WEB DESIGN CAPABILITIES

OTHER CAPABILITIES

  • Intro.
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Content
  • Coding
  • Testing
  • Hosting
  • Updates

Introduction to the Web Design Process

If you have a business you need a web site.  The overwhelming majority of consumers today start their search  for goods and services on the Internet, generally using one of the search engines such as Google, Yahoo or MSN.  You need to be there to let them know of your capabilities.  Once a potential customer has found your site you can provide them with an almost unlimited variety of information on your business at a cost dramatically lower than using any other advertising medium.

I have been creating web sites and web documents since 1999 and most recently have been studying the latest tools and techniques used to create modern sites.

There are several steps to creating an effective web site.  Much of this information will be covered in our initial free consultation but you may want to explore each of the tabs above to see what is involved.  Some of these steps will not be needed if I am updating an existing web site for you.

Planning and Consultation We need to clarify what you want your web site to do for your business.  This will allow you to determine what to expect and me to develop a cost estimate or fixed price quotation for the cost of the project.

Design Based on your goals I will develop one or more sketches of how the pages will be laid out.  Once you have approved one of these design the project will formally begin.

Content The web serves up both graphic and text information with ease.  You will want to locate or have created photos or graphics present your business visually.   Equally important is copy to tell people what you have to offer.  I can assist you in both these areas if you need help.  Check out my photography pages to see what I can do to help you here.

Coding This is the main part of what I will be doing for you I will translate the design into functioning web pages to present your content in an attractive and easy to use format.

Testing It is not sufficient to just verify that your site works with one browser.  Testing and optimization will be done to be sure that it will work optimally with the wide variety of computers and software used today.  I have copies of current and earlier browsers representing over 99% of all users today.

Hosting The last step in the process is actually putting the site on the World Wild Web.  The URL(s) are registered and a hosting provider that can provide the capabilities you need is found and the site pages are uploaded.

Updates If you want visitors to return to your site after their initial visit you may want to periodically update your content. 

Planning and Consultation

This part of the process is a free service to new customers.

This is probably the most critical part of the whole site creation process.  A site can do many things for a business; advertising products and services, selling products directly, communicating with existing clients and collecting information from potential new customers.  We will decide together which options are appropriate for you.  At this point we will discuss choices for the web address or addresses (URL) that your site will be found at. 

The web site should reflect your business.  We will discuss any logos or other graphic or descriptive elements people recognize your business by as well as any preferences you have for colors.  The web address (URL) will be chosen, generally based on the name of your business or something you do.  Often you may want to select multiple names to avoid confusion with other sites.

Site Graphic Design

This part of the process is also a free service to new customers.

Using the information I received during the initial consultation I will create one or more design sketches showing what the site pages will look like.  I will also prepare a list of pages to be created and a cost estimate to complete the site.

The design(s) I recommend will be intended to appeal to the customers you have identified, present all the information you want customers to have and of course, to reflect well on your company image .

We will meet again to review and select a design and get an agreement to proceed.  You will have an opportunity to suggest changes in the design at this point but once we have agreed on a scope of work, design and cost, later significant changes may involve extra cost.

Content Development

The design of a site defines what it will look like including layout, background images or colors, text fonts and colors and window size.  Everything else is content.

Content is what information and imagery you want to provide to your customers.  Some businesses will have a great deal of the required content already in hand including high quality photos of your products and advertising copy used for earlier pieces.  If we are in that fortunate situation then our content work will primarily be deciding which of your materials are appropriate for the site and organizing them into a coherent set of pages.

If you haven't done advertising in past then we will need to develop the materials specifically for the site.  I can do excellent product photography for you.  As for advertising text you will likely wish to do the bulk of the writing yourself as you know your business and customers best but I have a good grasp of the english language and can help you with editing your copy.

Formatting your content, for example sizing and optimizing pictures for web display, is part of what I will do.

Coding

Coding is the creation of the files that will be uploaded to a web host to create the experience you want your customers to have. 

In the early days of web development coding was just that, writing a text file in the HTML markup language that could be interpreted by the browser on a visitors machine. 

Over the years a number of software vendors have developed graphical programs that reduce the complexity of this process and allow one to create pages graphically.  To get the best possible result however, an understanding of the underlying language of the web is very important.

I use Adobe Dreamweaver, the most powerful and popular web design tool along with other current Adobe products such as Photoshop and Flash. 

Testing and Tweaking

If you want to serve about 60% of the possible visitors all I have to do is assure that your site looks good in the latest two versions of Internet Explorer on the Windows XP and Vista platforms. 

Unfortunately to serve essentially all the possible visitors I need to test on other Windows browsers such as Firefox and Opera as well as Safari, Firefox and Opera on the Mac operating system.  I do not have a Linux OS computer at this time but most Linux users use either Firefox or Opera so they will also be able to use your site well.

During the testing I will generally be putting in "tweaks" to compensate for differences between browsers.  I also will see that special features that use special browser functions like the Flash player and Java Script will degrade gracefully when they are not available to still provide access to your important content.

Hosting

To have a web site available on the Interned it must be placed on a web server or host computer.  Large businesses may have their own computers running hosting software but most small to medium sized businesses use specialized hosting companies to provide this service.  These companies place hundreds or thousands of computers in a managed data center and provide all maintenance of the hardware and software.

Hosting companies have a variety of plans you can buy varying in storage space and traffic.  I have done business with GoDaddy one of the largest of these companies.  Their prices are very fair and their customer support when I needed it has always been quick and accurate.  I have never had one of my sites hosted by them unavailable.

I can order and setup hosting for you or tell you how to order it yourself.  In either case I will make sure you have the access codes to the site in case something should happen to me. 

Updates

To keep people coming you should consider periodically updating your site.

Updates may involve adding photos of new stock, making announcements of current events or a completely new look.  Depending on the complexity of your objectives I can do all of this for you or provide training so you can do this yourself.