Cantilever Messaging

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Our Tagline: Warm, welcoming websites – the new WWW.

Overall Brand Statement

We are a small team with a handcrafted approach to web design and development. We have worked with a wide range of clients – large organizations (IBM, American Express), startups (Flatiron School, a WeWork Company), educational institutions (NYU, George Mason), non-profits (IMF, American Cancer Society) and beyond.

Our sites are fast, user-friendly, and innovative, but also easy to change. They are designed from scratch to fit the client’s brand perfectly, and to encourage their customers to act. We obsess, we are opinionated, we seek the truth, we do things right.

We were founded in New York City in 2011. Today we are headquartered in New Jersey with staff of eight distributed across the US and Canada. We have a unique asynchronous working style that gives everyone on the team autonomy without leaving them untethered.

We work for clients around the world who value quality, user experience, respect for all, and a long-term focus.

Content Pillars

These are more than just abstract platitudes. These are the core topics that we focus on in all of our public communication, especially our marketing. These values underpin our content strategy.

Any communication that goes out should reflect one of these topics. The topics overlap with our internal values but are adjusted to communicate the benefit of those values to external groups.

Client-oriented

Digital Hospitality

We believe that websites are spaces that users enter, not billboards they see from a distance. We empathize with them and obsess over every detail of their experience. We build our sites to change and grow over time, because not only will technology change, but the market will too.

Key words: welcoming, friendly, effective

Clean, Portable Code

Development shortcuts make a site unreliable. Every aspect of a Cantilever site is put there for a reason, making our sites lean and streamlined.

We have an “object-oriented” philosophy to both design and development which makes our sites dramatically easier to modify and expand over time. Rebrand? New product? New department? No problem.

We believe that sites should be “living” – that they should regularly improve, reacting to user feedback and analytics as well as changing business goals. We offer affordable support retainers to keep sites healthy after launch. We want to be partners with our clients for the long haul.

Key words: custom code, handmade, futureproof, object-oriented, high-end, bespoke

Site Speed

A slow site is an ineffective site, no matter how great the design. From the very beginning of our process, we keep performance top of mind. Different parts of a websites’s code require different approaches to performance. We know how to approach every aspect for optimum real and perceived speed.

Key words: fast sites, high performance

Web Accessibility

For a website to reach its potential, it must serve as many users as possible. Many sites turn users away because they are hard to use if the user has visual or motor impairments. Our sites are designed and built to work intuitively for all users, regardless of ability.

Keywords: a11y, universal design

Effective Project Management

We share project information openly and without agenda. We conduct short and productive meetings. We write clearly – and a lot – to make sure everyone is on the same page.

We have an outstanding record of on-time delivery and our Clutch reviews are a testament to how well we take care of our clients during a build.

Key words: "We write what we’ll do, thoroughly good service"

Partnership

Whether with clients, vendors, or third parties, we collaborate exceptionally and with a happy attitude to get the job done on time and on budget. We seek to deeply understand the client’s brand and needs so that we make the decisions they would have made.

To add: Support department (long term relationships)

Flexibility

As an agency that handles design, development, and strategy, we are always happy to team up with other folks in any part of the continuum. We make great collaborators because we understand the fields of our specialist partners. Whether a client has an existing team for some part of a project, or wants us to work with their internal talent, we’re always happy to fill in just where needed.

Key words: "Great partners"

Transparency

Our clients interact directly with our top-tier talent and can see exactly what’s getting done by when. There is no shady offshoring, no smoke and mirrors, no game of telephone. 

Part of the reason the agency world can be so toxic is a lack of transparency. Clients are shielded from knowing the full picture. Staff must deflect and deceive internally to get work done without upsetting politics. We detest deception and seek to be transparent in a proactive way (letting clients in on our processes and knowing whatever they want about what we’re doing) and a reactive way (answering questions and responding to problems in a tactful but totally clear manner).

Recruiting-oriented

Remote Work

We are headquartered in NYC with a distributed team spread across the US and Canada. Being remote is not just a convenience for us – it’s a passion. Our mission is to make great creative work easier, and taking advantage of this new way of working without losing our creative spark is one way we’ll do that.

We are a remote company, making communication especially challenging. When you rush communication it’s easy to make mistakes. In the worst case, we can think someone else has made a mistake and we might react to it without realizing the misinterpretation, causing stress and offense. We make extra effort to be clear, open, and frank in our communication.

Work/Life Harmony

We work in order to lead the lives we envision – to raise our families, to pursue our interests, to secure our futures. The act of providing for those lives should not intrude on actually enjoying them. We choose how much we work, when we do it, and where from. We expect the company to flex around personal commitments, not the other way around. In return, we expect the best of our people in the time they choose to give to us. We use careful planning and a strong culture to deliver an unparalleled customer experience without infringing on our staff’s autonomy.

Diversity, of Everything

A diverse team is a strong team (here’s a study), and we have only ever gotten better by having a wider range of backgrounds, genders, cultures, family situations, locations, and opinions in our ranks. We don’t accept the skewed demographics of the tech industry as a given, but seek to change them, even when inconvenient for us. We require an accepting, open attitude and do not tolerate bigotry.

Design Approach

At Cantilever, we start the design process by first understanding the problem and needs that a project presents. In the planning stages, we place ourselves in the shoes of the user and frame possible solutions around their experience and how to align that experience with the client’s goals. From there, we isolate brand attributes by working closely with the client to understand how site visitors feel about the site, and use this to determine a visual and interactive language for the design. We think through everything from the big picture down to the smallest details, making sure that everything that a user looks at, interacts with, or reads carries a well-crafted and easy-to-use experience, with a consistency that makes everything feel "just right".

We take an iterative approach throughout the process, showing early sketches even in rough form to ensure that our ideas are good and achieving your needs. As designs are finalized and the project goes into development, we stay in close communication with the development team to make sure they understand the intentions behind the final designs, and will work with them as details need extra information or final tweaks in the production stages.

Development Approach

To produce great user experiences, we control every aspect of production, from strategy through final hand-crafted code. We create flexible, streamlined codebases that are built to last and evolve.

Our development work employs a unique modular process that allows major aspects of the site to change without requiring rebuilding in other areas. Our sites have complex and intricate designs, but below the surface is a logical, orderly system of code components. Each component plays a small role in the overall presentation. This “separation of concerns” makes our sites incredibly stable, but also flexible. We can create and modify features easily without overwriting or hacking around our earlier code. We can upgrade to new frontend technologies seamlessly as browsers improve. Our sites are built to evolve. Our system is unique, but comprehensible and approachable. We regularly train client development teams in it, and have consulted with clients to install the system in their products.

We like to partner with our clients over the long term, continually reacting to user feedback and analytics as well as changing business goals. Ideally, constant iteration can mean that the site never has to be “redesigned” again: it would be constantly evolving, keeping pace with current technology and style.

Our Quality Assurance (QA) philosophy is: “test early and often.” Starting from the core atomic elements, we put every aspect of a site build through its paces independently, checking for consistent behavior and usability across all devices. By the time the project is assembled, most of our sites have very few defects, de-stressing those last few weeks of a project.

Our “Why”

  • Tech
  • Design
  • We are energized by helping companies succeed and by learning about new industries and business models. We get unusually invested in solving our clients’ problems on and off the website itself.