We first met with Labs, formerly known as Keyteq, back in 2014, when they had recognised that our team is quite acquainted with technologies they worked with and that we’d make a reliable partner for eZ platform projects. The fact that we have been working together ever since, proves that their judgement was right.
While Netgen is mostly oriented on web development and UX, Labs is set up as a full-service agency, recently quite focused on problem-solving and customer experience. Despite that, or maybe precisely because of that, we worked together quite well and successfully on many projects, mainly those on the Norwegian market, such as - Kavli, Frydenbø, Kverneland, Fjord1, Melk, Jamax/Alutec and Forlagshuset.
The good culture fit between Labs and Netgen is probably another reason why our collaboration stood the test of time. During the past seven years, we had a lot of opportunities to meet and work together, plenty of times during our Web Summer Camp, for example. The past year was harsh on all of us when it comes to live get-togethers, but we are hoping that 2021 will be kinder to us.
We had a word with Stine Vinnes, Labs GM of Technology and Design, to give you a closer look into Labs work and how their team uses Netgen Layouts in various projects.
So, what kind of web projects do you do?
Over the past few years, Labs has been less involved in basic web development projects than previously, as we are working more and more with delivering customized solutions. We aim at being pragmatic when choosing technology. Our main areas of expertise are UX and service design, web development (front and backend), digital marketing as well as consulting. Some of the most recent web projects have been based on Sanity.io or WordPress - where we have contributed both on concept, insight, UX design and development.
Can you tell us more about some of the latest projects?
I can name a few. For example, we created Freelearning.io, a global digital library in response to the Covid-19 situation. Or another one - Coast Center Base is a yard service company handling complex maritime projects. For this client, we have not developed their web page, but rather their internal project management system. We also still have some of our clients on eZ, the most active ones are Fjord1 and Frydenbø.
What do you consider to be the biggest challenges in web development today?
Technologies are evolving and changing fast. It's also getting more and more user friendly and we see that many platforms make it possible for companies to create a new website with a few clicks. This has led us to focus on more complex web development projects since we cannot compete with speed and cost when it comes to “two-click web site”. We deliberately took the harder path but it provides us with growth, knowledge and a sense of satisfaction that we refused to settle with easy solutions and the best of all; better services for the end users.
Labs uses Netgen Layouts for several projects. What are your thoughts on Layouts?
In Labs we generally really like Netgen Layouts and the way they make it possible to build a frontend in eZ. The fact that we have used it for so many projects speaks volumes about its efficiency. So far we have not used Netgen Layouts with other CMSes other than eZ.
Which Netgen Layouts options do you like most?
We like the new functionality for translating layouts as this speeds up the entire process quite significantly. And, yes, the preview option is rather helpful, as it gives an instant check-up of the entire frontend, again saving you time while making additional adjustments. These are our clients’ thoughts as well.
What would you like for Netgen Layouts to offer in the future?
It would be quite neat for all of our clients to use Layouts having full access to making any changes they want. Of course, this is not yet possible, and right now our team occasionally jumps in to make changes that our clients still can’t do on their own. So, any step closer to even easier use of Layouts will be welcomed.
Finally, give us a glimpse into the future of web development. How will it change? What trends can we expect?
I think we can expect a lot of influence related to artificial intelligence which has already developed rather quickly and is making considerable changes in our digital lives. It will get very interesting to see how it could impact web development and consequently, the overall way we consume any digital content. Besides that, voice-activated technology is another trend I find very promising. We are already using it to some extent and on some devices, but I believe that this is just a humble beginning of what this technology could really offer.
Stine at our Web Summer Camp.