responses to reasonable questions within minutes or hours, and never more than 24 hours, including weekends.

What's Included

Over 10 different types of interactions with me are possible. You choose what you need, when you need it:

  1. Monthly "stand-up" meeting: we will discuss what you did last month, what's going on right now, and ensure your team's forthcoming efforts are on track to meet any goals we defined earlier.
  2. Creative direction: get answers to ad-hoc product and design questions as they arise.
  3. Design reviews: you send me a specific batch of screens, workflows, a prototype, or collection of design assets, and a set of the use cases and business goals they should support, and I'll provide you with a heuristic review of how well I think the design supports those use cases.
  4. Phone/video-based participation in meetings including:
    • Design reviews
    • Product strategy consultations
    • Reviewing results of competitive evaluations
    • UX research sessions with your customers or debriefs
    • Accessibility consultations
    • Style guide reviews
    • Design handoffs to engineering
    • Development questions around HTML/CSS planning, architecture, etc.
    • Please note: meetings must be scheduled in advance and our retainer engagement does not include the creation of designs or implementing code. 
  5. "Second opinions" on new product or feature ideas you ask me about, including:
    • Strategic guidance on how to deliver the most value with the least design/development investment possible.
    • Identifying potential design/UX roadblocks or dependencies  that you may not have considered
    • Advice on whether your new ideas align with your stated goals
  6. Occasional market-related recommendations for articles or texts to read, conferences to attend, speakers to hear, or other sources of information that I feel could help you move your particular business forward.
  7. Design/UX Team Resourcing including:
    • Long-term advice on whether you have the right design resources in-house to achieve your goals
    • Hire/Fire recommendations (interviews) for design prospects who have passed your internal interview screening
  8. Monthly critiques for staff designers: Once a month, invite me to your design staff's monthly design review and I'll provide feedback or answers to questions.
  9. Product development acceleration: as I learn about your business and team issues, I can recommend ways to speed up your sprints, launch cycles, and design/dev/product engagement.

My retainer package is a subscription service available monthly, and I have very limited availability for retainers. UI/UX design work (asset creation) is not included in my Strategic Retainer offering.

To inquire about details, pricing, and availability, please contact me.

Brian O'Neill is a product designer and UX consultant who helps companies create indispensable data products and analytics solutions.