Web Development – The Key to Online Success

You know the scenario – a business is called up by a web development company and asked if they want a website. The decision maker ums and ahs and then says “Well, competitor A have a website and so do competitor B, so go on then I’ll have one, how much does it cost?” The web development company replies. The business says that they can only pay half that and asks what they get for half. The website company thinks a little then replies it will still look great but may lack some “extras” that you might not need.

The above scenario is typical of how many web development companies fail to recognise the importance of usability and accessibility enhancing functionality and more importantly fail to convince their customers of this requirement. Yes, the website must look good but never at the sacrifice of functionality. A visitor is more likely to come back again and again to a website that has rich, frequently updated content and excellent navigation. A general rule of thumb is that visitors should not have to think about navigation, it should be second nature.

Website visitors are not willing to spend more than a few seconds learning how to navigate a website because it is quite easy to just go back to the search engine to find another website to browse. So why don’t website development companies push the benefits of functionality? Why are so many customers so quick to sign off a website that merely looks good. Well, they are initially but then when the hits fail to come then they notice that something is wrong.

Perhaps some web designers take the easy option and design aesthetically pleasing websites but fail to add enhancing features because this would be more difficult.

So if you already have a website or are thinking of having a website designed for your business then think past looks and imagine how your visitors are going to feel when they are navigating your website.

Web Development in a Fair Way

The story

When a young man starts his LIFE alone he always have great intentions about something he already interested in be it sports, literature or technology. He always has great dreams about the future, that he will be famous in some ways, will do something nobody has ever done before and will go further then anybody in the past. He will build and then lead his business to great success, will find somebody to love, will raise a family and will lead a happy life. But as time goes by he finds it harder and harder to push through…

The business

Web development. Small or big, simple or complex, everything from one page to enterprise-level database management applications. Dealing with special needs the same way as with general queries. Working over 60 hours a week delivering only the highest quality in every job without compromise. Advanced level skills in several programming languages make it easy to select and use the right tools for every project. Having the experience to bring a project from scratch to completion. Only clean hand-written code, bespoke content management systems, unique designs, cross-browser compatibility, logical structure, extendability and interactivity – in one word, professionalism what describes the products.

Sharks in the water

Running a business always involve competitors. Old ones, new ones, smaller ones, bigger ones, less or more but there are always some. And it is all right. All right, as long as it is fair. However in the web development business nothing seems to be fair at the moment.

Customers are not aware of differences between a website and a website. They can see, what is on the screen. They can see if they can find themselves on Google. And they can see the prices. And one’s price is a really small fragment of the other. The difference is so huge that the customer thinks nobody would do it so cheap so just out of curiosity they start communicating with the guy offering the cheap price. After a few conversations it is obvious that they are talking about the same thing. It makes the customer believe that the other quote is the one which is incorrect. And there cannot be that much difference between the two products. And of course that is true.

Probably there is a little difference. Probably there is none. And even if the product is completely the same in terms of hours spent on the project, structured clean code, good results in search engines, quality design, cross-browser compatibility, high accessibility and so on, there is just a LITTLE thing… And it is called FAIRNESS.

A website can be built on a computer and can be uploaded from anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection. There are many great developers and many great designers all around the world where the cost of living is really just a small chunk comparing to the cost of living in the UK, especially around London…

So Website Owners! While you don’t call yourself a millionaire however you would be really wealthy with your monthly income in some other countries, PLEASE don’t consider your country’s prices way too high just because you are having your site done by someone from far away! Thank you.

The start

When the young man started his life finishing school with a broken-up family behind his back he still had the dream to live for. In fact, that was all he had. Everyday survival can take the focus off easily though. And it did. Forgetting your dream however does not mean that you have to lose it…

Bouncing between jobs, between pride and prejudice turned his life upside down every now and then. Everywhere he went there was somebody to tell him he is going the wrong way. Time after time somebody told him to forget his dreams and grow up. He hated them. He wished they had not been there.

Although he hated them he sometimes felt they might be right. Sometimes he felt he should gave up, like everybody seemed to had given up already around him and join the queue at the end. It seemed to be all right. It seemed to be so easy. Everybody did the same. Everybody joined the same queue. He seemed to be sticking out more and more by every day and it did not feel good. But there was something he could not get out of his mind…

“A fruit is either ripening or rotting. There is no stationary state in between.”

Those people had given up already. There was nothing in front of them. They had cut all their chances that something might change to any better. The young man suddenly had to realize that those people were the only ones who helped keeping his dream alive showing great contrast between future and survival. And he has chosen the future…

Humor of faith

The young man ended up in the United Kingdom. He came to find some answers for the questions bothering him. He wanted to stay a couple of years trying his luck and wanted to save some money. But this move gave him much more than he ever expected. Learning the language and getting familiar with British culture opened his eyes a bit wider and he has seen his dream once again. Below the surface it has grown even bigger through those years than it has been ever before. And it seems to be closing up on him now…

Web Development Pet Peeve: This Site Best Viewed By …

It only takes a little looking around the web (even among professional web developers) to find the words “This site best viewed by…” emblazoned somewhere for all to see (as if it were something to be proud of.) A quick Google search shows several hundred million results. This particularly abhorrent practice is a major pet peeve of mine. It means that someone was too lazy to do their job properly and probably got paid for it anyway. That’s just wrong.

There’s also the implication that any site visitor not using the specific browser, browser version, or screen resolution listed as “acceptable” by this particular wannabe webmaster (or better yet, “webfailure”) just deserves whatever garbage comes out on their screens. You’d think that no one else had ever heard the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

I keep trying to imagine what day to day life would be like if this practice were adopted by any other industry. Can you imagine a television station that advertised the best brand of television on which to watch their broadcast and was unconcerned by the fact that their signal was blurry or unwatchable on any other brand? Can you imagine a sign outside your local grocery store that said, “This parking lot best used by Toyota Camrys, 1995 or later, 2-door, not 4-door.” Tell me you wouldn’t want to stick some massive, old RV across 14 of those parking spaces and dare anyone to say a word.

People, the time has come to end this practice once and for all! There have been efforts and all-out campaigns to do this before, but they’ve had very little success. I have a plan that I think could be pretty effective. I call it my “Many Happy Returns Plan.” It goes like this:

  • Everyone starts contacting the real owners of these sites and telling them to get their money back. It’s clear that the person they paid to do this was either too incompetent to do it properly or too lazy to finish the job. They should get their money back to pay someone else who knows what the heck they’re doing. It’s only fair. I think that a few well-publicized lawsuits would end this particular trend in laziness.

It really comes down to this, the only time that you should see the words “This site best viewed by…” on a website is if they’re followed by the words “…anyone in any browser they prefer.” If you don’t know how to do this, ask, search the web, learn, find out. Don’t just stick some piece of garbage site up and charge a client for it. In the immortal words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “Make it so.”