Table of Contents

About the Studio & Team

Services Offered

Project Management

Website Redesigns


WordPress Development

QA & Launch

Why Studio Simpatico?

  • Some agencies are too big. Some are too small. Simpatico is just right.
    Working with a talented freelancer often offers good return on investment… until, for whatever reason, that freelancer is unavailable. A boutique shop like Simpatico offers the nimble qualities of working with freelancers, but without the risk of your talent (and deliverables) going MIA. Our “dinner table sized” team allows us to take large projects without the bloat. It ensures adequate team and resource coverage, and enables optimal attention for our clients—but it also means the team who produced the work on our portfolio is the same team working on your brand.
  • We maintain close, friendly relationships with our small roster of clients.
    Our project manager runs a tight ship in terms of project deadlines and ensuring our clients have a direct line for questions, training, and ongoing project status updates. However, all team members participate in Basecamp discussions and meetings, resulting in open, collaborative, friendly back-and-forth relationships with our clients.
  • Our design leads are formally trained, and we have the multidisciplinary skills to create what you need.
    Bruce and Angela both completed their undergraduate design degrees at the School of Visual Arts, and Tamara has a Master’s in interactive technology from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. We believe there is no substitute for proper foundations and formal design training.
  • We have the multidisciplinary skills to create what you need.
    Our past work includes (but is not limited to) traditional print collateral (business cards, letterhead); custom designed whitepapers; social media graphics; targeted ad campaigns (copywriting & creative); trade show collateral (signage, animated video reels, leave behinds); product UX/UI design; custom designed and SEO-friendly landing pages; Nasdaq Tower animations; and more.
  • We are a true dev shop (not a design shop that outsources the build).
    Head of Development Amber Weinberg has been building custom WordPress sites for 15+ years—and has a degree in design. Our team of five developers works together day in, day out, constantly defining our best practices and evolving our starter WordPress theme.
  • We’re 100% woman-owned.
    There was a stat floating around awhile back that .1% of creative agencies are founded by women. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but it’s not many, and we are proud to be one of the few.

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How did Simpatico start?

If you go far back enough, I suppose you could say Simpatico started in the mid 90’s when I (Tamara, Simpatico owner and resident elder millennial) started building websites. But the more conventional answer is that Simpatico was born when I was bit by the entrepreneur bug and left my amazing full time gig leading a UX team at Google. Since 2014, Simpatico has grown from a one-woman shop to a team of 10 incredible, full-time employees: a blend of designers, developers, and one superb project manager. My goal was to create a “Seal Team Six” caliber, intellectually curious design and development team. We’re so humbled and fortunate to work with the amazing clients that we do.

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If I hire you, who will I work with?

There’s no mystery about who you’ll be working with if you work with Studio Simpatico. Unlike other agencies that often lure you in with the “A” team’s portfolio and then give you the “C” team, every project in our studio is led by Tamara, Bruce, and Amber. WYSIWYG.

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What services do you offer?

We are a small studio whose specialties include:

Our bread and butter is the “soup to nuts,” end-to-end process of building highly flexible (thanks to our modular design approach), easy to manage WordPress sites for our clients. As part of this process, we handle everything, including UX research, technical SEO, content migration, WordPress training, and more.

We offer UX services, but only for full, end-to-end projects with a clear scope of work and timeframes. We do not provide ongoing UX design support. If you are looking for a UX consultant (e.g. to conduct a research study to answer specific questions or work with your product team to wireframe a specific user experience), the studio is available for UX consulting projects (research and design).

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How do you communicate with clients?

We primarily use Basecamp and email for keeping track of project timelines, deliverables, and client feedback. You can read more about how we facilitate this process in this blog post by our product manager Mingwei, “How We Use Basecamp to Manage Projects.”

For larger engagements or for ongoing retainer clients, we’re happy to create a cross-workspace Slack channel during the duration of the engagement.

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Are you available for in-person meetings?

We’re a fully remote studio now, but the answer is yes (depending of course on COVID positivity rates and general safety). Tamara and Bruce (Simpatico’s Owner and Head of Design) are both based in the New York City metro area, and would be happy to meet in person as it makes sense.

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How much do your services cost?

We offer retainer agreements for ongoing/maintenance work, and flat fee estimates (based on an hourly rate) for new projects. Our minimum project budget for new clients is $30k, and the websites we build usually run in the $50-60k range.

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How do I prepare for my kickoff?

Excellent question! We’ve written a blog post that includes all the things to think about and prepare for our first discovery meeting. Can’t wait to dive in!

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What does your UX and design process look like?

Our UX process kicks off with a comprehensive discovery process, followed by the preparation and review of several critical UX deliverables, including a site audit, site map, and wireframe workshops. (We’ve outlined this process in more detail in this article.) Note that we take a modular approach to design; we’re create content creation tools for our clients, rather than static pages.

When UX deliverables are finalized, we move into high-fidelity visual design, presenting Figma mockups and prototypes. During this phase, we provide several checkpoints with our clients to ensure they are providing feedback throughout the process.

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Is SEO included?

At Simpatico, we understand that SEO is not a “one and done” process. If your marketing funnel depends on search, SEO is a critical part of the redesign process.

  • During the UX phase, we perform a comprehensive audit to identify existing issues (poor ranking, outdated content, etc.) We conduct keyword research to identify the target keywords based on client objectives and market research and a competitor analysis to research competitors to identify opportunities and areas for improvement. At the end of this phase, we share findings from the audit and research and present a strategy proposal for SEO that complements the site map. Generally speaking, search engines use factors to determine ranking that closely align with best user experience practices. We ensure your site follows an SEO-friendly site architecture.
  • We also follow protocols to ensure the site is well-optimized from a “technical SEO” perspective. We understand the importance of Google Page Speed Insights and page speed optimization, and how substantially it affects your site’s SEO (ranking in search). Our studio has researched and perfected our theme development practices to achieve high scores.
  • Our initial site audit documents the existing URL structure. In preparation for go-live, we ensure redirects are in place for any URLs that have changed to ensure we launch without any 404s.

Because SEO is never “done,” we also offer ongoing a la carte services (as part of our retainers) for ongoing keyword research and content strategy.

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What is your process for illustration work?

To ensure our clients are satisfied with the final custom illustration deliverables, we follow a trusted 3-step process. Learn more about it here.

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Is WordPress right for my project?

I recently listened to Matt Mullenweg (creator of WordPress) give, in my opinion, the perfect, simplified, succinct answer to this question in a podcast interview last year:

“You joked about putting things in a database and taking them out. If if that ratio is one to one … like, maybe like a video game or a chat service … the data architecture and structure of WordPress is not well suited, so you probably want something else. But if it’s something that’s ‘write a lot, read a lot’ — more access pattern — WordPress is fantastic for that. It can support literally millions of authors publishing things millions of times a day that get read billions of times per day. That sort of model is really good for it.”

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Do you use Divi or Elementor?

We do not; we only build custom WordPress themes. If you’re aren’t sure what that means and/or don’t know which solution is right for you, check out our article weighing the pros/cons of each approach. On the backend, we use Advanced Custom Fields Pro.

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Do you use Gutenberg?

When it makes sense, yes. If we do, we use ACF with Gutenberg.

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Is your WordPress backend easy to use?

Yes! We like to say we leverage our UX superpowers not just for the user-facing website front-end, but also to ensure that our clients’ experience using the CMS is as intuitive and pain-free as possible. This includes taking a modular approach to design, so that our clients can easily create new pages in the future.

If you’re interested in a tour of one of our WordPress back-ends, get in touch for a demo.

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Are your sites fully accessible?

The team here at Studio Simpatico (especially our Head of Development, Amber) believes strongly that an accessible internet is of utmost importance. We have many tools we use to ensure the sites we build are accessible.

In our web development process, accessibility according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is integrated seamlessly into both the design and development phases. In the design phase, our team meticulously considers elements such as color contrast, typography, and the placement of interactive elements to ensure they are user-friendly for individuals with various disabilities. This inclusive design approach forms the foundation of the project. As we transition into development, we implement coding practices and technologies that align with WCAG standards. This includes creating semantic HTML, providing alternative text for images, ensuring keyboard navigation, and optimizing for screen readers. This comprehensive approach ensures that the final product not only complies with WCAG but also delivers a seamless and inclusive experience to all users.

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What do you use for site search?

Relevanssi is the gold standard WordPress plugin for search that allows for a tremendous amount of customization in how the index is built. We use it to power most of the sites you see on our portfolio.

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Is WordPress a secure choice?

This question comes up a lot. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world so it’s understandably also the most popular to try to hack. However, there are many good practices that you can and should follow that reduce your risk exponentially. The first is going with a great host like WP Engine. We’ve outlined many more in our blog post, “How Do I Prevent My WordPress Website From Getting Hacked?”

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I have designs. Can I hire you for development?

If you’re looking for development work only, we only provide pricing estimates if fully completed designs are provided to us (noting we only accept XD, Figma, or Sketch files — no Photoshop or Illustrator files). Our minimum project budget for this type of engagement is $15,000.

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Do you handle maintenance?

For sites we build, absolutely! We offer flexible retainers for clients who wish us to provide ongoing support. Unfortunately, if a client chooses not to purchase a retainer, we cannot guarantee availability for fixes.

For sites that we didn’t build … it depends. We only work with custom WordPress themes (though we wholeheartedly believe that some sites’ business objectives are best fulfilled using a premade theme — check out this post if you’re not sure about the difference). If you’re looking for help with an existing site built with an existing theme, we can perform a quick code review to determine whether we’d be the right partner.

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Do you offer website hosting?

No. For WordPress sites, we recommend our friends at WP Engine. Here’s why.

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Do you do content migration?

Yes. If it’s a WordPress-to-WordPress situation, we can use straightforward import/export tools. If we’re migrating from a different CMS, as long as the data is sufficiently structured, we will likely use WP All Import and the ACF Add-On, a powerful tool for mapping and importing structured content.

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How does the QA process work?

You’ll work in parallel with our team, testing and reporting bugs on our staging environment. (Learn the difference between Staging vs. Production Environments.) Here’s a guide we wrote about how to QA to ensure a successful launch.

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Do you include any bug-fixing period after launch?

Yes, the final weeks of the project are devoted to QA and bug fixing as you’re finalizing content for go-live. Additionally, our contract includes a 30 day warranty period in which we’ll fix any discovered bugs. (We define ‘bug’ as any aspect of the build that does not match the requirements defined during the UX phase.)

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