Our History & Vision
Mere was founded in 2011, bringing Matt’s broad experience in the industry to the table with our skilled team of artisans to create beautiful, effective, custom Web presences for a wide range of organizations. We believe that our work makes life a little more pleasant for people as we make the Internet a more beautiful and usable place, one site at a time. Mere is a small but mighty agency, and we also have many skilled friends and partners in the industry. We are able to unite a team of specialists to cover nearly any sized project.
Our Design Philosophy
Content → Interface
At its core, our craft is about delivering two things: Content, and an Interface for that content.
Your content is the reason your site exists
The whole task of Web design is getting the users of your site to the content they need as efficiently and pleasantly as possible. As such our core philosophy is usability, or “user-friendliness.”
Over my 16-year career, I have picked up a number of key principles that maximize usability:
At its core, our craft is about two things: Content, and Interface for that content.
Don’t Make Me Think.
This is the sum and goal of usability-focused design. Our work is to minimize work for the user, to minimize thought, to seek to make every aspect of the site as immediately evident as possible. This is accomplished primarily through excellent information architecture, minimalistic graphic design, and a deep understanding of the relevant industry research, and specific testing of your site’s user base. The other principles flow from this principle.
The smallest effective difference.
A call to minimalism in design. A combination of Edward Tufte’s work in “Visual Explanations” and Dieter Ram’s 6th and 10th principles of design: “Good design is honest” and “Good design is as little design as possible.” Focus on the essential. Do not seek to manipulate the user or obfuscate what is really present. Do not burden the design with non-essentials. Design is as-subtle-as-possible, while still remaining effective.
Because we are seeking to minimize, or when possible, negate, the learning curve involved with using your site, we should follow current Web design conventions to the degree that they help a user find what they need on your site. Note: because much Web design is done apart from research and usability-thinking, there are some “popular” Web design trends that are copied between many popular sites that do not actually serve this purpose. These should be avoided.
Every user of your site should have full and unhindered access to every function of your site, regardless of what device, platform, technology, or assistive device they are using to browse it. W3C Web Standards exist to ensure that this is possible.
Form serves function.
An old Shaker proverb that ought to be applied to the Web says “Do not make something unless it is both made necessary and useful, but if it is both necessary and useful, do not hesitate to make it beautiful.” This is the final principle on purpose, but an important one, and an important aspect of craftsmanship. In line with the above principles, we should also seek to make sites beautiful for our audience. These principles all lead us to focus on typography and relevant photography and videography as our primary design elements.
Some feedback from some happy clients, for your consideration.
“Working with Matt Heerema, Vinnie Dauer, and others at Mere Agency to build the Sovereign Grace Music website was a joy. They were responsive, eager to find out what WE wanted for the website, and skilled at what they do. We experienced their encouragement and care throughout the process and beyond. I’ve already recommended them to others, and I’m happy to recommend them to you!”
Bob Kauflin // Sovereign Grace Music
“Matt is a skilled Web strategist who has provided me invaluable assistance. His knowledge is both deep and wide. He looked at the wide range of products and strategies available to me and helped me narrow down to the few that would best fit my requirements. I gladly commend him to you.””
Tim Challies // Challies.com
“Let me say something about Mere’s service for anyone who hasn’t experienced it. I moved my company from Bluehost to Mere. The performance difference was instant and stunning. I spent hours cruising around our site marvelling at the page load speeds, in the front and back of the site. Our daily production was immediately eased because the CMS was suddenly a swift, unencumbered pleasure to use. We’ve had occasional questions, requests, and the sort of problems that all sites experience from time to time, and Mere has always been fast and effective. It’s a joy having a small team of ninjas available when you need them…which isn’t often. Full-on recommendation of Mere Agency.”
Brad Hill // Rain News
“There Mere team is simply remarkable. After working with them on a variety of projects, I’ve found them to be remarkably responsive, skilled, and effective in their work. They know what they’re doing and they’ll get it done for you. Mere gets my unqualified recommendation.”
James Kinnard // The Useful Group
“When it comes to Web design and all that is entailed within it, Matt and his team, have by far exceeded our expectations. The wealth of knowledge and experience that they poured into this project brought us above the bar and we are well pleased. I would gladly recommend he and his team for any Web project that you may be considering.”
David Day // First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS
“We have been very pleased with the way Matt and the folks at Mere Agency were willing to help us work through and come up with an overall, comprehensive plan for moving our isolated website, stored on a commercial server, over to become part of a complete, integrated and more fully automated IT system with working elements we previously never had.
I personally have and continue to appreciate Mere’s commitment and dedication to explore and recommend ways of doing all this in as simple and straightforward of a way as possible. I have never had the feeling they were trying to push all of the ‘bells and whistles’ upon us that might have otherwise been possible. I have always had the sense they were trying to help us build a system that was right for us; an IT systems could grow and expend and complement our capacity to make use of it. It’s been a big job, made quite possible, with the help and direction we received by Mere Agency.”
Glenn Herr // ChinaSource
“We have worked with the Mere Agency since the Fall of 2012. They helped us create a website for our organization that promotes our business on many levels. Thanks to the Mere Agency’s attention to detail and dedication to developing a website for us that captures the essence of our company, we are proud to share our website with our customers. Part of the website they created for us includes an online store that empowers us to sell our products to our customers in a secure and reliable transaction. We appreciate the staff at Mere Agency for their consistent support. We frequently send them requests for adjustments to various sections of our website and they quickly and effectively meets our needs. They make us feel like our requests are their top priority.”
Dan Lopez // No Excuses University