Who is Red Ant?

We’re a technical web agency, and we design and build large web sites. We’re a team of developers, designers and project managers, and we’ve got a lot of experience in making fairly large sites and web apps that people engage with and come back to.

The company was established in 1996 by Ben Still, and we’re in Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia (map of Red Ant here).

What kind of stuff does Red Ant* do? What are your specialties?

We specialise in Ruby on Rails, which is a development framework. Using Rails allows us to build sites and applications really efficiently. Not only are they highly interactive and engaging (people seem to call this “web 2.0″ these days), but at the same time enjoying a high level of reliability from tools like automated testing and continuous integration

We have a lot of clients that have consumer facing sites that are relatively popular (with high traffic), and have a need to provide a compelling and interesting experience for their users. Things like dynamic content, membership, and interactivity. Another thing we do a fair bit of is to do the “phase 2″ of a project. An idea might be a good one, but needs a bigger team behind it to give it the technical muscle it needs to get to the next level. Have a look at this case study for more detail.

* Not to be confused with the other Red Ant, which distributes computer games. We know this because one day two very large boxes arrived, full of games returned from a retail store. Everyone thought this was pretty cool until we realised that (a) the other Red Ant seemed to specialise in what you might tactfully describe as “not so popular” games (Cricket World Cup 2002 anyone?) and (b) there were lots of the same game. The other Red Ant seems to have gone out of business, so we couldn’t return them. We tried trading them for coffee from a gullible barista. That worked for a while but then he wised up after he played one.

Who are your clients?

We work across a number of different industries – from healthcare to FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) to online fitness.

Our clients include:

How big is your organisation?

There are around 35 Ants. Some of these are developers, some are designers, some manage content and UGC (User generated content), and our project management team.

One of our strengths is an ability to allocate a blended team – of designers, developers, and a project manager to a project or specific issue. This means we can provide a much more holistic solution from people that really know their stuff. What might seem a technical problem might be solved by a clearer UI or copy, and we also know that not every user problem can be resolved via a visual shuffle (aka the ad agency approach of Yet Another Redesign). More information on that here.

How do you typically work with clients on a project?

We use an Agile methodology for our work, which means that each project gets split up into a series of sprints. Each of these focuses on a particular group of features.

Each sprint is 1-2 weeks, and starts with defining the work, then doing it, and then a “show case” demonstration to our team and client stakeholders. Splitting it up into sprints rather than one big burst means better communication and everyone stays across progress and objectives.

We also use plain english Stories rather than technical specs to describe functionality. This means that everyone can understand things clearly, and we don’t end up with a fat spec doc that is often printed but never read.

How do you prefer to be compensated?

Money is good – it works for us. We use it to pay salaries and rent, and buy more computers.

Our most successful engagements are when we’re working together on a project over a period of time, rather than a one off project. These typically involve some kind of retainer agreement, where we’ll allocate a certain size team to build, release and then improve your project. They might also be an initial quote/project and then ongoing work.

What if I have other questions?

You can reach us on the Twitter , call us on +612 9267 8300 or you can hassle Ben by email ben@redant.com.au.