Web Design and Development
With thousands web design firms and creative agencies vying for your business, the process of selecting a web design firm can be an arduous task. Do these guys “get it” as well as the other guys? Do they know much about search engine optimization and site usability? Is my site going to be designed for visibility from the get go? Will it be designed to connect to different users in different ways, depending on who they are, where they are in the relationship cycle, or where they’re coming from?
Silverback Marketing offers boutique-style web design and development solutions for businesses large and small. Our design approach focuses on usability, visibility, and accessibility, so you can expect a clean and professional looking design that stands apart from the competition in more ways than one. We make sure to follow the latest web standards when creating our websites, so you can rest assured that in the future your site will be easy to maintain and update.
And oh yeah… did we mention our bread and butter service is search engine optimization? All of our web sites our optimized for the search engines by our best of breed search engine optimization team before your new site is launched to ensure that your site is visible on the Intenet’s leading search engines.
Our Web Design Methodologies
Usability: Easy to use interfaces
Cluttered and complicated interfaces can make it difficult for site visitors and potential customers to find what they are looking for. This can lead to discomfort and frustration and results in abandonment and poor conversion. By implementing sound design principles we add clarity to your site, improving user experience, retention, and conversion.
Web Standards: Fast and simple maintenance
Our design team will make sure to follow the latest web standards when creating your website. This means that your site will be much easier to maintain and update in the future.
Your web pages will feature streamlined code which facilitates faster load times and requires less server space and bandwidth. This will also enable your content to be crawled more efficiently by the search engines.
Your new site will easily adapt to future design tweaks and changes. In fact, changing the look of an element on the entire site will be as easy as changing one value in a single style sheet file.
The net… following web standards practices will add real value to your project, cut costs and save you time.
Why is Validation Important?
If your site “validates”, it means that the site exhibits error free code. Validation can vastly reduce the occurrence of website crashes, hangs, and other critical errors. A validated web page is a test for formal and professional code, and is generally thought to be preferential to both search engine robots and human editors. A poorly coded page which does not pass validation might cause search engine crawler errors and result in incomplete search engine indexing.
Silverback’s Custom Web Design and Development Process
There are numerous steps in the web site design and development process. From gathering initial information, to the creation of your web site, and finally to the overall maintenance to keep your web site up to date and current. The exact process will vary slightly from site to site, however the fundamental phases are similar.
PHASE I: Information Gathering
The first step in designing a successful web site is to gather all the necessary information. Many things need to be taken into consideration when the look and feel of your site is created.
This first step is actually the most important one, as it involves a solid understanding of the company it is created for. It involves a good understanding of your company and what your business goals are, and how the web can be utilized to help you achieve those goals.
Purpose: What is the purpose of the site? Do you want to provide information, promote a service, or sell a product?
Goals: What do you hope to accomplish by building this web site? Two of the more common goals are either to make money or share information.
Target Audience: Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture the “ideal” person you want to visit your web site. Consider their age, sex or interests – this will later help determine the best design style for your site.
Content: What kind of information will the target audience be looking for on your site? Are they looking for specific information, a particular product or service, online ordering?
PHASE II: Planning
Using the information gathered from phase one, it is time to put together a plan for your web site. This is the point where a site map is developed.
The site map is a list of all main topic areas of the site, as well as sub-topics, if applicable. This serves as a guide as to what content will be on the site, and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system. The end-user of the web site – aka your customer – must be kept in mind when designing your site. These are, after all, the people who will be learning about your service or buying your product. A good user interface creates an easy to navigate web site, and is the basis for this.
During the planning phase, your web designer will also help you decide what technologies should be implemented. Elements such as interactive forms, ecommerce, flash, etc. are discussed when planning your web site. Analysis of logistical, technical and company requirements as well as the analysis of core & unique site-specific components will be performed.
PHASE III: Design
Drawing from the information gathered up to this point, it’s time to determine the look and feel of your site. A web’s design is essentially its look and feel. A good design should take into account all the web elements-audience information, purpose and objective statements, domain information, and web specifications-and combine them to produce a plan for implementing the web. Silverback Marketing then uses this design and the web specifications to create a working web design.
Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration. A site aimed at teenagers, for example, will look much different than one meant for a financial institution. As part of the design phase, it is also important to incorporate elements such as the company logo or colors to help strengthen the identity of your company on the web site.
Silverback will create 2 rough designs and allow for up to 2 sets of revisions of that base design. Once the First Page design is finalized, the design is then applied to the remaining page(s), with minor revisions allowed for. After complete design approval, each page is converted to XHTML/CSS as a standalone webpage first.
In this phase, communication between both you and your designer is crucial to ensure that the final web site will match your needs and taste. It is important that you work closely with your designer, exchanging ideas, until you arrive at the final design for your web site.
After complete design approval, each page is converted to XHTML/CSS as a standalone webpage first. Then the page is converted to a CMS template, thinking forward, to maximize usefulness of the template if possible.
PHASE IV: Development
The developmental stage is the point where the web site itself is created. At this time, your web designer will take all of the individual graphic elements from the prototype and use them to create the actual, functional site.
This is typically done by first developing the home page, followed by a “shell” for the interior pages. The shell serves as a template for the content pages of your site, as it contains the main navigational structure for the web site. Once the shell has been created, your designer will take your content and distribute it throughout the site, in the appropriate areas.
Elements such as interactive contact forms, flash animations or ecommerce shopping carts are implemented and made functional during this phase, as well.
Silverback Marketing is devoted to accomplishing maximum web presence for you. With our unique combination of online marketing knowledge and web design & development experience, Silverback Marketing realizes that achieving premium results requires technology and marketing to work together.
Traditional development firms may be able to produce a nice looking design, but do they stop to consider how people will find your site? And while traditional marketing agencies may be able to drive traffic to your site, can they ensure your visitors won’t be driven away by load times, technical issues, or stagnant design? Silverback Marketing uses XHTML and CSS as a standard set of best practices in order to overcome the obstacles faced by old-fashioned design and marketing firms. XHTML and CSS outlines integrated developmental and marketing standards for every phase of our projects, from conception to implementation.
By leveraging the most effective web technology standards and combining these with solid online marketing practices, XHTML/HTML valid and compliant sites have a proven performance track record in today’s market while utilizing the technology for tomorrow. Every aspect of XHTML/CSS centers around one primary goal: creating a self-marketed web presence emphasizing speed, compatibility, accessibility, and future maintenance / expansion. XHTML/HTML compliant sites perform better, are search engine friendly, and are prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.
XHTML and CSS
Sites are built in XHTML for speed and browser compatibility. Errors and extraneous code are eliminated. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used to separate presentation from content for consistence in look and feel, ease of design modification, and greater user accessibility.
Code Structure Optimization
Sites are coded with structural elements placed to limit interference with search engine spiders and assistive technologies while ensuring pages display effectively.
Search Engine Optimization
Sites are built with search engines in mind. The site will contain optimized content, unique title and META tags, and other elements perfected for improved crawling and indexing by search engines.
Sites are designed to promote ideal user experience. Navigation is simplified, fields are explained, design is dynamic, links are active, and confusion is eliminated.
Sites are coded along progressive lines to ride the waves of the future. XHTML/CSS sites are viable on the greatest number of platforms, including mobile phones and PDA’s, now and in the future.
Sites are validated with W3C to guarantee error-free coding, shortening load times and widening browser compatibility. Code validation is the process of checking that the coding of a web page is in compliance with the standards and recommendations set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for the web. Code validation helps to produce clean code. Web page HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), hyperlinks (also known as links) and accessibility can be validated.
If you validate your code it will make it easier for:
- Search engines to index your pages.
- Text readers to convey your information to the visually impaired.
- Those using special devices to surf the web.
Section 508 Compliance
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.
Silverback Marketing builds all sites with accessibility in mind, with the XHTML generated supporting everyone from legacy browsers and slow Internet connections, to the needs of blind users with screen readers. Turnaround time for the production process is usually a total of 4 weeks.
PHASE V: Testing and Delivery
At this point, your web designer will attend to the final details and test your web site. They will test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, as well last testing for last minute compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that your web site is optimized to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.
Our designers are well versed in current standards for web site design and development. The basic technologies currently used are XHTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). As part of testing, your designer will check to be sure that all of the code written for your web site validates. Valid code means that your site meets the current web development standards – this is helpful when checking for issues such as cross-browser compatibility as mentioned above.
PHASE VI: Maintenance
The site will be built utilizing XHTML and CSS. A CMS (Content Management System) may also be implemented depending upon the client requirements, which gives you the ability to edit the content areas of the web site yourself. You are given access to a back-end administrative area, where you can use an online text editor (similar to a mini version of Microsoft Word). You’ll be able to edit existing content this way, or if you are feeling more adventurous, you can even add new pages and content yourself. The possibilities are endless!
Web-based Project Management
Every Silverback client is provided access to a web-based project extranet. The extranet enables centralized group communication, scheduling, time tracking, task assignments, project milestones, file sharing, and a forum to post messages and gather feedback.
Give us a buzz and we’ll be glad to listen to your vision and see what we can do to make it a reality.
Learn more about Silverback Marketing’s Web Design and Development Services:
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