Introduction to Web Design
The reasons to establish a web-presence are many and varied -- ranging from a social-exercise at the low end, to a full-blown commercial site at the top-end. The ways to address these different objectives are also many and varied. At Gendec Design, we aim to offer solutions in the middle ground i.e. we cater to small businesses driven by a commercial incentive.
There are many free services available to those folks wishing to set up a basic web-site. Often, the space allocated by an ISP is ample for many graphic intensive pages, as long is there is not an excessive amount of traffic. As one moves up the scale, it becomes important to consider the actual download volume and bandwidth.
Shopping-Carts are now commonly accepted as part of commercial sites that sell goods or services. There are several good products available for this purpose, some of the best are actually open-source. However, even though the cost may be minimal, there is still the process of tailoring the product to fit with a particular web-site, and the issue of loading data to display in an on-line store. This is referred to in the following sections as the 'maintenance component'.
Our Role in the Process
Although our primary focus is on supporting small business, we would be glad to try and help web-developers at all levels. To this end, we plan to develop our own Blog and encourage input from a wide cross-section of the developer community. This is a well-trodden path, but who knows where it will grow.
As the complexity and sophistication of a web-site grows, it becomes increasingly important to consider the browser environments of the target audience. Today, there are many different Browser environments, most having their own set of peculiarities that require some special coding. A choice must usually be made as to what level of penetration is acceptable.
The landscape is improving with the majority of Browser manufacturers promising to support common web-standards. However, legacy Browser-support will still be required for some time yet. At Gendec Design, we make every effort to 'future-proof' our projects by following the web-standards as closely as possible.
At some point, it will become necessary to consider hosting services. If you wish to have a back-end database, or take advantage of server-side scripting, hosting is required. Reliability and up-time are important for commercial sites.
There are four main cost components associated with a web-site --
- the design
- the implementation
- the ongoing maintenance
- the hosting expenses
For the do-it-yourself enthusiast, most of these expenses can be minimal. However, for those who do not have the time, most items need to be outsourced. This can add up to quite a considerable amount, particularly if there is a labour-intensive maintenance component. When scoping a web-site project, it very important to make a realistic estimate of what is involved at each stage.