J Cornelius of Nine Labs knows a thing or two about how to grow a startup (which you can see from our previous feature). He built his first company in high school, later selling it and joining the team of a fledgling startup called CoffeeCup Software. Under his leadership, CoffeeCup grew into a web-design software powerhouse, serving over 500 million (yes, that’s half a billion) users around the globe.
Now Cornelius serves as co-owner and president of Nine Labs, an Atlanta-based, digital design agency that focuses on UX/UI design and digital strategy and execution. Upon founding Nine Labs in 2012, J knew that in order to provide clients with top-notch design and expertise, he had to surround himself with the best people in the industry.
“Where most design agencies think about aesthetics first, we think about achieving goals – business goals and user goals,” said J. Cornelius. “We focus on where those goals overlap and how to create interactions that benefit both sides. That’s not to say aesthetics aren’t important. Our work is beautiful. The difference is that we make it work well first, and the beauty follows.”
Cornelius built his Nine Labs team first with Brad Weaver, owner of Suckerpunch Studios. After several years of working together, J and Brad realized that combining their talents would result in design magic, and a merger was set in motion. The partnership was finalized at the start of 2015 under the Nine Labs brand. Since then, they’ve been off to the races, with work coming in more quickly than they ever could have imagined.
In the last year, the Nine Labs team has nearly tripled in size as the company’s co-owners try to keep pace with a workload that is expanding by the day. J and Brad believe that in order to truly be successful as a small business, Nine Labs has to attract the top talent in the digital design field. They have made it a point to surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are (they appreciate humility).
The team is now fully staffed to handle any UX/UI design projects a client brings their way and have some brilliant minds considering digital strategy and execution. While J handles more of the day-to-day operations, Brad is acting Director of Design. Miranda Hocevar keeps everyone in line as Managing Director. The team also includes a project manager, a visual designer, a UI designer, a presentation-layer developer, a UX designer, a UX researcher/strategist, and a content strategist.
Nine Labs is not just another run-of-the-mill web design shop. On the contrary, they don’t actually build a lot of websites. The team mainly focuses on improving user experiences by figuring out how to make websites and mobile apps easier to use, helping improve customer retention, understanding why people abandon shopping carts, and strengthening brand loyalty.
This digital A-team consistently produces high-quality UX design, UI design, digital marketing strategy, application prototyping, marketing microsites, and brand naming and identity. The web world can be difficult for any company to navigate, and in this day and age, website quality and functionality isn’t something you want to skimp on. If your business needs some help with its online presence, give the Nine Labs crew a call – you’ll be glad you did (we at Hypepotamus are – they designed our site).