Due to its interactive nature, the design requirements of a website
are like those of any software product. All of the concerns about
user interface (UI) and user experience (UX),
including visual design, navigation, performance,
and error recovery apply just as they do to software systems. Web
surfers will quickly teleport out of a site that is hard to read,
poorly organized, boring, slow to perform or difficult to navigate
— and they'll likely never come back. Poorly designed
Intranet sites will increase rather than decrease
overhead. Websites should be designed as complete interactive
Knowing how different web browsers display pages differently
You may be horrified to see how terrible your
beautiful website looks with browsers you don't use.
Websites using advanced or non-standard web technologies,
browsers may look terrible with other browsers.
Older browsers do not fully support the latest versions of HTML
(now HTML5), and they all render HTML tags, fonts, forms, tables
and graphics differently.
Futhermore, many browsers frankly have bugs and poor implementations
One of the biggest challenges in website
development is to best utilize advanced HTML features while ensuring it
works for the lowest common denominator of browser capabilities.
Anticipating the effect of different computer capabilities
The same web page can be rendered quite differently on different
machines, from mobile devices and low-end PCs to high-end workstations.
Even with the same browser program, preformatted text, tables, forms,
and colorful high-resolution graphics will look different on machines
with different display capabilities.
A web page that looks dazzling on a high-end machine
may not display well on low-end machines with limited horsepower,
color depth or resolution.
Handheld devices such as phones and tablets present problems such as
small screens and touch interfaces.
(Mouseover won't work on a touch screen!)
Here again, the challenge is to guarantee that the website reads
and performs well with the capabilities of all computer systems.
If your market is the general population, your site needs to support old
desktop browsers and versions of HTML and CSS.
If your market is strictly mobile users, your site only needs to support
HTML5 and CSS3, but you have other problems such as device support.
If your market is both, your site needs Progressive Enhancement
and/or Responsive Web Design (RWD).
Understanding the underlying Internet technology
The majority of websites are hosted by a LAMP (Linux,
Apache, mySQL and Perl/PHP/Python) server configuration.
Knowing how the Internet works, including
email, TCP/IP, domains, client-server technology, HTTP daemons
(such as Apache)
and web server operating systems
(primarily UNIX class systems such as Solaris and
leads to good systems design decisions.
This is is critical even if you don't install your
own server (and pay for its maintenance), an option not affordable for
a small businesses and organizations.
It doesn't matter how good your site reads and looks if the underlying
technology makes it slow, unreliable, insecure or full of bugs.
Programming and scripting skills
Do you need image processing, PHP or AJAX expertise? Check
Need KML for Google Maps or Google Earth? Check out how we can help
you visualize geographic information with
An advanced website really is software,
not just HTML. CGI (Common Gateway Interface) and
other server-side programs are typically written in C,
C++, PHP, Perl, Python,
Ruby, Java or even calls to UNIX/Linux shell
commands. With increasing interactive web technologies,
even the client side is becoming more a software
Creating websites that are efficient and easy to maintain
requires understanding good
software design and
practices. If your online software tools,
forms and scripts don't work well it reflects poorly on the
products and services your website promotes.
"Dynamic HTML" (DHTML) requires
Style Sheets). Unfortunately supporting older browsers is a
headache; even browsers that claim to be W3C compliant
implement these differently. And complex browser detection
and browser-specific code is not the answer!
Advanced so-called Web 2.0 sites require an understanding
technologies, as well as understanding the hype and buzz.
AJAX does not require data formatting in XML, and
preventing unnecessary page loads to enhance interactivity
and performance can often be accomplished without an
XMLHttpRequest to the server.
Designing, configuring and maintaining large complex websites
Do you need help with your web software package such as
Sirsi Unicorn iBistro running on
UNIX, Solaris or Linux? Send us an SOS!
Many advanced websites are essentially complex commerical software
packages consisting of web server, database software, a suite
of programs and scripts, a set of web page templates, a WYSIWIG
web page editor, and configuration files.
These packages are typically beyond the technical skills of
the organization's staff, requiring specialized and often
expensive training, or hiring web specialists whose full time
jobs are to maintain the website system.
The web server itself might run on an operating system
(such as UNIX, Solaris, Linux or Mac's OSX) that is
unfamiliar to nontechnical staff whose only experience is
at the user level of MicroSoft Windows.
The challenge here is for the suppliers of these packages
to provide facilities that the "mere mortal" can use to
configure, customize and maintain
the system. Even then, the end-users of these packages
may find that outside training and consulting is the most
cost-effective way to get the biggest bang for their bucks.
2. A web content publishing solution for
buying guides for computers, smartphones and more.
Websites for small and medium size businesses need not be "cookie
cutter designs" using packaged templates, themes and skins that
make them look and feel like dozens or hundreds of others.
Capitalizing on free open source software (FOSS) these businesses
can have websites whose functionality rivals those of large
corporations. (In fact, some websites for some major companies
are built on this same web software.)
Our web design and engineering experise enables us to create
unique sites for small and medium businesses that look, feel
and function with the sophistication of major complex sites.
The more content you can provide the more affordable it will be,
but we will make suggestions for the text in concert with meta
tags for search engine optimization (SEO) so that people can
readily find you.
Responding to the unique marketing factors of cyberspace
As a marketing medium a website is unique.
As the web has become more more ubiquitous since the mid-1990s,
the demographics of the typical web surfer have normalized.
Today at least one PC with web access is a "must have" appliance in
almost every household.
But the younger population, especially those who grew up on the
web, and "early adopters" who are quick to embrace new technologies
are still more likely to use cutting-edge web technologies, such
as broadband and wireless access or mobile and hand-held platforms.
These differences have implications for marketing as well as browser and
Unlike TV or print publications, the web does not provide a
captive audience — it's not as simple as "if you build it they'll
come". Your website must provide a reason for cruisers to
visit, and it must be easy for people to find through links from other
sites, web directories and search engines.
This is so important that search engine optimization (SEO) and search
engine marketing (SEM) has become an entire industry in itself.
In addition, social networking on sites such as Facebook and Twitter
now provide a new kind of word-of-mouth advertising.