Get to Know Blou Designs


Blou Designs LLC is a small, woman owned custom software and training company that was founded by Barbara Olsafsky. Her passion is making people's work lives easier, happier, and more productive.

Blou Designs is a certified New York State and Erie County/City of Buffalo Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE).

About Barbara

Barbara

Barbara began her custom software career as an intern at NASA Glenn Research Center (then NASA LeRC), first in Software Assurance and then in Power and Propulsion.

Following this, she worked as a research assistant to artist Chuck Csuri, extending his use of in-house graphics software. Discussions and samples of his work can be found in the book Charles A. Csuri: Beyond Boundaries, 1963-present (PDF).

As a freelancer, Barbara has been working with corporate clients to assess their needs and design and implement custom software, data, and training solutions since 2005.

Barbara holds a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Computer Science, and a Ph.D. in Educational Technology.

In her free time, Barbara enjoys traveling and co-coaching the Buffalo State Ethics Bowl team.


Technologies

Our technological proficiencies include:

  • ASP.NET C#, Classic ASP, PHP, JavaScript, HTML, CSS
  • MySQL
  • MS SQL Server, T-SQL
  • Crystal Reports
  • Windows PowerShell scripting
  • Microsoft Office, especially Excel and PowerPoint; VBA macros
  • Adobe Flash, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

Blou Designs' Philosophy

Blou Designs wants to help you improve your bottom line and overall efficiency by designing and implementing robust solutions that meet your needs today and help you prepare for the future.

  • Technology is About You
    Understanding how your company works now and how you want it to work in the future is essential to designing the right tools. Any technology used by your company should complement your company's culture and business flow. Working with you and listening carefully to your feedback at every stage of the project is crucial to the success of the solution.
  • Technology is a Support Service
    You shouldn't be molding to your technology. Your technology should mold to you.
  • Great tools help you minimize cost and manpower hours while increasing productivity.
    It can be tough to wade through multiple sources of information to cobble together reports, make manpower staffing decisions, or even decide when to offer overtime to your employees. Custom software, data tools, and training spaces can help you leverage your existing resources more efficiently.
  • On Time
    Your time is valuable. If you're counting on something being ready to use by a certain date, it's our responsibility to make sure that happens.
  • Within Budget
    You have a lot of demands on your budget. If you put money aside for a custom project, you deserve to get what you paid for. It's our responsibility to avoid "feature creep": a never-ending cycle of new, must-have features that slowly exceed your budget. If what you want cannot be done within your budget, it's our responsibility to communicate that, too.
  • Personalized Attention
    You'll never have to worry about leaving a message with a secretary or customer support representative. You'll have a direct line to the person working on your solution.
  • Understandable, a.k.a., No Jargon
    User interfaces and training sessions should always be in plain English. You shouldn't have to translate techno-babble, or search the Internet for a definition. Terminology should never be an obstacle for using your technology.
  • You don't always need a technology upgrade.
    Sometimes the solution is as simple as training on how to use your existing technologies to best meet your business needs. Sometimes you need to fix something that has nothing to do with your technology whatsoever.

Why Blou Designs?

There are a lot of IT companies to choose from. Here are some of the things that set Blou Designs apart:

  • Trust
    Above all else, Blou Designs is interested in relationship building. We want to be a company you can turn to today, and want to turn to again in the future if the need arises.
  • No Pressure
    We understand that:
    • sometimes you're not sure if you're ready to embark on a custom project, and you just need to talk it through.
    • sometimes you just need a small fix.
    • not every problem has a solution that fits our niche.
    We won't try to sell you something you don't need.
  • Flexibility
    We mean a lot of things by this, including:
    • Short lead times
      Because Blou Designs is small, you won't have to face a lot of bureaucracy before we can start on your project. Contact Blou Designs today and we can start talking about your project as early as the next business day.
    • Ability to work with a static or evolving Scope of Work (SOW)
      Static Scope
      Sometimes you might want to define a project from start to finish and sign off on exactly that project. If your company or department has already scoped out the entire project, Blou Designs will be happy to work from that document. But if you still need some help figuring out exactly how to satisfy your business needs, Blou Designs is here to help you brainstorm for solutions and write up the scope based on that brainstorming.
      Evolving Scope
      Other times you might want to leave your options a little more open. Even if you're working with a set deadline, sometimes you're not sure what you want until you see what the software or data tool can do for you. With an evolving scope, you can request new features as we develop. Your Blou Designs developer will let you know whether those new features can still be incorporated within the deadline period and at what cost.
    • Rapid prototyping for quick development and client feedback
      In order to deliver the final product as quickly as possible, Blou Designs develops software and data tools in demo-like pieces and utilizes client feedback to refine each piece as we develop towards the final product. (In other places, people might call this an incremental/iterative approach.)

      Once we have a scope in place (static or evolving), Blou Designs will start working on the first piece of your project. As each piece is developed, Blou Designs will include you in the testing and review of that piece. This way, you get to see what progress is being made, and you also get the chance to offer feedback that refines that piece/feature so that it works exactly the way you want it to. As more pieces are developed, the pieces will also be reviewed together to make sure that the entire system works the way you need it to. Finally, with all of the pieces in place, and every piece refined by feedback, Blou Designs will deliver the final product.

      You'll never be surprised or disappointed by the final product, because you were a part of the design process.
    • Personalized attention at every step of the project lifecycle
      You'll always have a direct line to the person working on your software, data, or training solution, from brainstorming/scope to final delivery.
    • Blou Designs will work as the sole vendor on your project, as a subcontractor, or as a co-contractor
      Sometimes you'll have a huge project in mind. Sometimes you'll have a project that requires coordination across various departments, or coordination between your company and a partner company. These types of coordinated efforts might also require coordination between a team of vendors. Blou Designs is happy to enter into these types of relationships to help you get the solution you need.
    • No job is too small
      Some companies shy away from projects that will only take a few hours to complete. For Blou Designs, no job is too small.