Next Step projects are designed from the inside out. Before we talk design, we discuss your “why” - the big idea that inspires your company.

To help us move seamlessly from strategy to implementation, we’ve developed a systematic process. So even at our most creative, we’re optimized for efficiency, accountability and communication. We have to be. There are more ideas flying around our offices than corks on New Year’s Eve (or at one of our launch parties).

Our process includes:

Click on each step to learn more.
30 minute consultation discovery meeting proposal kickstart meeting creative brief weekly updates demo & test launch & post launch

30 Minute Consultation

During this complimentary consultation we discuss your business & big picture goals. We also give you an overview of our services and fees. Throughout the call, we’ll both get a feeling whether our companies would be good fit. Like you, we’re inspired by more than profit; we’re looking to work with companies with a strong sense of purpose, companies who want to make a positive impact.

Why is this alignment important to us? Since we implement tools in our copy and design that can influence human behavior, we’re conscious of our greater responsibility. Maybe we’ve watched one too many episodes of Star Wars, but the insights of behavioral economics -- the study of how people make decisions -- are starting to feel like The Force and we want to be sure we’re putting it to good use.

If it doesn’t feel we’d be a good match, we’ll wish you well and possibly refer you to another agency. But, if the idea of working together makes all our hearts beat faster, we schedule the “Discovery Meeting”.

Discovery Meeting

As a precursor to submitting a detailed proposal, we’ll do an in-person discovery meeting.

This meeting typically takes 1 – 1.5 hours. We walk you through our comprehensive client questionnaire. Our goal is to thoroughly understand your business, including your primary & secondary goals, your target audience, and where you stand in your field. We’ll work together to define the project scope, determine the appropriate budget range and review any timeline requirements.


Depending on the complexity of your project, it takes anywhere from 1-2 weeks to develop a custom proposal, complete with 3 different options to choose from. Each proposal is only valid for 14 days. We limit the offer because we enjoy treating each of our clients as if they’re the only ones on earth. The only way it’s possible to deliver that high quality of service and attention is by mindfully planning our production and launch schedule.

Within the proposal’s best-by date, we’ll schedule a meeting with everyone involved in the decision-making process and decide which option would best suit your needs. At the end of this meeting, clients typically say:


“Close, but not quite.” If the proposal needs to be tweaked, we adjust and resubmit.


“Right on!” One of our proposal options met all your needs. We sign contracts, high five each other across a ridiculously wide table, and begin the project.

KickStart/Strategy Meeting

We know that every great company is inspired by a big idea. We use the kick-off meeting to dig deep into your company’s ultimate purpose. You’ll find that our simple questions breed profound answers.

Depending on the scope of the project, we’ll meet 1-3 times in person, usually for 2 hours at a time. In addition to understanding your core purpose and unique strengths, we’ll outline the overall strategy behind the project. We’ll discuss your target audience and bring them to life by distilling them into web personas, complete with needs, hopes and hesitations.

Creative Brief

If your website includes custom design, we conduct a “creative brief” meeting prior to starting the design. It typically takes 1– 1.5 hours. If your location and schedule make it difficult to meet in person at either our San Francisco or San Jose office, we can also do this meeting over the phone using a screen sharing software.

We’ll review the design requirements for your site, including color/look/feel/style, sample sites that you like/dislike, etc. Our goal is to pinpoint the design elements that would best represent your business. Depending on your needs, we will also introduce some behavioral economics tools, from anchoring pricing to strategically setting your defaults.

Weekly Updates

We keep you in the loop with weekly updates. We also use simple and effective tools for file and project management so you’ll always know the status of your project.

Demo & Test

Once we start the development phase for your project, we put your website on our client demo area.

This allows you to see the entire site as it is being developed and to have us take care of any changes and tweaks. This is also the time we put on our gloves and vigorously test your site. We want to ensure it performs equally well across all browsers, under all conditions. We use over 1,000 combinations of browsers, OS and plugins.

Once your site has passed its tests and you’ve officially approved it, we’ll be authorized to launch.

Launch & Post Launch

This is the day you share your business with the world. But it’s not over. We’ll send you tips and marketing materials through our Social Media Sites and Client Newsletter.

We continue to care long after you’ve pushed the Launch button. We pride ourselves on being a valued, long term resource for our clients. Ask us about ongoing maintenance plans or getting help with specific marketing campaigns.

Don’t be surprised if you continue to get Holiday Cards and curious check-ins for years to come.