Information Architecture & Wireframes
You wouldn't build a house without plans, start a company without a business plan or bake a cake without a recipie. In the same vein, you would be remiss to invest heavily in the development and design of a website without having any plans in place. That's a long way of saying that the development of your site's Internet architecture and the production of wireframing documentation is imperative to achieve a successful outcome for your project.
Information architecture concerns the organization of your data (information) on your website. Understanding and organizing your information is not only critical for us to understand your needs, but it's also critical for the success of your website. Information architecture documentation contains site maps that show wesbite page hierarchy and navigation, taxonomy, content type structures and user profile structures.
Born out of the requirements specification and capture phase of our engagement process, the functional specification details the bells and whistles of your website and how they will function. This is an extremely detailed document and serves as a reference point throughout development, testing and launch.
Wireframes & Website Flow Documentation
With information architecture and functional specification in place, wireframing is a useful way to plan the layout of your website and identify key pieces of your website functionality. Wireframes are low-fidelity sketches that detail where elements of your site will be positioned and the general layout of your web pages. Website flow documents detail the key interations and navigation paths users will experience with your website.
To quote the well-intentioned, but slightly worrying, Drupal song:
"If you want a website and you need a system, to manage your content: Drupal."
We are huge Drupal fan, boys and girls, and while not a Drupal shop, we do use Drupal in 99% of our projects. I guess you could say that Drupal and VentureWeb are in an "open," and somewhat saucy, relationship (keep reading for this to make sense). Drupal is our weapon of choice when building websites. We've used it with great success over the last three years and strongly recommend its consideration in any new projects for its extensive and flexible structure.
For those of you still living in 1987, Drupal is a fantastic, open source (perhaps now you get the pun above), content management platform that lives inside your computer box in the Internet pipes. "Platform?" I hear you say. Yes. It's a set of tools made by code (modules) that can be used to build any type of website you could want to build: brochure websites, Fortune 500 websites, university websites, government websites, tourism websites (gasp). The list goes on. And not just websites in the classical sense, either: intranets, E-commerce, mobile applications can all be created using Drupal. If you want to see what awesome stuff Drupal has been used to build, check out this list of sites on the website of Dries Buytaert (Drupal's fearless leader).
Some key benefits to using Drupal:
- It's free to download, use and modify.
- You own your code - no licencing fees or vendors
- There are hundreds of thousands of Drupal developers around the world
- A lot of functionality has been written for Drupal in the shape of third-party modules that can be downloaded (freely) and installed into your Drupal websites
- The Drupal project is stable and not going anywhere (started in 2001 and continues to grow)
- Drupal is highly customizable with seperated theme (look and feel), code (nuts and bolts) and database (content) layers.
- Drupal contains a number of key features out of the box, such as content types and management, user permissions and system access control, theme options, search, statistics, URL aliases and contact forms to name but a few.
Drupal is more than code; it is also community, and we try to take an active part in our local Drupal community by attending and presenting at monthly meet ups and by sponsoring Drupal camps. We also try to help out on Internet Relay Chat and in forums whenever we can. We're the first to admit that we could be contributing more back to the Drupal community, so we're looking to step that up as we grow. We're keen to meet any Drupallers who might be based in Squamish. Come to the next InsideEdgeBC meet up and let's chat hook_menu(), or swing by the office for a coffee and some theme_page_preprocess().
Adding a blog to a wesbite is a great way to attract people and search engine robots to your Internet presence. A blog provides a medium for you to speak directly to your customer base (and for them to speak directly to you through comments). A blog also provides search engines with the frequently updated, relevant and rich content that search engines love. If you have an existing site and want to add a blog, or if you're just looking for an easy option for a simple website, Wordpress might be the tool for your project.
We're huge proponents of using the right tool for the right job, and sometimes, our good friend Drupal might be overkill for your needs, which is akin to using a segway when a bike will suffice. If you need simple content management and basic blogging capabilities (archives, comments, photo and video embedding), then our good friend Wordpress - another open source software - could well fit the bill.
We have experience installing and customizing Wordpress, providing the capabilities of this great content management system with a look and feel that's customized for you. Simple content management, simply delivered.
With Mobile set to overtake Desktop as the primary browsing medium in the near future, there's no doubt that the mobile web is here to stay. Thanks to the proliferation of smart phones, people can access the web whenever and wherever they want. Mobile websites often offer the user a different experience than their desktop counterparts through the use of mobile-specific architecture and design. At VentureWeb, we understand what's needed to make your website usable for the mobile web.
VentureWeb can help you understand thet possibilities of a customized mobile website. We can work with you to create seperate architecture and designs for your mobile site and build to those specifications.
Contact us today to discuss your requirements.
We firmly believe in building websites that allow our clients to update and manage their online presence autonomously. That's why we build websites with customized administration areas, removing the complexity often associated with managing web content and user accounts. Beyond that, when a site is in the private launch phase, we undertake a number of training initiatives to ensure that our clients can indeed manage their site, and feel comfortable doing so, in an ongoing capacity.
Location and budget permitting, our preference is to spend a number of hours in face-to-face meetings with our clients, guiding them through the website administration processes and answering any questions that they might have in person.
Screenshot Capture Videos
We provide videos with every build that detail the key administrative functionalities of your website: adding blog posts, managing comments, creating user accounts and so forth. Every website we build is unique, so these videos are recorded on your website and are 100% customized for you. The videos feature voice-over narration and are stored on your webserver so that you have access to them whenever you feel the need for a refresher.
Through our online project management system, you can log support tickets with your questions, and during private launch and your project warranty period we'll respond within 12 business hours (often much sooner). After your project warranty period - we'll still answer your questions (!), but it could take a little longer (though, realistically, it usually doesn't).