Tonic3 in a nutshell
Our Core Beliefs
Why work with Tonic3?
We connect humans. We value communication over buzz and results over pretension. Your delivered solution will be Intelligent, Elegant, Efficient, and Delightful, because that's what we people appreciate. We take particular pride in delivering within Highly Regulated Industries, where additional constraints bring out the best in our problem-solving ninjas.
Experience Design For AR / VR
Prepare your business for future transformation. We are experts at understanding how to bring your business strategy into this new medium. From training simulations, to augmented brand marketing and beyond. Our team can help you develop augmented and virtual reality prototypes to help you reach customers in new ways.
For over 27 years, we’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best companies in the world, many in Highly Regulated Industries. Hard problem in complex environment? Bring it on!
Our clients' testimonials
Tonic3’s UX team is both knowledgeable and flexible. The team worked with me to understand and translate data from user testing to build great solutions both from a usability perspective as well as a fit within the constraints of our CMS and branding guidelines.”
The Tonic3 team was able to help us meet our project deadlines by providing us with the development resources we needed, when we needed them. It was a pleasure to work with everyone from Tonic3 and I look forward to doing so again.”
One of the most beneficial things about working with Tonic3 over the last few months has been the ability to sit behind the glass and watch a user interact with our platform. We were able to take what we learned, go back to the design team, and address the relevant issues. And ultimately create a much better experience for our users.”
We looked at several companies, but Tonic3 stood out. Their comprehensive approach was very impressive... They met with developers, stakeholders, and customers to come up with a strategic plan and executed it as promised. Can't say enough about this company.”
I can’t express fully how excellent working with Tonic3 was. Dependable, helpful, thorough, and a pleasure to work with. They made a complex project with multiple stakeholders a breeze.”
The trusted relationship we have with the Tonic3 team is remarkable and has elevated our whole team to an awesome place.”
Our experience working with Tonic3 was truly great. It completely changed our way of thinking about the best way to do requirement gathering collaboratively - focused on the user. The experience was enriching for everyone involved. We ended up with complete consensus among participants, and then a final product with very high quality and excellent usability.”
Your team should be extremely proud of this work. I fully intend to showcase it whenever I can.”
The team at Tonic3 listened to our needs for a website that would reflect the neat and premium look & feel that we desired for the type of clients to which AIC Capital is trying to communicate. Content-wise we wanted something very straight-forward and easy to digest—we wanted to tell a story in a logical and compelling way. We are very grateful for the hard work that the team at Tonic3 put into the website.”
The Tonic3 team worked closely with us to develop a new digital presence for the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication at UT Dallas. Their design expertise and outstanding commitment to customer service led to a one-of-a-kind site for our University.”
These small tests were very helpful for us in various aspects. The Hotel Watch List improvement allowed us to grow this channel, the Modify Search test gave us the data we needed to transition to a vertical instead of horizontal layout, and the Promo Display helped grow the mobile business(every percentage point counts!).”
The team at Tonic3 brought third party credibility to assess our brand equity as well as better understand our opportunities for the future. They uncovered key insights regarding the “why” behind some of our strongest brand associations. Customer feedback to date has been very positive as well as has confirmed the direction we’ve taken. I’d recommend Tonic3 without reservation.”
Thank you so much for all your hard work & “herding cats” :wink: with this OTL crew! Looking forward to the launch, having a solid brand to move forward with, use of brand plan! Happy to have such an amazing company here in the district!”
Tonic3 Case Studies
Frequently Asked Questions
How is your UX process different?
There are others that do it well as well of course. In general we find that our differentiators vs. other UX teams are: User experiences are all about delivering concise, meaningful messages to the right user at the right time. A clearly defined strategy — knowing what to show, and when to show it — is the basis of everything else we do. UX and Content Strategy is not a box to check, it is a touchstone which must be referenced in every other phase of work. We incline toward action. We’ve honed the ability to kick off multiple work streams with discovery, architecture, rapid prototyping, development, testing, etc. Our process requires an engaged client because it moves fast. We don’t do big reveals. A traditional agency approach features big meetings, then a long period of silence, then a big reveal with pizzazz. That’s not us. We believe in weekly check-ins, demos at the end of every sprint, and the ability to course-correct together with our clients. Clients are partners and should be delighted, but not surprised. We deliver. Our capabilities run from Discovery all the way to a production with a live product out in the world - as well as maintenance and updates long term. Many shops can’t be held accountable from “soup to nuts” - we can be. You don’t have to use all our capabilities, but it’s good to know we understand how to deliver from beginning to end. We always have good dark chocolate at the office.
How does UX strategy impact Design?
Like much of UX, definitions are debatable but in broad terms UX Strategy is that through-line from beginning to end of the work that makes sure we are asking the right questions, solving the right problems, and building the right solutions. It’s the constant that helps align every phase and work product from every contributor. In that way User Interface or Graphic Design (what people often mean when they say “design”) are informed and guided by UX strategy.
Can you just make it beautiful?
YES! UXers often preach functionality, problem solving, and overall experience so much that sometimes those listening assume artistry and beauty aren’t important. They absolutely are! We care very much about the exact hue, the exact alignment and overall feeling that an interaction creates in the user. What we’d say is that it must be beautiful, but that beauty must also be functional. All great design (from a building to a tea pot to an augmented reality tour) does both.
Why create a prototype for My AR / VR product. Is VR or AR better for my business strategy & approach?
We’re here to help you figure that out. The two approaches work well together as well. For instance, we often build out VR simulations of AR experiences so we can work through the details along with our clients. As a starting point, the nature of the technology often helps answer the question… AR is more accessible with the phones people already have, VR requires a headset, VR is more immersive, AR leverages real surroundings, etc. We can help you think through the pros and cons for your needs/objectives
Is Research necessary? It sounds like extra time and money to me.
The most expensive outcome for a project is building the wrong thing. You need to be able to answer questions like Why are we doing this? Who are we doing it for? What pain points does it solve? What is our definition of success? It’s standard practice for us to ask for and consume any research that has been done before. You don’t have to pay us to get these answers… but you need organized direction before really ramping up investments - it’s the best way to make your investment successful.
How is user research different from market research and marketing research?
Certainly the terms are confusing and techniques do overlap. Market research usually refers to external and more quantitative approaches to understanding the environment for a product, service, or brand. Marketing research is a broader umbrella term for the various types of research marketers do; the textbook definition constrains it to product, price, place, promotion. User research (what we do) focuses on the person interacting with the product/service/brand. How does the product/service fit in their world? What are their needs, pain points, and where are the opportunities to delight them? You will hear terms like persona, journey, ethnography, and many others that revolve around the user vs. a market or a marketing process.
What are examples of some of my possible UX research deliverables?
We use lots of different tools and techniques depending on the needs, scope, timeline, complexity of the problem, etc. So the list is varied, but some examples might include highlight reels and gathered insights from interviews, parameters/guidelines for product builds, user personas, journey maps, as well as market and competitive reports.
What do you mean by Nearshore Development and what does it matter?
Nearshore is a term referring to time-zone and culture. Work done outside of your country is considered “offshore” work. Work done outside your country that is within your time-zone and is culturally aligned with how your country works is considered “nearshore”. So, for the US market, we often use our delivery centers in Latam because the time zone lines up well AND there is a high cultural affinity in the americas which impacts everything from how working teams communicate to how code is commented, to what is considered “pleasing” design and interaction. An important note - we have our own delivery centers In Latam (owned / operated by us) not outsourced partners.
How do you approach branding differently than a branding agency?
A toolbox full of techniques to understand users is a GREAT way to approach branding. After all, any experience someone has with your company or organization is in fact a branding experience. So leaning on our qualitative and quantitative insights to determine a branding strategy makes a lot of sense. UX always asks itself, Why are we building this experience? Who are we building it for? What are we solving? In branding we ask the same types of questions and we layer ones like How do we see ourselves? Is that perception accurate? How do our current and future stakeholders see us? How does what we present to the world align with the preceding questions? We then help our clients build consistent, well-executed answers to these questions. Of course, we build pretty and clever logos and branding assets, but our clients get much more.
How does UX impact branding or branding impact UX?
UX is an approach to work. Branding is one place where the approach can be applied. UX is about grounding work on insights focusing on users and we apply it to physical spaces, virtual and augmented reality, web services and platforms, web development, product development and much more. Applying a UX philosophy to branding generates deep insights and a solid, well-reasoned framework that lasts not just for the immediate needs, but for many years into the future as well.
Why does an agency like Tonic3 doing cutting edge projects even offer this service?
The short answer is that we fell into it. One of our major clients noticed our teammates had a better profile than their HR team was able to find for them. They asked us to stand up a team for them using our core teammates as well as our hiring practices. At first we said no, then eventually we agreed (major clients have that kind of weight). It turned out so well, we figured we could help some other clients as well. 5+ years later, we’ve learned a lot about how we can help. We are not a general staffing agency. If you have some specific needs for skillsets in the digital world, we are very good at filling those needs because we’ve been doing it for ourselves for 24+ years. We also have Agency experts who can help teammates assigned to you when they get stuck (for free). It’s yet another bonus you get when working with a niche Agency instead of a large Staffing company.
How do you validate potential talent candidates?
This is one of the major upsides of working with us. We know how to build a pipeline of talent, we know how to build our own talent by investing in them, and we know how to put together a team (skills+personalities+working styles). We do the same for you that we do for ourselves. That includes validation through skills tests, interviews to understand thought processes, other techniques as well as our own network (we’ve been around a long time and can name-check through our extensive connections).
How does your process help my business increase revenue?
Since our skillset works across so many industries, the answer is varied. For each project we work with clients to understand what their goals are and meet them. Some examples might be classic measurements like forms submitted, time-to-task, and lowered support calls or complaints. Others are more specific to the project like high-end client satisfaction, a successful round of funding, a working prototype that showcases an idea, successful application of augmented or virtual reality technology as a proof of concept.