Development

Are you benefiting from all that technology has to offer?
We use the right technology to develop the features that matter most to you.

While people often think first of design, it's the technology underneath that makes the website work. We use state-of-the-art platforms to develop the features that you need, both now and for the future.
 

Content Management Systems

T324 Website Control Panel

Cropping Photos Using CMS
SJND High School (Alameda, CA)

The most consistent thing we hear from clients across the board is that they need to update their website themselves — and it needs to be easy! They don't want to wait for their web developer to get around to making changes (sometimes they wait weeks or even months!) and they don't want to pay by the hour for what is often a simple task.

All of our websites are built on a Content Management System (CMS) that enables self-management. You login over the web and directly make changes to your website  including creating and reorganizing pages, and cropping and optimizing of photos. Depending upon the requirements, time-consuming activities (like optimization of photos) can be automated and the interface for performing routine tasks (such as making blog posts) can be simplified and streamlined. 

Complex Information

Albany Bowl website -- calendar with event categories

Calendar Example
Albany Bowl (Albany, CA)

Once you move beyond the generic web page, information can become more complex. Calendars, bios, frequently asked questions, testimonials, and directories are all examples of Complex Information that require the equivalent of website "apps" in order to properly handle them. Every business has different features that are important. They are typically database-driven and build on top of the content management system. They might be dynamic, sortable, or filterable. Sometimes the user interface has elements for searching, rearranging, expanding or collapsing, or displaying different views of the information.

Portfolios & Galleries

Portfolio Example
McCutcheon Construction (Berkeley, CA)

Porfolios and Photo Galleries are typically of importance to construction and manufacturing companies. They feature the projects or products as collections of photos. Sometimes they are categorized or filterable. Often the images are large (full screen) and displayed with a slideshow. And since you are showcasing your work, the details matter. Slideshows should be pausable. Thumbnails should be available to directly go to any image and high-resolution versions of all should be available at a click. Portfolios, in particular, might have a project timeline or before and after shots.

Catalogs & Ecommerce

Ecommerce Example
Noodle Buddy (El Cerrito, CA)

Product companies, such as manufacturers and distributors, often want to offer information about their products online, taking orders and sometimes selling them directly. This typically happens using online Catalogs and Ecommerce. Catalogs present information about different products, sometimes including SKUs, specs, and prices. They are a good supplement or alternative to paper-based catalogs and price lists. Ecommerce can work in conjunction with a catalog of items, and is specifically focused around ordering, payment, and fulfillment.

Ecommerce has become increasingly complicated over time. There can be complex policies related to shipping, discounts, and taxes. There can be public prices and wholesale prices. There can be gift certificates, loyalty programs, ratings and suggestions. And last... integrations with external systems, such as for accounting and email, product search engines, and alternative marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay. A one size fits all content management system is insufficiently robust for such a diverse set of requirements, and so we use different ecommerce platforms depending upon the specific needs of the client. 

Business Processes

Business Process Example
RethinkWaste (San Carlos, CA)

Business Processes are the underlying engine for how business gets done at a particular company or organization. Typically, a Business Process website is a combination of databased information, rules, and automation. These websites can be used for a variety of purposes, from managing an application process, to collecting, summarizing and reporting information, to queing, assigning, and tracking work items. The potential uses are quite diverse, but the purpose tends to be to reduce the cost or increase the quality of a particular service. Often there is a public facing interface, as well as a secure password-protected area that is only accessible to authorized users within a company. 

Mobile & Apps

Mobile Website Example
J David Ford Construction
(Oakland, CA)

What browser compatibility was to the last decade, Mobile Compatibility (sometimes called responsive design) and App Development is to this one. It's crucial for a new website to work properly on desktops, tablets, phones, watches, and perhaps one or two more device types still to come (TVs and glasses?) Illustrating how serious this is, Google recently announced that websites that are not mobile friendly will be penalized in their search engine rankings.

We bring together the latest design standards and technology frameworks so that your website will work beautifully everywhere your customers or users are.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I care if my website works on a phone?

There are several very good reasons why you should care if your website works well on a phone.

The first reason is a very practical one: more than half of all website views are now done on a phone. The phone has become our collective web browser of choice. Even if you don't use a phone that much, many of your customers probably do. If your website is difficult to use on a phone, people will just move on. 

The second reason has to do with search engine ranking. Google recently changed its search algorithms to reward mobile friendly webistes, and conversely penalize mobile unfriendly sites. This is just a recognition of how dominant the mobile platform has become, that sites which are not mobile friendly are simply viewed as less relevant by Google. Everybody knows that your website is not much good if it can't be found on the search engines. If it is not mobile friendly, the changes of it being found goes down significantly. 

Can you upgrade the technology for my current website?

Whether or not we can update the technology for your current website really depends on when and how it was built. Sometimes we can convert it directly to the latest content management system, but often doing so requires rebuilding the site from the ground up. The best thing would be for us to evaluate it.

Another factor to consider is that website design standards have changed considerably in the last couple of years. This has been driven by the shift to mobile platforms. While in the past, pages tended to be short and rigid. Todays designs feature pages that are long and flowing, and approach that tends to work better on phones and tablets. Therefore, if it is time to upgrade the technology on your site, it is also likely that the design and interface needs to be reimagined as well. 

Where should I host my website?

We provide hosting for the sites that we develop and almost always require clients to use our hosting unless they have equivalent hosting of their own. The reason is that today's websites are complicated. They require a hosting environment that is optimized to the particular content management sytsem in order to run efficiently. They require parallel environments for development, testing, and production. They require proper backups or face the prospect of an expensive and time consuming rebuild if an upgrade goes awry. And the list goes on...  ultimately boiling down to quality of service and cost-effectiveness. When problems arise there is never any finger pointing, because we alone are accountable. And we can be efficient, saving time and money, because we have control over the technology and how it operates.